There are a lot of bad things that could theoretically happen to the Earth. Among them is the notion that the core of the planet could stop spinning, to which the answer would be obvious. But here’s one that we don’t think is likely to happen, at least not in the next several billion years: The Earth could stop spinning altogether. And while it’s unlikely to happen, the planet would look pretty sweet if it did.
Witold Fraczek, an employee at ESRI, a geographic imaging software company, has taken it upon himself to illustrate (beautifully) just what the planet would look like in this scenario. Currently, the Earth spins at over 1035 miles per hour, and that immense centrifugal force pulls the oceans toward the equator. If that force went away, we’d be left with a planet that looks like the image above.
Everything north of Chicago and south of Buenos Aires would be flooded. And by flooded, I just mean part of the new oceans. And then the middle of the planet would just be a thick band of continuous land. This planet, with its two vast oceans on either side of the epic megacontinent, would also be as close to a perfect sphere as the Earth can get. The ellipse shape is an effect of the current centrifugal force.
Again, this isn’t going to actually happen. Life isn’t a disaster movie (though it’s getting there). But someday, long after humanity, the Earth could look like a billiard ball. And that’s a nice thought.
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