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What happens if the rotation speed of the earth speeds up significantly?

What happens if the rotation speed of the earth speeds up significantly?
Last Updated On : October 4, 2022
Published Date : April 2, 2022

The rotation speed of the earth

Every morning we can enjoy a fresh sunrise and, in the evening, we can see a beautiful sunset. As we all know this is happen due to the rotation of the Earth. It takes 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds to rotate one and we simply take it as 24 hours. Earth’s rotation is being slowed down since ancient times. But we cannot feel it significantly because it is about 1.7 milliseconds per century.

So, that means the modern day is 1.7 milliseconds longer than a day a century ago. However, our planet is not moving at the same speed everywhere. The rotational speed varies depending on the distance from the poles to the equator. The equator of the earth rotates at the fastest speed, and it is 460 meters per second. The north and south pole are moving at the slowest rate.

The Earth
Image 01: The Earth

What will happen if the rotation speed of the earth is being sped up?

Now, let’s think about reversely. What will happen if the speed of the earth’s rotation is being sped up? The rotation of our planet directly affects the diurnal cycle and the length of the day. But not only that but this makes earth suitable for life with a habitable temperature. Also, it affects the climate changes of the earth. 

At very first, let’s think the speed of this planet's rotation is increased by 0.45 meters per second. So, it will be a reason to shorter our day by one minute and 30 seconds. However, this little increment will cause to increase in the sea level slightly. It may be an increment of several centimeters. This is because of the migration of water towards the equator.

The increment of the sea level would be higher with the increment of the speed of the earth’s rotation. The sea level would be risen by 9 to 20 meters if this speed will be increased by 45 meters per second. At this sea-level places like New York, Venice and Mumbai will be submerged. If this happens a single day would be about 22 hours. 

If this accelerating process happens continuously, we will have to face so many disasters. We will notice significant weather changes like heavy fogs and constant rain in regions near the equator. At some point, you could fly off the planet because the centrifugal force of the rotation would be enough to overcome the gravity. Due to the loss of gravity, the water droplets will move upwards. That means reverse rain. This might happen at a speed of 7886 meters per second. 

If the rotation of the earth speeds up to 11 000 meters per second, it will affect the earth’s shape also. So, the earth will begin to be flat. Due to this, enormous earthquakes will happen. So, there is very little chance of survival on earth. Thus, how it would be if the earth will rotate at the speed of light? That means 299 792 kilometers per second. It is 652 000 times faster than today.

From now, things are getting weirder. At this speed definitely, it is impossible to survive on planet earth. And so, the earth will not be called a planet anymore. Because such speed can change the dimensions of the earth. Now it has become a thin disk-like shape. So, finally, flat earthers can say “The earth is flat”! Not only the earth, but all the other objects will become flat.

The extreme speed may cause distorted time on earth. The time will stop at the speed of light. Let’s imagine someone could survive at this speed however, he will not feel the time. And he will freeze in time. Not only that, but the earth will become a tiny black hole. Because the objects moving at the speed of light has infinite mass. However, this tiny black hole would be the size of a pea. 

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Image Credits:

The cover image was designed using an image by qimono from Pixabay

Image 01: An image by Joshart3d from Pixabay

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