Well, some of us would be frozen in ice and others would be vaporized to hot air blowing over iced people in the 6 months of sunshine. Yeah!!! surely we will meet each other, and our travel would be faster than today’s transportation system can allow, but alas!!! we won’t be alive.The Earth boasts not one but two rotations — the inner core speeds along slightly faster than the rest of the planet.
What would happens if the Earth stopped rotating?
Not everything — but lots of stuff would.
- There are two things to keep in mind:
An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.
- Everything that is on the surface of the Earth is also spinning with the Earth, which is why we experience day and night.
At the moment of the sudden stop, every object that was not firmly anchored to the Earth would continue traveling in the direction it was moving — tangential to the Earth’s surface. The degree of “lurch” would depend greatly on your line of latitude — which reflects your distance from the axis of spin. At the North and South Pole, a small piece of earth has 24 hours to move in a full circle around the axis, which is feet to fractions-of-an-inch per hour (i.e. pretty darn slow). At the equator — the farthest distance from the axis — the surface of the Earth is moving at 1670 kilometers/hour (1070 miles/hr).
In other words: at the moment of sudden stop everyone standing at the equator would suddenly find themselves traveling at 1.4 times the speed of sound relative to the now-still surface…at least until they hit something.
And then the real fun starts.
Amongst the things that would still be moving (per Newton’s first law of motion) is the atmosphere. Anyone who survived flying sideways at 1000+ miles per hour would quickly realize that they were experiencing the worst windstorm ever imaginable. For context, a category five hurricane has winds of over 249km/h (155 miles/h). Just like the people who went flying, the speed of the air is now 1000+ miles per hour relative to the now-stopped surface. Anything that didn’t already go zooming to one side would be getting smashed by crushing wind force…and probably then go flying.
And then there’s the fact that about 70% of the Earth’s surface is water — which is also not anchored. The shift in momentum would yield enormous tsunamis, which would probably be even worse due to the aforementioned raging windstorm.
There’s yet one more liquid we’d have to be concerned with: all of the magma constantly moving through the Earth’s mantle and core. I’m not sure whether the magma stops moving suddenly with the solid earth or it stays moving — but assuming it’s still moving, that would most likely lead to volcanic eruptions through every channel possible to the surface…and there would be earthquakes that go with that.