What if the Earth rotated twice as fast? (Beginner)

What would happen if the Earth started to rotate twice as fast as it does now?

You have a very interesting question! Our lives would definitely change drastically if the Earth started rotating twice as fast. Our days would be half as long so our bodies would have to adapt to a very different sleeping schedule. Animals would also have to adapt to a new way of life. For instance, those that hunt at night would have to become more efficient because they would have fewer dark hours in which to catch their prey. Since plants would still be getting the same amount of sunlight (just split up into smaller chunks of time), I don't think they would have much of a problem adjusting, but I am in no way a plant biologist! I believe once we (and the animals) were able to adapt to the drastically new way of life, we would not have trouble with the new schedule. Actually doing the adapting, however, seems like it would be quite hard. We would have to train ourselves to sleep only 4 hours a night instead of 8 and to eat only 1 or 2 meals a day just for starters.

There are so many little things that would be affected. For example, the average person wakes up in the morning and drives to either school or work. At night, that person drives home. If the work day was half as long but there were twice as many, that person would now be driving twice as much. This means he or she would be using twice as much gasoline and we would begin burning through our oil resources twice as fast. Yikes!


This page was last updated on June 27, 2015.

About the Author

Sabrina Stierwalt

Sabrina Stierwalt

Sabrina was a graduate student at Cornell until 2009 when she moved to Los Angeles to become a researcher at Caltech. She now studies galaxy mergers at the University of Virginia and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville. You can also find her answering science questions in her weekly podcast as Everyday Einstein.

 Twitter: @galaxygirlguru
 Website: www.astro.virginia.edu/~srs5vn

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