My very nerdy wife sent me a link to a webcomic (Dumnestor’s Heroes) where the author is trying to calucate the aerodynamic properties of balrogs. Yes – Balrogs. As in LOTR balrogs.
Using the movies as her reference (leaving out the Jackson LOTR vs Tolkien LOTR debate), it was discovered that Balrog and Gandalf fell for 104 seconds. Knowing that the Middle Earth was an ancient part of this earth, we can say that gravity produces an acceleration of 9.81 meters per second squared. Plugging in the numbers you get a distance of 106 km – which is strange concerning the earth’s crust is only 50 km think!!
Read the full debate here
Now we get the cool part – for us nerds – does a Belrog have wings? ’cause that could heighten the air resistance… [@more@]
Diabhal says: If you want to work out whether the Balrog had wings or not, work at the problem backwards.
Gandalf must have fallen at the same terminal velocity as the balrog, since they stayed together and fought all the way down. We know Gandalf is approximately 6 feet tall and 70kgs, and has the cross-section of a human male, and should therefore have an approximate freefall speed of 120mph (55m/s).
The balrog must have a suitable cross-section to fall at the same speed. You can then compare this to that of the spherical balrog, and if the spherical one falls much faster wings will be necessary to slow it down. I admit to neglecting a magical factor invoked by either one, but since I have no idea how to include that, it’s just going to have to stay neglected.
Of course, the real question isn’t if the belrog had wings or not, but was it an European, or an African balrog??