Login | Register







Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: What if earth stopped spinning [on its axis]?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:37 am 
Writer
Writer
Avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:28 pm
Posts: 20
Sex: Male
Are you a published author?: No
Hello, all!
An idea sparked in my mind after watching this video that struck me as one of interest. What if the world stopped turning? Obviously, if it were sudden everything would die, but what if the conditions were just right? Is there even a remote chance that humanity could still survive? Below is the initial manifestation of this idea in written form.

I am seeking a few opinions on the potential of this description within the science fiction realm as sound logically - a.k.a.: please poke holes in everything from whether or not is is within the scientific realm of possibility to "I think that this uses this cliche (or other negative things) too much and/or is therefore not a world one would be as interested in", etc.. :dieshappy:

Quote:
Back in 2137 AD, as the people of that golden age would call it, a team of engineers and scientists worked on developing the first light speed capable spacecraft drive (which would have massively increased the capability of the human race to travel to other planets. As it stood at the time, only small colonies on Mars and the Moon had been successfully made.). The initial test with an actual, full-size prototype was done in the Salt Flats of Nevada. They had failed to correctly handle the fuel source (a proprietary mix of compounds unknown to me or the public… especially since I live hundreds of years after said event and no one alive could remember the event in such detail at all if there weren’t these videos) which caused a failure of the fuel pump regulation, pumping the drive full of energy-rich fuel, resulting in an explosion upon drive startup that literally vaporized several hundred miles, removing the team [and their drive] from existence. There were two major effects that occurred when this drive failed. The first is that time was stretched in the surrounding area. To this day, one can visit this location and an hour will pass in the mind of a human when only a minute or two, in reality, is traversed. Secondly, the initial explosion did actually create an accelerative force near that of the speed of light, causing a tiny warp bubble to be generated around the engine and then disappear as quickly as it appeared. That singular point had pushed against earth’s rotational force just for a moment, but it was enough. The residual effects caused the earth to start its deceleration (something that lasted several decades to reach completion) and brought forth tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and super strong winds at such a level that over half of the world was forever changed. The 300 billion people on earth at the time was cut to less than a third, with several billion more being injured beyond full repair. The destructive weather that followed caused many billions more to fall from life due to food growth being stressed and temperatures tending towards greater and greater extremes.
Scientists of the time theorized that the earth would eventually speed up again, even if it was after rotation hit zero. They were wrong on that front; it never got past zero rotation. Either way, governments that weren’t totally shattered gathered together their might and quickly built underground cities and travel-ways that would allow them to escape the dangerous weather above. What was not predicted by those trumpeting this move was that the continents and oceans would shift. Because of the slowly increasing dramatic change from the high and low temperatures of the ever-expanding day, the oceans and lakes more quickly evaporated and froze over. The earthquakes from the blast had opened up many crevices around the world that allowed for the ocean to lower their levels to fill in these new zones. But as the earth continued to slow, the continents started to shift on their molten supports, shifting more central on the equator and towards the poles. This, combined with the lower water levels, created ring-like continents, connected only by small strips of land that followed the newly located underwater mountain ranges. These shifts caused many of these underground cities to collapse or be cut off of from their supply lines or travel-ways. That being said, it was soon after all the shifting stopped that rotation of the earth also reached zero and the underground realms stopped any communication with those still on the surface of the planet. Even to today, I know of no one who has heard from those below, and I have spoken with every leader of every major caravan on the surface that is not warlike in nature. Today, there are about four hundred million people in the caravans on Earth, which is several billion less than when I was born.
- Unnamed man of fifty-seven earth crossings.


Thanks to anyone patient enough to read to this point! Also, thank you prematurely to anyone who responds with any sort of comment. :)

_________________
Kenton D. Long


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What if earth stopped spinning?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:03 am 
Moderator
Moderator

Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:27 pm
Posts: 1183
Location: Southeast Michigan
Sex: Male
Are you a published author?: No
Age: 24 Feb 1987
My first thought when I saw your thread title was "what if Earth stopped spinning relative to what?" :)

I haven't read enough (science articles, science textbooks, or hard science fiction ...) to know enough to say much. The idea of the Earth's rotation stopping, other than gradually over millennial timescales or longer, "feels" wrong to me, but I can't really explain why.

