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Word Problem Exercises: Law of Cosines

General Questions

To approximate the length of a lake, a surveyor starts at one end of the lake and walks 245 yards. He then turns 110º and walks 270 yards until he arrives at the other end of the lake. Approximately how long is the lake?

Two ships leave port at 4 p.m. One is headed at a bearing of N 38 E and is traveling at 11.5 miles per hour. The other is traveling 13 miles per hour at a bearing of S 47 E. How far apart are they when dinner is served at 6 p.m.?

You are heading to Beech Mountain for a ski trip. Unfortunately, state road 105 in North Carolina is blocked off due to a chemical spill. You have to get to Tynecastle Highway which leads to the resort at which you are staying. NC-105 would get you to Tynecastle Hwy in 12.8 miles. The detour begins with a 18  veer off onto a road that runs through the local city. After 6 miles, there is another turn that leads to Tynecastle Hwy. Assuming that both roads on the detour are straight, how many extra miles are you traveling to reach your destination?

The distance on a map from the airport in Miami, FL to the one in Nassau, Bahamas is 295 kilometers due east. Bangor, Maine is northeast of both cities; its airport is 2350 kilometers from Miami and 2323 kilometers from Nassau. What bearing would a plane need to take to fly from Nassau to Bangor?

After the hurricane, the small tree in my neighbor’s yard was leaning. To keep it from falling, we nailed a 6-foot strap into the ground 4 feet from the base of the tree. We attached the strap to the tree 3½ feet above the ground. How far from vertical was the tree leaning?

K Dodd

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