“Stop the world, I want to get off.” This commonly used term has been around since the 1950s and is used in both classical and modern music, but if the Earth's motion really stopped, the consequences would be less poetic than romantic music and more like a horrific horror movie.
For example, imagine that you are walking on a sunny beach somewhere along the equator, and the ground below you is rotating at 674 kilometers per hour to the east, but because you, the sand, and everything else around you are moving at the same speed, your walk appears slow and calm.
However, if Earth's rotation It would stop at any moment, and there would be dire consequences. The theoretical background for this is provided by Newton's first law of inertia. Accordingly, in this case, all living beings and objects would begin to fly eastward at a speed of 1,674 kilometers per hour, a speed at which no one would survive. The impact will destroy everything and everyone.
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This process would affect the water, but buildings and trees would not be safe either, even though the latter are rooted in the ground.
– noted Joseph Levy, a researcher in geosciences at Colgate University.
The greatest chance of survival will be at the North and South Poles, because the axis of rotation here and therefore the speed of rotation is much smaller.
But what would happen if the Earth gradually stopped rotating?
The researcher emphasized that in natural systems nothing stops immediately. So, in this case too, the Earth's motion will likely slow down in just days or weeks.
In a gradual slowdown, the devastation would not be so spectacular, but the apocalypse would not be avoided either. The length of the day and night will change radically, and the daylight period will last six months instead of 12 hours. The non-stop hot sun will roast nearby plants and evaporate most of the water on the sun-facing side of the planet, making our planet completely uninhabitable after a while.
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Should we be afraid that this will actually happen?
The answer is no. The Earth's rotation can slow down thanks to a process called tidal braking. According to NASA.
But even under these conditions, the Moon is unlikely to stop the Earth completely.
You can learn more about this phenomenon in the video below!