25 Catastrophic Scenarios That Would Take Place If The Earth Stopped Spinning

Every day, Earth spins on its axis. This rotation gives us day and night (but not our seasons – that’s due to the Earth 23.5° tilt in relation to the sun – sort of; see #8). But, what would happen if the Earth stopping spinning? Though it’s not possible – at least for billions of years – it’s interesting to think about what kind of cataclysmic events would occur without the balance of forces and Earth’s standard rotation. Super storms would be unleashed across every country on the planet, the oceans would redistribute, and new land masses would emerge while many existing land masses filled with cities and people would be drowned underwater. Utter chaos would descend upon the planet as nearly all organic life would be wiped out almost immediately. To make this situation seem less catastrophic, at least it’s good to know even if our planet does stop rotating, the sun will die out long before we stop spinning. Read on to find out what would happen to our planet in this list of 25 Catastrophic Scenarios That Would Take Place If The Earth Stopped Spinning.

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We would go for one heck of a rollercoaster ride

heres-what-would-happen-if-the-earth-stopped-spinningSource: Universe Today, Image: Tech Insider

Gravity keeps us firmly rooted to the planet’s surface, especially useful considering – if on the equator – Earth’s rotation shoots us through space at 1,040 miles per hour (1,674 kmh). Compare this to a transoceanic Boeing 777 which can only reach top speeds of 590 miles per hour. Thus, if the Earth stopped spinning, we would be hurtled sideways at 1,040 miles per hour.


But we wouldn't fly into space

escape velocity formulaSource: Universe Today, Image: UT - Dallas

Some science-fiction films would have us believe if the Earth stopped spinning we would be launched into space. Despite getting hurtled sideways, we would not fly off into space. Since Earth’s escape velocity is 25,020 miles per hour (40,000 kmh), we would not have enough speed – only moving at 1,040 mph – to leave the planet.


A global hurricane would destroy countless cities

Hurricane_Isabel_from_ISSSource: Universe Today, Image: Wikipedia

But, since our atmosphere turns at the same speed, an abrupt stop would create a massively destructive hurricane over nearly our entire planet.


A global tsunami would roll in

tsunami hitting san joseSource: Tech Insider, Image: Angela Riddock via Flickr

Remember Newton’s First Law? An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an external force. Since our oceans are in constant movement as well, the momentum will hurl them around just like us, creating tsunamis that could reach over 17 miles (27.4 km) inland in less than a minute.


An earthquake would rock the world

Haiti_Earthquake_building_damageSource: ESRI, Image: Wikipedia

The different forces acting on Earth are so perfectly balanced that we rarely experience or notice a change in them. When we do, natural disasters such as earthquakes happen. If our planet were to stop spinning, the delicate balance would be immediately disrupted and earthquakes would be triggered all over the planet.

SEE ALSO: 15 Science Projects Better Than Making Slime (Your Kids Will Agree!) »

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