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The Poles are ~21 km downhill from the equator in a spherical coordinate system.

So why doesn't water pool there?

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Because of the Earth's rotation it has a centrifugal force that causes the equatorial bulge. The water in the oceans rotate with the Earth so at the equator the water has more centrifugal force acting on it than it does closer to the poles.

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  • $\begingroup$ So would the Equator become a desert if the Earth stopped spinning ? $\endgroup$ – cumfy Dec 26 '20 at 5:00
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    $\begingroup$ @cumfy If the Earth stopped spinning then gravity would pull it into a more spherical shape, so it would lose its polar flattening. That process wouldn't be instantaneous, but neither would any process that stops Earth spinning, assuming that you don't want to rip the crust off. ;) $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring Dec 26 '20 at 5:26
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    $\begingroup$ @cumfy With no rotation sea levels would change over most of Earth and the whole Earth would eventually become more spherical, altering the shape of most land mases. $\endgroup$ – Adrian Howard Dec 26 '20 at 6:20

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