WHAT WOULD HAP­PEN IF THE EARTH STOPPED SPIN­NING?

Focus-Science and Technology - - Q&A -

1. SUD­DEN STOP

If the planet stopped sud­denly, ev­ery­thing on the sur­face would be de­stroyed, as the at­mos­phere, oceans and any­thing not nailed down kept spin­ning. Even brak­ing to a halt over a minute would mean ev­ery­thing ex­pe­ri­enced a side­ways de­cel­er­a­tion of three-quar­ters of Earth’s grav­ity, so ‘down’ would feel like it was at an an­gle of 38° from the ver­ti­cal. That’s enough to knock over most build­ings.

2. CHANG­ING CON­TI­NENTS

If it slowed down over sev­eral years, it would still be a dis­as­ter. With­out cen­trifu­gal force, the oceans would move to­wards the poles, drop­ping ocean depth by 8km around the equa­tor. Since this is less than the depth of the ocean there, Earth’s water would be di­vided into two huge po­lar oceans sep­a­rated by a belt of land in the mid­dle. Ev­ery­thing north of Spain would be un­der­wa­ter, as well as all of Antarc­tica.

3. BAKE AND FREEZE

Once Earth doesn’t spin on its own axis, a day lasts as long as a year. Ev­ery­where re­ceives six months of day­light, grad­u­ally heat­ing up the planet to well over 100°C. The huge cen­tral con­ti­nent would get the hottest and any re­main­ing lakes and rivers would boil away and be blown to the poles by fierce winds. Even prim­i­tive life would only be pos­si­ble along a nar­row strip at the coast.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.