What Would Happen if Everyone Jumped at the Same Time, From the Same Place?

What would happen if everyone on earth stood as close to each other as they could and jumped, everyone landing on the ground at the same instant?

This crowd takes up an area the size of Rhode Island. But there’s no reason to use the vague phrase “an area the size of Rhode Island”. This is our scenario; we can be specific. They’re actually in Rhode Island.

Earth outweighs us by a factor of over ten trillion. On average, we humans can vertically jump maybe half a meter on a good day. Even if the Earth were rigid and responded instantly, it would be pushed down by less than an atom’s width.

Next, everyone falls back to the ground.

Technically, this delivers a lot of energy into the Earth, but it’s spread out over a large enough area that it doesn’t do much more than leave footprints in a lot of gardens. A slight pulse of pressure spreads through the North American continental crust and dissipates with little effect. The sound of all those feet hitting the ground creates a loud, drawn-out roar which lasts many seconds.

Eventually, the air grows quiet.

Seconds pass. Everyone looks around.
the stick figure characters standing around. one says ‘why did we do that?’, another says ‘…is this rhode island?

There are a lot of uncomfortable glances. Someone coughs.
same standing stick figure characters. one says ‘I should get back to Dublin’, one says, in Hindi, ‘Where’s the airport?’

A cell phone comes out of a pocket. Within seconds, the rest of the world’s five billion phones follow. All of them—even those compatible with the region’s towers—are displaying some version of “NO SIGNAL”. The cell networks have all collapsed under the unprecedented load.

Outside Rhode Island, abandoned machinery begins grinding to a halt.

The T. F. Green airport in Warwick, Rhode Island handles a few thousand passengers a day. Assuming they got things organized (including sending out scouting missions to retrieve fuel), they could run at 500% capacity for years without making a dent in the crowd.

But this isn’t even close to being over. Go to XKDC to find out more.

** Note: Some posts on Math-Fail are user-submitted and NOT verified by the admin of the site before publication. If you find this post to be distasteful, non-math related, ?or something worse?, then definitely leave a comment letting me know. Thanks very much! Mike **

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