What Would Happen if the Earth Spun Faster?


Have you ever wondered why we never feel the Earth spin? Do you wonder if the Earth ever speeds up or slows down?

The Earth spins fastest at its waistline, the equator, so how fast the Earth spins in a certain place depends on the location and distance from the equator. A spot on the equator travels farther in 24 hours than other places on the Earth do. For example, Chicago spins at approximately only 750 mph, while the equator spins at 1037 mph.

Speeding up Earth's rotation by 1 mph would cause the water from the poles to gather around the equator, making sea levels rise there. It may take some time for people to notice the gradual change. That one extra mile would also affect our satellites, which would then interfere with our TV broadcasting and even our military intelligence. Many of those satellites would have to be replaced.

Spinning faster might affect weight as well. In the Arctic Circle, a person weighing 150 pounds would weigh just 149 pounds at the equator. This is due to extra centrifugal force along the equator, since it spins faster. At the Earth’s current speed, gravity is strong enough to keep us on the surface of the planet. However, an increase in speed would increase the centrifugal force and decrease gravity’s hold on us, thus making us seem lighter.

If the earth spun any faster, days would become shorter; we would have less time. Humans would eventually adapt, but even animals and plants would be affected.

In addition, some of Earth's natural disasters would become even worse. For example, earthquakes would be much more catastrophic than they are now should the Earth’s rotation speed up to 24,000 mph over thousands of years.

Fortunately, the Earth is actually slowing down. Since the formation of the moon, Earth has been slowing down by about 3.8 mph every 10 million years, mostly due to the moon’s gravitational pull on planet Earth. If you were ever concerned about the Earth spinning too fast, there is no need to worry. It’s very unlikely to happen anytime soon.

[Source: Popular Science]

Wow, this is really interesting. Nice read, Eowyn! – LeilaniWest High School (2020-11-10 15:50)
I found this article fascinating. Lots of interesting information and good writing. – Shoko MiyagiUW-Madison (2020-12-21 13:18)
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