class="introduction" class="key-equations" title="Key Equations"class="key-concepts" title="Key Concepts"class="review-exercises" title="Review Exercises"class="practice-test" title="Practice Test"class="try"class="section-exercises"<figure class="splash" id="Figure_08_00_001" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: medium; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 1; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px;"> <figcaption>General Sherman, the world’s largest living tree. (credit: Mike Baird, Flickr)</figcaption> </figure>
The world’s largest tree by volume, named General Sherman, stands 274.9 feet tall and resides in Northern California.1 Just how do scientists know its true height? A common way to measure the height involves determining the angle of elevation, which is formed by the tree and the ground at a point some distance away from the base of the tree. This method is much more practical than climbing the tree and dropping a very long tape measure.
In this chapter, we will explore applications of trigonometry that will enable us to solve many different kinds of problems, including finding the height of a tree. We extend topics we introduced in Trigonometric Functions and investigate applications more deeply and meaningfully.