Planetary Centrifuge

I love classic sci fi movies, but if some advanced alien being could make the whole Earth (as opposed to just the man-made parts) literally stand still, the end results would be nothing short of catastrophic.

You see, because most of Earth’s surface is covered with water, that water is hugely affected by the motion of our planet; Earth’s rotation has a potent effect on the way that water is distributed across our planet’s surface. Succinctly, Earth looks the way it does because of centrifugal force.

According to geophysicist Witold Fraczek, this is how our world would look if it were completely stationary. A huge band of dry land across the planet’s surface, with two vast polar oceans. The full details are available on ESRI, and are really quite fascinating.

Some part of me has to wonder how things might fare in the long term if such a bizarre fate were to somehow befall our world. After all, one of the biggest differences between Earth and Venus is the fact that our sister world has a greatly slower rotation rate…

With a tip of the centrifuge to io9!

Image credit: Witold Fraczek, Esri


About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
This entry was posted in physics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Planetary Centrifuge

  1. Baribal says:

    “What if Earth stood still?” sounds like a question to; this answer, however, would be absolutely overengineered even for Randall Munroe. So kudos to Witold Fraczek for doing it anyways.

Comments are closed.