I thought I remembered some similar question coming up in the "XKCD What If?" articles I "binge-read" awhile back, so I Googled and found a slightly similar question (that I plainly hadn't read since it wasn't on that site but was a "bonus" one released to promote his book ...), actually more "what if Earth stopped spinning immediately": link.

I also thought to suggest that you read Four-Day Planet by H. Beam Piper, which is set on a world that rotates only four times in each of its years.

_________________
Originally inspired to write by reading C.S. Lewis, but can be as perfectionist as Tolkien or as obscure as Charles Williams.

Author of A Year in Verse, a self-published illustrated collection of poetry: available in paperback and on Kindle.

My blog includes the following "departments":
  • Background on the Shine Cycle, my planned fantasy series, spanning over two centuries of an imagined world's history, several universes (including various alternate histories and our own future), and the stories of dozens of characters (many from our world).
  • Strategic Primer, a strategy game I'm developing, played by email, assisted by programs I'm developing. The current campaign (moving slowly, less than one turn a month) always needs more players.
  • My poetry.
  • Miscellaneous essays.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What if earth stopped spinning [on its axis]?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:31 am 
Writer
Writer
Avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:28 pm
Posts: 20
Sex: Male
Are you a published author?: No
Thank for the direction, kingjon! I will definitely read those! :)

_________________
Kenton D. Long


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What if earth stopped spinning?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:25 pm 
Writer
Writer
Avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:28 pm
Posts: 20
Sex: Male
Are you a published author?: No
kingjon wrote:
My first thought when I saw your thread title was "what if Earth stopped spinning relative to what?" :)


What if the Earth stopped spinning relative to its axis?

kingjon wrote:
The idea of the Earth's rotation stopping, other than gradually over millennial timescales or longer, "feels" wrong to me, but I can't really explain why.


I had planned for a few decades being taken (if not a century) by the slowing process, with havoc being increasingly swathed across the whole of the planet.

kingjon wrote:
I thought I remembered some similar question coming up in the "XKCD What If?" articles I "binge-read" awhile back, so I Googled and found a slightly similar question (that I plainly hadn't read since it wasn't on that site but was a "bonus" one released to promote his book ...), actually more "what if Earth stopped spinning immediately": link.


Would the described effects come to pass anywhere near as severely til the later years of the slow-down process? I realize that it would still be crazy extreme weather and being even remotely safe is unlikely.

kingjon wrote:
I also thought to suggest that you read Four-Day Planet by H. Beam Piper, which is set on a world that rotates only four times in each of its years.


I just finished reading the whole thing. I utterly loved the book - 'twas a beautiful story. This book made me think of the long hours day and night would last if my described scenario took place... (4383 hours) Dang, that is a seriously long time to have a "grand day at the beach"! Not that anyone would live to tell the tale if they weren't geared up for crazy extreme heat.

_________________
Kenton D. Long


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What if earth stopped spinning?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:36 pm 
Moderator
Moderator

Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:27 pm
Posts: 1183
Location: Southeast Michigan
Sex: Male
Are you a published author?: No
Age: 24 Feb 1987
Kenton Long wrote:
kingjon wrote:
My first thought when I saw your thread title was "what if Earth stopped spinning relative to what?" :)


What if the Earth stopped spinning relative to its axis?


No, no, that's not what I meant. In a parallel case, the Moon is tidally locked to the Earth, rotating once per revolution; it's reasonable to say that, relative to the Earth, it does not rotate at all ... but, relative to the solar system, it certainly does rotate. Do you mean that the Earth would become tidally locked to the Sun, or stop rotating from the perspective of some other frame of reference?

Kenton Long wrote:
kingjon wrote:
The idea of the Earth's rotation stopping, other than gradually over millennial timescales or longer, "feels" wrong to me, but I can't really explain why.


