What would happen if the world stopped turning?


Never fear. This isn't another ecological disaster scenario you need to lose sleep over. What we're really talking about here is some good, old-fashioned struttin'. In this case, the creators of ArcGIS—a suite of geographic information system programs—decided to show off their system's predictive modeling abilities by generating maps that show what a non-spinning Earth would look like.

One of the most surprising outcomes they came up with has to do with the impact centrifugal force has on oceans.

The lack of the centrifugal effect would result in the gravity of the earth being the only significant force controlling the extent of the oceans. If the earth's gravity alone was responsible for creating a new geography, the huge bulge of oceanic water–which is now about 8 km high at the equator–would migrate to where a stationary earth's gravity would be the strongest.If the earth stood still, the oceans would gradually migrate toward the poles and cause land in the equatorial region to emerge. This would eventually result in a huge equatorial megacontinent and two large polar oceans.

In North America, this polar ocean would stretch all the way down to Chicago, while vast, unexplored vistas opened up west of Mexico. And, unlike the real world, the two oceans in this alternate reality wouldn't be connected.

If the Earth stood still

(Via Brainpicker)

Image courtesy Flickr user nattu, via CC