What would happen if the Earth stopped spinning? We don't have any reason to think it will in the next few million millennia, but Witold Fraczek, an employee of geographic imaging software company ESRI, was curious. He used ArcGIS, the company's flagship software, to build a virtual model of the planet in the absence of centrifugal force.
Currently, the spin of our planet (it goes 1,667 kilometers per hour at the equator) pulls the mass of water toward the equator, creating an unsightly ellipsoidal bulge, and the oceans we are familiar with.
Fraczek modeled the gradual change in the planet's geography that would happen as Earth slowed to a halt. As the spin stopped, the oceans would all fall back toward the poles, drowning everything north of Chicago and south of Buenos Aires and creating two massive circumpolar oceans. Wrapped around the middle of the planet would be a single equatorial megacontinent, with giant dry valleys where the old Atlantic and Pacific used to be. The immobile planet would be a perfect, if somewhat mountainous, sphere.
Someone has too much time on their hands.
Wow... What a waste of time... I know, how about we see what the world would look like if it a rhombus! Or maybe a low res pineapple!
"Try to learn something about everything and everything about something."
I am of the firm belief that indulging ones curiosity is never a waste of time. even if there is no obvious direct application for the result, a question has been asked and answered. That makes it worth the time taken in my book.
particularly ironic is Brainstorm101's comment followed by that particular quote.
Well ok then.
If the world stops spinning, half of the world would be completely frozen over and the other half would be in perpetual baking sunlight.
I for one, would move.
I can't argue with you there friend! ;)
"Try to learn something about everything and everything about something."
This model does not account for the fact that if the earth stopped spinning, the sun would cook each area for around half a year, and then that area would freeze the other half.
I know you may think... oh, winter and summer. But no... winter and summer are the result of a slight wobble of the directness of the sun. If the earth stopped spinning it would result in temperatures well above 150-200 degrees for half the year, and temperatures well below negative 100-150 degrees for the other half.
Basically instead of a day being 24 hours, a day would be around 182 days long. The temperature difference would be intense; as in gas and ice.
We would have to be nomadic living in only the areas of the earth transitioning between light and dark.
Clearly I take too long writing comments :)
I wouldn't argue that the days would get hot and the nights cold, but I do think that the water on earth would cause for some interesting effects at the twilight areas on earth. I would imagine that the sunlit side would maintain a high humidity that would cause for a persistent fog that may reflect sunlight and regulate temperature. This would last until the solar winds stripped the atmosphere because there would no longer be a magnetic field generated by a churning molten core that the earth's rotation contributes to.
What about the effect of gravity on earthly bound objects that are no longer countered by centrifugal force?
If the earth stopped spinning we would be extinct so who cares?
i have always wondered what would happen if the earth instantly stopped spinning. would there be like an instant pull of inertia in the direction of spin?
and lots of people would die?
I think it is an interesting curiosity.
On the subject of not spinning:
The core would still spin in the same relative fashion. Earth is only spinning relative to the local Solar system. Perhaps compared to the universe we are constantly still. Magnetic field should stay up and running no problem.
We would not have the exact same same issue as somewhere like Mercury, where each side of the planet is an extreme. For one, we would have seasons still, though greatly exaggerated. However, the oceans and atmosphere would provide a cooling effect as high pressure/heat gradient produced by the intense unending sun would naturally cause the heat to diffuse to the other side of the planet. Because each side will only be in direct sun for 1/4 the year, a complete dessication of any facet of the planet is unlikely.
These are just speculation, only to counter speculation given by others because they have failed to take differences into consideration when referencing other known phenomena.
On a completely provable point however, the change in gravity: It would be minuscule. The poles of our planet technically have no counter to gravity, as the centrifugal force is perpendicular to the acceleration of gravity.
Gravity ~~ 9.8m/s^2
Centficial Acceleration = v^2/r
v= 1667kM/hr ~~463m/s
463^2/6378100 = .0336m/s^2 So gravity's pull would increase from about 9.8 to 9.83, or about 1/3 of a percent increase. Its enough to create a difference in the ocean because of the varying strength as you move along latitude, but overall it won't change much.
