Thursday, August 6, 2015

What if the Earth suddenly stopped spinning?

  •  What if the Earth's core stopped spinning? (Like in the move 'The Core')
  • Since the Earth spins at around 1000mph, what if that suddenly stopped
  • Would we all be done for?
  • What if there was no more magnetosphere?

First, if the Earth stopped spinning, we would all die. The Earth rotates a little over 1000 mph at the equator; as you travel to either pole, the speed decreases. If the core stops spinning, then the rest of the Earth stops spinning. When a car going 70 mph crashes and no one wears a seatbelt, the passengers are sent through the windshield. We are not tied to the Earth, so if the planet ceases to rotate, then those of us not “strapped in” will be hurled several feet; either we will slam into something solid or tumble across hard landscape. Also, the atmosphere will still be moving at several hundred miles per hour; the winds will sweep us up, and the force of the high-speed winds will shear our flesh. If the Earth stops spinning, then it is death by slamming into objects or being shredded by winds.

Quick breakdown of the Earth
Earth has three main layers: the crust, the mantle, and the core. The core has two parts; the liquid outer core surrounds a solid inner core. The nickel and iron inner core spins faster than the rest of the Earth and is extremely hot. Heat from the inner core causes currents in the outer core; the constant motion in the outer core is the source of the magnetosphere, or the electromagnetic field. The magnetosphere helps protect us from cosmic radiation and solar winds. High-energy particles from solar winds interact with the magnetosphere, directing the winds around the planet and giving the field its shape. Some cosmic radiation does reach us, but this amount of exposure is natural. Our ancestors lived with this exposure as well, so we inherited the ability to withstand contact with cosmic radiation.The magnetosphere does fluctuate. It increases and decreases in strength, and the EM field has reversed or flipped. This means magnetic north has not always been near the geographical North Pole. These shifting periods in the electromagnetic field are approximately 300,000 to 500,000 years apart, but life on Earth is accustomed to the fluctuations in the magnetosphere and has evolved during the changes. The magnetosphere shifts, but it has never completely disappeared.

Scientifically inaccurate would be an understatement for this movie, but i found it fascinating nonetheless
What if the EM field vanished? Would radiation flood in and melt the Golden Gate Bridge, causing death and mayhem? No. If the EM field did disappear, more radiation might enter, and the risk of some cancers might increase. Why do I say “might”? The rest of the atmosphere remains to protect us. The atmosphere, which is several miles thick, is the main source of protection from all forms of radiation. The magnetosphere presence is not integral to the survival of life on Earth. There has been a hole in the ozone layer for over two decades. We have been fine because the rest of the atmosphere remained intact. The atmosphere shields us. Only a fraction of the EM spectrum and cosmic radiation penetrates the atmosphere and reaches us. Without the atmosphere, life would not be possible because the full force of the sun’s energy, of the solar winds, and of all types of cosmic radiation would bombard the planet. Earth would resemble the Moon. The ozone layer and the magnetosphere help the atmosphere shelter life.

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