I had planned for a few decades being taken (if not a century) by the slowing process, with havoc being increasingly swathed across the whole of the planet.


That still feels (to my instinct ... I'd strongly recommend doing the calculation of the acceleration that would have to be applied to bring anything from the current speed of the Earth's rotation to "zero" in however long you have in mind, and then investigate what effects that much acceleration would have) several orders of magnitude too fast. The big thing is, if it's really supposed to stop and not start spinning the other way, the amount of acceleration can't be too large, since the forces trying to slow the rotation down "naturally" (the equivalent, on that scale, of friction) only do so at a rate closer to seconds per epoch than minutes per millennium, let alone two dozen hours in a century.

Kenton Long wrote:
kingjon wrote:
I thought I remembered some similar question coming up in the "XKCD What If?" articles I "binge-read" awhile back, so I Googled and found a slightly similar question (that I plainly hadn't read since it wasn't on that site but was a "bonus" one released to promote his book ...), actually more "what if Earth stopped spinning immediately": link.


Would the described effects come to pass anywhere near as severely til the later years of the slow-down process? I realize that it would still be crazy extreme weather and being even remotely safe is unlikely.


Things wouldn't be as extreme as that article describes if the change were more gradual. But it entirely depends on the acceleration curve of whatever you come up with to cause this: if the deceleration is slow at first and then "snowballs" somehow (which doesn't seem plausible to me if it's a "short sharp shock"), then yes, the effects would go from bad to worse. If it's the reverse, then effects would be very bad and then moderate somewhat.

Kenton Long wrote:
kingjon wrote:
I also thought to suggest that you read Four-Day Planet by H. Beam Piper, which is set on a world that rotates only four times in each of its years.


I just finished reading the whole thing. I utterly loved the book - 'twas a beautiful story. This book made me think of the long hours day and night would last if my described scenario took place... (4383 hours) Dang, that is a seriously long time to have a "grand day at the beach"! Not that anyone would live to tell the tale if they weren't geared up for crazy extreme heat.

I once read a bit of a Star Wars novel set on a planet that was almost tidally locked, which only had an area a few (or maybe as much as a hundred) miles across that was habitable, on the border between the "day side" and the "night side" of the planet.

_________________
Originally inspired to write by reading C.S. Lewis, but can be as perfectionist as Tolkien or as obscure as Charles Williams.

Author of A Year in Verse, a self-published illustrated collection of poetry: available in paperback and on Kindle.

My blog includes the following "departments":
  • Background on the Shine Cycle, my planned fantasy series, spanning over two centuries of an imagined world's history, several universes (including various alternate histories and our own future), and the stories of dozens of characters (many from our world).
  • Strategic Primer, a strategy game I'm developing, played by email, assisted by programs I'm developing. The current campaign (moving slowly, less than one turn a month) always needs more players.
  • My poetry.
  • Miscellaneous essays.


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What if earth stopped spinning?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:41 pm 
Writer
Writer
Avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:28 pm
Posts: 20
Sex: Male
Are you a published author?: No
kingjon wrote:
No, no, that's not what I meant. In a parallel case, the Moon is tidally locked to the Earth, rotating once per revolution; it's reasonable to say that, relative to the Earth, it does not rotate at all ... but, relative to the solar system, it certainly does rotate. Do you mean that the Earth would become tidally locked to the Sun, or stop rotating from the perspective of some other frame of reference?


Earth would only stop rotating in relation to its own axis. In relation to every other cosmo-sized axis upon which it rotates or revolves, unless necessary by logic at some future point, would be left unaffected by this terrible incident. The world would still revolve around the sun as it had. Daytime would last 4383 hours at any specific equatorial position.

kingjon wrote:
That still feels (to my instinct ... I'd strongly recommend doing the calculation of the acceleration that would have to be applied to bring anything from the current speed of the Earth's rotation to "zero" in however long you have in mind, and then investigate what effects that much acceleration would have) several orders of magnitude too fast.


