We’ve all been there. Waking up to a nice cup of coffee in the morning gazing at the world outside asking ourselves random hypotheticals: is your package going to be delivered today? If the car doesn’t start, can you just stay home and skip work? What would happen if the Earth suddenly stopped spinning? You know – the basics.
But what would happen if the Earth’s spin came to a jarring halt? Well a few things. As physics has taught us in the past, momentum and velocity are two of the governing properties of movement. Technically speaking, the world has a rotation of about 1,100 miles per hour around the equator, stopping suddenly would have the same effect as a car driving full tilt being acted upon a wall of other immovable object: chaos.
A sudden stop would be fairly catastrophic: land masses would be wiped clean of anything not attached to the bedrock below us: everything above it, including the topsoil, trees, roads, buildings and us would be swept away into the atmosphere. Not a very desirable option. However, a slow decaying spin would be less jarring, but just as disastrous.
Day-night cycles would be similar to those at the poles, with daylight being available for half a year, and night-time occupying the other half. Temperatures would increase at the equator, and reduce at the poles, eventually changing atmospheric patterns. Additionally, we would lose the Earth’s magnetic field, losing not just the auroras but also our protection from cosmic rays and other high-energy particles.
Did I mention that the lack of centrifugal force would lead much of the coastlines to look a lot different than they are today? The poles would actually be flooded, and the Earth would have a giant landmass at the equator that linked all of us together in a giant Pangean supercontinent.
Essentially, there would be a fairly large change to our daily lives. No more seasons – at least, not like we know them – a change in circadian cycles and all the issues associated to that, without mentioning the effects on the environment – both for us and the larger food web. An ecosystem collapse may not be entirely out of reach in this case, but there are too many questions that remain unanswered to know for sure. One thing however, is for sure, Apart from the huge shift of resources, people, land, temperatures and a myriad of other factors, this id definitely not something that would benefit us in any way.