What would happen if the Earth stopped spinning?

What would become of our planet if it suddenly stood still?


Earth stood still

Of course, there will never come a day that the Earth stands still. However, considering what would happen as our planet grinds to a halt from a velocity of over 1,000 mph (1,600 kph) – the speed that it rotates – is interesting.

You might think that we would all be catapulted from the surface and into space but this isn’t true. A sudden pause would cause everything on its surface to suddenly move at a speed of over 1,000 mph (1,600 kph) in a sideways direction. Since the velocity needed to escape the Earth’s gravity is over 24,800 mph, we stay tacked to the surface, yet jolted forward. Also, the oceans would be thrown into chaos, sloshing sideways and swamping anything and everything in their path. The speed the Earth rotates slows down as you move from the equator and towards the poles and so standing at the North and South poles, you would hardly feel a thing!

Additionally a day would now last 365 days (assuming the planet wasn’t tidally locked to the Sun). We would no longer see day turn to night and the Sun would take a year to move through the sky. One hemisphere would be subjected to the Sun’s intense heat for half a year, while the other would be in pitch darkness.

Freezing our planet’s rotation would also cause it to spring into a perfectly spherical shape rather than its current flattened ball appearance. Since our planet’s tilt is defined by how it’s rotating compared to the Sun, no rotation means that there will no longer be any seasons.

Image courtesy of NASA

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