My thinking is that while "perfect" according to the story there would be devastated areas do to constant sunlight and frozen tundras where there isn't constant sun. Think of the moon. One side really hot the other really cold. I know it wouldn't likely be as severe as the moon but I do believe more zones would become inhospitable to at the very least current life.
First off, this story is fundamentally flawed...centrifugal force does not exist, not in the fasion this article seems to portray.
Centficial Acceleration is only the force which is already there which resists the tendancy of an object in motion to travel in a straight line, in this case, it's provided by gravity.
If the earth indeed stopped spinning, I imagine that the side not facing the sun would be frozen, a sort of perpetual ice age. And of course it would be the end of life as we know it, probably even the end of the human race, unless we evolve really fast to adapt to the new conditions.
We do evolve pretty quickly, I mean we've only been around..10k years and look at all the different races best suited for the environments they live in.
On the frozen/burnt conversations: Some of you get it, but others I think don't realize that just bc it's not turning doesn't mean a different side won't be facing the sun throughout the year. Granted seasons will be immensely long and intense, caused by the orbit instead of our tilt, but not permanent. I think we'd end up on the coastline where temperatures would be more consistent due to the high heat capacity of water as well as currents that would be moving said heat around the poles (hopefully).
We evolve slowly Coolhand. Stop using religious dogma for facts.
If the earth did stop turning, the only place that humans could hope to (easily) survive the temperatures would be in the "twilight areas" where the winds would be nearly unsurviveable. The atmosphere would be heated, thus rising, on the light side and air at the surface would rush across the twilight area from the dark side to replace it. I don't know the math but the wind speeds would have to be at least in the hundreds of knots.
This is all considering that there is still an atmosphere to worry about.
@gizmowiz lol what? I didn't use religion to back my arguement at all. I thought the oldest skeleton found that was deemed homo sapien (read 'humans as we know them') was found to be like 10000 years old? Maybe I'm wrong but I never quoted the Bible or showed any religious kookiness. I even mentioned evolution for God's sake. Take a chill pill before jumping on someone's back next time.
Alright alright so my memory might SUCK but I'm still offended. Checked on wikipedia's page for homo sapien, which says "Mitochondrial DNA and fossil evidence indicates that modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago."
The weather would be very strange I would imagine and depending on where mountain ranges ended up would make it even stanger. A bonus for us would be taht the constant winds near the light/dark transition would be perfect for wind turbines and would solve the energy crisis.
I spin after too many beers. Will that help?
If Earth stops spinning, will Democrats stop acting so dizzy?
well it's nice to know that all the third world countries/continents (South America, Mexico, Africa, India) will still be there
Not only that, but one side would be roasted, while the other side would be frozen as Antarctica in the winter time. The seas on one side would boil, the vapor would travel to the other side and fall as snow on the already frozen sea.
The weight of the cold sea would pile up as the hot sea would empty, and the axis of the earth would shift. There would be a wobble at first, until the rotation of the earth would stabilize around its new axis.
There would be a band of moderate temperature between the hot and cold sides, though liquid sea would trickle toward the hot side and would also evaporate.
Thats pretty cool.
you never considered a possibility. what if i want to fry???????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oldest human remains found in Ethiopia
'Ardi' lived 4.4 million years ago
This will be obvious to everyone once you've all read it. Given the reversals of magnetic flux observable in the geological record, and given the improbability of absolute constancy of rotation in geological time (Venus rotates the OTHER way, volcanos change rotational speed--never mind asteroid impacts), our lost 'land bridges' among continents has a reasonable and likely explanation. A complete halt would not be necessary, merely acceleration (delta speed). Thus we may find a measure to observe when such changes in rotation have taken place. After all, we have the results of many collisions all around us, it is just a question of winding things back up and applying the proper equations.
You're right everything is better fried.