If you brought all 7.3 billion people in the world into one area, we’d fit into New York City (though it would be a bit cozy).
But our movements could have a big implication on the world around us. So, Business Insider’s video team investigated what would happen if everyone on Earth jumped at the exact same time. They enlisted astrophysicist Paul Sutter at The Ohio State University and physicist Mark Boslough at Sandia National Laboratories to help them think through the scenario.
To start, the experiment would work best if everyone were all in the same location. Then, everyone could be instructed to jump one foot into the air at the exact same time.
- BI Video
There would be a whole lot of energy released when everyone landed back on the ground.
- BI video
Some of that energy would go back into our shoes. The rest would disperse out into the air and ground, leading to some harrowing consequences:
- There would be a huge sound like an applause. At 200 decibels (the loudest possible sound ever created on Earth), it could shatter ear drums. For context, a jet engine produces 150 decibels of sound at takeoff, and our pain threshold is at 120 decibels. The ground would begin to shake, and if the jump happened near the coast, it could trigger a tsunami with 100-feet-tall waves. The shaking could also lead to an earthquake falling in the 4-8 magnitude range. That means it could be anywhere from a light shake to one that could cause some major destruction to bridges, railways, electric lines, and buildings.
- BI Video
Despite all this happening on the ground, though, the effects wouldn’t be felt in outer space. Sorry, but more than 7 billion jumping people aren’t a good way to shift the Earth’s orbit, no matter how cool it would be.