What would happen if the earth stopped spinning?
Our Earth has been rotating on its axis at 1000 miles per hour at the Equator for billions of years. You could say it’s one of the most reliable things out there.
In fact, very little would stop our humble pale blue home from rotating – and we can all be grateful for it.
Let’s say our planet stopped spinning, what would happen then?
To kick matters off, the day and night cycle that we know so well would completely swivel on its axis. One day would last six months and one night would last just as long. Just imagine a six-month-long night. No, thanks!
If you think this is the worst that could happen, think again.
If you lived near the Equator as the world stopped spinning, you would be launched eastwards at a speed of 1000 miles per hour. Try surviving that.
Let’s imagine you weren’t near the Equator when the world stopped moving but say, on a plane, in a space station, or living near one of the poles, what then? Even if you weren’t thrown eastward at a ridiculous speed, you would still face a world that would now be plagued by constant, massive tsunamis and storms.
The reason for these colossal storms lies in the fact that our planet’s atmosphere would keep spinning, creating winds that would scourge a large chunk of the earth’s surface with storms bigger than anything we’ve ever experienced.
Gigantic tsunamis would engulf most western coasts, then oceans would rapidly swell eastward to submerge large parts of the earth. Ultimately, though, the oceans would shift towards the poles, where gravity pulls them.
But wait, there’s more!
The molten iron at the core of our planet would also become stagnant. If this core stops moving, the electric current it creates that gives our planet its magnetic field, protecting us from the sun’s radiation, would disappear. Then, the parts of the earth that face the sun would become entirely uninhabitable.
To top it all off, the look of our planet would change from a bulbous center to a perfect sphere, as there would no longer be a centrifugal force exerted by the rotation.
Believe it or not, our planet has already been losing momentum over the past billions of years, making our days longer. However, the current process is exceptionally slow, with a day gaining 2 milliseconds each century.
Not to worry, nothing drastic will happen soon.