Science

What would happen if Earth started to spin faster?


What would happen if Earth started to spin faster?
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There are enough things in this life to worry about. Like nuclear war, climate change, and whether or not you’re brushing your teeth correctly. The Earth spinning too fast should not be high up on your list, simply because it’s not very likely to happen anytime soon—and if it does, you’ll probably be too dead to worry about it.

Nevertheless, we talked to some experts to see how it would all go down.

First, let’s talk about how fast the world is spinning now.

That actually depends on where you are, because the planet spins fastest around its waistline. As Earth twirls around its axis, its circumference is widest at the equator.

So a spot on the equator has to travel a lot farther in 24 hours to loop around to its starting position than, say, Chicago, which sits on a narrower cross-section of Earth. To make up for the extra distance, the equator spins at 1,037 mph, whereas Chicago takes a more leisurely (approximately 750 mph) pace.

If we could speed up Earth’s rotation by one mile per hour, the sea level around the equator would rise by a few inches as water migrates there from the poles.

“It might take a few years to notice it,” says Witold Fraczek, an analyst at ESRI, a company that makes geographic information system (GIS) software.

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