To use the worst point, we are looking at the speed at the equator, which is 464.92 meters per second, or 1040 miles per hour, give or take a bit. To slow the earth to a standstill in exactly a year with a perfectly consistent force would cause the acceleration of earth to be -0.000014732 meters per second squared, or .000032954 miles per hour squared. The velocity of earth at the equator would change minutely under nine thousandths of a "meter per second" per minute. To be honest, I would question if humans could even detect with their sensory organs such a change in velocity. That being said, I could see that sudden change in accelerative force causing some pretty big natural disasters in the world initially (after that it would just be the sun's effect).
Now if we were talking about force... then that'd be scary. Slowing a planet isn't worth the energy expenditure to create the force... unless it's from, say, a "warp bubble" (Yes, this is vague on purpose... I see this as one of many massive weak points.) to supply energy from some unknown source.

kingjon wrote:
Things wouldn't be as extreme as that article describes if the change were more gradual. But it entirely depends on the acceleration curve of whatever you come up with to cause this: if the deceleration is slow at first and then "snowballs" somehow (which doesn't seem plausible to me if it's a "short sharp shock"), then yes, the effects would go from bad to worse. If it's the reverse, then effects would be very bad and then moderate somewhat.


Yeah, as a "short sharp shock", talk about devastation. I just re-read my initial description of the situation and found a reason to believe this is what was suggested. Viewing physics, for it to even remotely work the change of velocity must be gradual. I will go in and edit the description to make it greater than a short burst of acceleration. *shudders at my propensity to completely miss things* I am considering going with an initial jump in acceleration where it then settles down (as the vague warp bubble disappears). The weird side-effects of the explosion include time bending. Would it be out of the realm of possibility for it to also cause a drag on the planet with large enough force to grind it slowly to a halt, benefits of unknown physics laws surrounding warp "bubbles/holes/vague stuff"?

kingjon wrote:
...The big thing is, if it's really supposed to stop and not start spinning the other way, the amount of acceleration can't be too large, since the forces trying to slow the rotation down "naturally" (the equivalent, on that scale, of friction) only do so at a rate closer to seconds per epoch than minutes per millennium, let alone two dozen hours in a century.


My initial logic on it not continuing to accelerate was that the force slowing it down is equated to friction: all it wants to do is resist motion. Now this being said, would it be probable that this would also affect Earth's revolution around the sun? I certainly hope it wouldn't, because then being tidally locked would be the least of Earth's problems... *waves goodbye to Earth as it slowly wades it's way into the sun*
My thought is that because the "warp bubble" initiated on the planet's surface, it only affects internal planetary forces, not forces mainly involving other masses in the solar system (such as Earth's revolving habits around the sun being caused more by the sun's gravity versus Earth)... Is that too irrational? I fear it is...
*attempts to explain away this nonsensical explanation to himself with, "warp bubbles are ornery things... they like being aligned with their sibling (the matching warp bubble across the stars that was opened) which is something they can do on a revolving planet when the matching bubble is across the universe somewhere."...*

kingjon wrote:
I once read a bit of a Star Wars novel set on a planet that was almost tidally locked, which only had an area a few (or maybe as much as a hundred) miles across that was habitable, on the border between the "day side" and the "night side" of the planet.


I sincerely hope that I do not have to tide-lock this planet to make it habitable... Time and analysis will tell.

Now to debunk my own thoughts to better logical standing, based on this article (where the quote i from) along with an analysis by ArcGIS... (NOTE: The analysis by ArcGIS is sweet.)

Quote:
What's that? You're relocating to the relatively stable (though still awfully cold) polar regions? Bad move. They're deep underwater. In fact, the boundaries between ocean and land on a spin-free Earth would look nothing like they do today. Because the Earth rotates, centrifugal force causes the planet to bulge along the equator. No rotation, no bulge. Without that bulge, all of the extra water held in place along the equator would go rushing back toward the poles. Esri, a company that develops geography-focused technology, modeled the world's land and oceans after its equatorial bulge subsided and found that the Earth would have a band of land -- one giant supercontinent -- that circles the equator and separates two massive oceans to the north and the south.


