General

What if the earth began to spin faster?

There are enough things in this life thatneed to worry. Nuclear war, climate change, do you brush your teeth properly. An earth that spins too fast simply cannot be on this list, because it certainly will not happen soon - and if it does, then you will be too dead to worry about it. However, out of ordinary curiosity, why not imagine what will happen?

First, let's discuss how fast the world rotates.now. It depends on where you are, because the planet rotates the fastest at the equator. When the Earth rotates around its axis, most of all its circumference is at the equator. Therefore, a point at the equator will go much further in 24 hours than, say, Moscow, which is located on a narrower segment of the Earth. To compensate for the extra distance, the equator rotates at a speed of about 1,500 km / h, and Moscow - no more than 1,200 km / h.

If we could accelerate the Earth’s rotation byone and a half kilometers per hour, sea level around the equator would rise by several inches, since water would come from the poles. It would have been several years before you noticed it, says Vitold Frachek, an analyst with ESRI, a company that makes GIS.

What would be much more noticeable is thatsome of our companions would go astray. Geostationary satellites revolve around our planet at a speed corresponding to the rotation of the Earth, so they can always be in the same place all the time. If the planet accelerates at a speed of 1.5 km per hour, the satellites will change their position, which means that the communication, broadcasting, military and reconnaissance satellites will cease to work normally, at least temporarily. Some satellites carry fuel and can adjust their position and speed, but others will have to be replaced, which is expensive.

“It can disrupt the life and comfort of some people,” says Frachek, “but it will not be a disaster.”

But the faster the planet rotates, the more catastrophic the consequences will be.

Weight loss

Centrifugal force from the rotation of the earth constantlytrying to throw you off the planet like a child with a carousel. So far, gravity is pretty strong and keeps you on the ground. But if the Earth rotates faster, centrifugal forces will gain momentum, NASA astronomer Stan Odenwald says.

Currently, if you weigh about 50kilograms in the Arctic Circle, at the equator you will weigh 49.5. Because due to the additional centrifugal force that is generated at the equator, gravity becomes weaker. The faster the planet rotates, the less your weight will be.

Odenwald expects that if the equator accelerates to 30,000 km / h, centrifugal force will be enough to make you feel weightless. Unless, of course, you will still be alive.

Permanent jet lag

The faster the Earth rotates, the shorterthere will be our days. With each increase in speed of 1 km / h, the day will lag for a minute behind our internal clocks, which are tied quite strictly to the 24-hour cycle.

But if we rotate 200 km / h faster,than usual, the day will last about 22 hours. For our bodies, this will be tantamount to a constant translation of the clock hands. We will have to translate the internal clock two hours every day ago, preventing the body from adjusting. And changing the length of the day is also unlikely to please plants and animals.

All this will only make sense ifsudden acceleration of the earth. “If speed continues to increase over millions of years, we will have to adapt to this,” Odenwald says.

Powerful Hurricanes

If the Earth’s rotation accelerates slowly,it will entrain the atmosphere - and gradually we will notice changes in the weather and the movement of the winds. “The temperature difference will continue to be the main engine of the winds,” Odenwald says. However, extreme weather can become more destructive. "Hurricanes will rush faster and carry more energy."

The reason, of course, is that we have already discussed: at the equator, the Earth rotates faster.

If the Earth did not rotate at all, the winds withthe north pole would blow in a straight line to the equator and vice versa. But as we rotate, the path of the winds deviates east. This curvature of the winds is called the Coriolis effect and causes the swirling of hurricanes. And if the Earth rotated faster, the winds would go further east. Hurricane rotation would be even harsher.

Water world

Extra speed at the equator means that water will begin to collect there. Acceleration of 1.5 km / h will cause the water at the equator to become several inches deeper in a few days.

At a speed of 150 km / h, the equator will begin to flood. The Amazon basin, Northern Australia and the islands of the equatorial region will go under water - from 10 to 30 meters deep.

If we double the speed at the equator so thatThe earth will rotate 1,500 km faster, "it will be a disaster." Centrifugal forces draw hundreds of meters of water to the waist of the Earth. “With the exception of the highest mountains, such as Kilimanjaro, or the highest peaks of the Andes, I think the entire equatorial region will be covered by water.” This additional water will be pulled from the polar regions, where the centrifugal force is lower. Therefore, the Arctic Ocean will become smaller.

Meanwhile, additional centrifugal force fromrotation will mean that at the equator it will be easier to deal with gravity. The air in these regions will be very humid, with dense fog and heavy clouds. It will rain constantly.

Finally, with acceleration of 25,000 km / h, centrifugalforce at the equator will correspond to gravity. After that, "the rain will go in the opposite direction." Drops of water will move up into the atmosphere. At this moment, the Earth will rotate 17 times faster than now, and in the equatorial region there will be no witnesses of this magnificent spectacle.

"If those few unhappy people will still bealive after most of the Earth’s water has been transported into the atmosphere and beyond, they will want to leave the equatorial region as quickly as possible. At least in the middle latitudes. ”

Earthquakes

At a very high speed - again, about 40,000 km / h - and after thousands of years the crust will also move, smooth at the poles and bend along the equator.

Earthquakes will be colossal. Tectonic plates will move faster, and this will be a disaster for life on the globe.

With all this, the speed of the Earth is constantly changing,says Odenwald. Earthquakes, tsunamis, large air masses and melting ice change the planet's rotation at the level of milliseconds. 4.4 billion years ago, after the terrible collision of the Earth with a celestial object, the Moon formed. At that time, the shape of our Earth was flattened, and it rotated so fast that the length of the day was only four hours. That event greatly changed the shape of the Earth and almost completely fragmented the planet. Will this happen again? Let's hope not. Since the formation of the moon, the earth has slowed down by 8 kilometers every 10 million years, largely due to the gravitational attraction of the moon. Most likely, in the future, the rotation of the Earth will slow down, not accelerate.

"There is no conceivable way to dramatically disperseEarth's rotation, ”Odenwald says. “For the planet to spin faster, it needs to be hit with the right object with the right force, but this will inevitably lead to thinning the crust, so we will die anyway.”