True sci-fi movie buffs have surely not missed the popular film ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’, but how many of us have really thought about it- what if the Earth stops rotating and stands still? Just for the record, there have been reports that claim that the speed of Earth’s rotation has indeed slowed down. However, there are almost zero possibilities of our planet’s ceased rotations, even in a billion years from now.
A man’s imagination knowns no bounds, so why not imagine a day when the Earth stands still? Well, the good news is that if the rotation were to stop at this instant, we will not fall off the planet. The situation will be like that of us in a moving car, whose brakes have suddenly been applied. The velocity with which we (and everything on this planet) will fly will be that of the Earth’s rotational velocity, which is somewhat around 1,670km/hr- but it is not enough to send us to the space.
Since the occurrence of day and night depends on the planet’s rotation, the moment it stops rotating will cause an indefinite span of night for one half of the Earth, while the other half will constantly remain exposed to the Sun and experience a never-ending day. This means that while one half will gradually burn down from the constant heat of the Sun, the one facing away will gradually freeze. Life will continue to exist in a very narrow zone, situated between the ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ halves.
With the rotations, the tilt of the Earth, which is based on the earth’s axis will be rendered useless. In fact, the various seasons on the planet are a result of the axis of the rotation. Even though there will still be a North Pole, which receives the lowest radiation from the Sun, and an equator, where the rays of the Sun are more intense, there will be no existence of any season.
The stopping of spin will also take away any water from the equator (if we ignore the fact that the existing water will either freeze or evaporate, depending on which side it is), and oceans around the equator will slowly migrate to the poles. This will result in massive floods and gigantic tsunamis, which can potentially submerge anything and everything on the Earth’s surface. Considering this sudden movement of water does not drown everything, the picture will be somewhat like this; we will have one supercontinent in the middle and surrounded by huge water bodies on both the poles. Hence, if we were to travel around the equator, we would be travelling on dry land the entire time, considering we can stay unaffected by the searing heat or freezing cold on the two halves!
The bulge along the equator, which gives the Earth its orange-like shape is present due to its rotation, and if the Earth stops rotating, our planet will gradually turn into a perfect sphere.