... I have made major errors in the changing of the oceans and continents:

Kenton Long wrote:
...Because of the slowly increasing dramatic change from the high and low temperatures of the ever-expanding day, the oceans and lakes more quickly evaporated and froze over. The earthquakes from the blast had opened up many crevices around the world that allowed for the ocean to lower their levels to fill in these new zones. But as the earth continued to slow, the continents started to shift on their molten supports, shifting more central on the equator and towards the poles. This, combined with the lower water levels, created ring-like continents, connected only by small strips of land that followed the newly located underwater mountain ranges


To fix these, I am also conforming to the giant, equatorial supercontinent shown by this article. I will be posting a revised description sometime later today.


Kingjon, thank you so much for your help in all of this. Invaluable barely begins to describe it. :dieshappy:

_________________
Kenton D. Long


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What if earth stopped spinning [on its axis]?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:48 pm 
Writer
Writer
Avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:28 pm
Posts: 20
Sex: Male
Are you a published author?: No
Revised Description:
Quote:
Back in 2137 AD, as the golden age peoples would call it, a team of engineers and scientists worked on developing the first light speed capable spacecraft drive (which would have massively increased the capability of the human race to travel to other planets. As it stood at the time, only small colonies on Mars and the Moon had been successfully made.). The initial test with an actual, full-size prototype was done in the Salt Flats of Nevada. They had failed to correctly handle the fuel source (a proprietary mix of compounds unknown to me or the public… especially since I live hundreds of years after said event and no one alive could remember the event in such detail at all if there weren’t these videos) which caused a failure of the fuel pump regulation, pumping the drive full of energy-rich fuel, resulting in an explosion upon drive startup that literally vaporized several hundred miles, removing the team [and their drive] from existence. There were two major effects that occurred when this drive failed. The first is that time was stretched in the surrounding area. To this day, one can visit this location and an hour will pass in the mind of a human when only a minute or two, in reality, is traversed. Secondly, the initial explosion did actually create an accelerative force near that of the speed of light, causing a tiny “warp bubble” to be generated around the engine and then disappear as quickly as it appeared. The “bubble” may have disappeared quickly, but it caused a long-term frictional force on the whole of the planet, causing Earth to expedite the slowing of its rotation about its own axis. The residual effects brought forth tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and super strong winds at such a level that over half of the world was forever changed. The 300 billion people on earth at the time was cut in half, with several billion more being injured beyond full repair. The destructive weather that followed caused many billions more to fall from life due to food growth failing and temperatures tending towards greater and greater extremes.
Scientists of the time theorized that the earth would eventually speed up again, even if it was after rotation hit zero. They were wrong on that front; it never got past zero rotation. Either way, governments that weren’t totally shattered gathered together their might and quickly built underground cities and travel-ways that would allow them to escape the dangerous weather above. Because the world’s rotational velocity was dropping steadily, the centrifugal forces causing the oceans to group [more so] around the equator also lessened, causing the oceans to increase their standing upon the poles. As the velocities and forces halted to a stop, what was left of the continents was a simple loop, several thousand miles in width. These shifts caused many of these underground cities to collapse or be cut off of from their supply lines or travel-ways. It was soon after all the shifting stopped that the underground realms stopped any communication with those still on the surface of the planet. Even to today, I know of no one who has heard from those below, and I have spoken with every leader of every major caravan on the surface that is not warlike in nature. Today, there are about two million people in the caravans on Earth, which is several billion less than when I was born.
- Unnamed man of fifty-seven earth crossings.

_________________
Kenton D. Long


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: What if earth stopped spinning [on its axis]?
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:30 pm 
Writer
Writer
Avatar

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:14 pm
Posts: 245
Location: FL (Formerly WY/SD)
Sex: Female
Are you a published author?: No
Age: 18 Sep 1979
My first thought was to mention those "XKCD What If?" articles, too. I find most of them beyond fascinating (and very amusing).

_________________
Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there


Top
 Offline Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: