Not your every day question, but have you ever wondered what would happen if the Earth just suddenly came to a halt? There’s no real way of testing it out, but scientists think they know the answer.
The current trend that has people believing the Earth is flat has had us all in stitches in the Man Wants office. However, it got me thinking on to science-y things, and made me ask – how would we fair if Earth just stopped spinning? Or maybe if it even suddenly reversed its rotational spin?
Like I said, there’s no way of physically testing this out. We don’t have power over Mother Nature, not in that sense anyway. Experiments have been carried out though, and we have a pretty accurate prediction of what would actually happen.
What if the Earth Stopped spinning?
First up, let’s look at what would happen if the Earth came to a grinding halt. First off, billions – possibly every single one of us – would not survive. We’d all be smashing into walls at around twice the speed of sound. That’s enough to completely turn to mush on impact.
At the equator, Earth spins at around 1000 miles per hour eastwards, although it slows towards the poles. A grinding halt would mean everything that isn’t tied down to the floor would just keep going in that direction. It would be messy.
If you somehow survive that (which you wouldn’t, let’s face it), then you have the horror of facing super-hurricane force winds which, again, would be around the 1000 mph mark. Every single human structure on the planet’s surface would be reduced to rubble.
What if the Earth suddenly reversed its spin?
Things would get worse, and weird, if the Earth very suddenly reversed its spin. Rather than hurtling towards static objects at 1000 mph, we’d be doing it at twice that speed. An even bigger mushy mess!
Apart from that, our magnetic poles would reverse and the course of the Sun would be the complete opposite. It would rise in the west, and set in the east. Bad news for migratory animals relying on the Earth’s field.
Earth’s crust would probably break up, and mountains would start shrinking as they slowly unfolded. A majestic, yet horrific sight, I imagine.
Why does this happen?
It sounds extreme for such a tiny change to our planet. There is a good reason that we are constantly spinning though. The Earth’s rotation and friction with the gorund mitigates much of the force of our planet’s winds. So if it stopped spinning, chaos would reign as described.
The apocalyptic scenario still doesn’t end there. Earth’s magnetic field would fail if there was no spin to generate it from our core, so all of the massive doses of radiation from outer space would give any survivors the worst radiation sickness and cancers that’s even imaginable.
Quite a scary prospect, but not something to worry about. There’s little to zero chance of this ever happening, since we don’t have the technology to make these kind of changes.
Even if we did, why would we want to anyway? Unless some bizarre natural disaster takes place, you can sleep easy knowing this scenario isn’t going to happen.