You may know what happens if everyone on a trampoline jumps at once — and then comes down. You may have even tried having everyone in an elevator jump at the same time. But what would happen if everyone on the entire planet was organized to leap into the air at the exact same moment?
Michael Stevens, who maintains the YouTube Channel VSauce, ponders this very idea in his video, “What If Everyone JUMPED At Once?” It’s a popular question that many want answers to, given that the clip has gotten more than 5.7 million views since being posted less than 10 days ago.
“Could it cause an earthquake or would you not even be able to tell?” he asks.
Stevens goes on to have us first consider the concept of earth spinning and how it would spin faster if there were more mass at its center. The earthquake in Japan last year, for example, concentrated more mass toward Earth’s equator that it has made each day 1.8 microseconds shorter since.
Could humans have an impact similar to this “giant geological event?”
Consider this, Stevens says: If everyone on Earth were to live in the same density as the residents of New York City, the entire population of the planet could fit in Texas. If we were to all stand shoulder to shoulder, then the entire population could fit into Los Angeles.
“It would be an incredible sight to behold. A mere 500 square miles containing every single person on Earth,” Stevens says, smirking at how ridiculous that could look. “And then we jump, what happens?”
So as not to spoil the ending, check out the video to find out the answer for yourself (or read below):
“Unfortunately, not much,” Stevens says.
Stevens calls up a calculation by Rhett Allain, a physicist who writes for Wired’s Dot Physics blog, who found that even with the mass of all humanity, Earth would only be pushed a little bit.
“Earth would only move away from us one hundredth of the width of a single hydrogen atom,” Stevens says.
Suffice to say, Earth would be left in the same position where it started and no worse for the wear. But what about a seismic measurement? Stevens says the BBC did an experiment with 50,000 people and 1.5 kilometers away it barely registered (0.6) on the Richter scale.
“So, even though we’re all awesome, compared to the size of the Earth, we’re not much,” he said.
(H/T: Huffington Post)
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