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What would happen if the Earth stopped rotating?

What would happen if the Earth stopped rotating?

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Scary scenario: What would happen if the Earth stopped rotating? © IMAGO/imageBROKER/Oleksandr Latkun

What would actually happen if one day our Earth no longer rotates on its axis? The answer to this common thought experiment is scary.

FRANKFURT – The Earth revolves around the Sun once a year, and it also rotates around itself once a day, and even if you do not notice this movement on the Earth itself – it is of great importance. Because the Earth's rotation ensures, among other things, day and night on our planet. But what would happen if the Earth simply stopped rotating? This thought experiment is performed over and over again by experts.

If the Earth suddenly stopped rotating, it would likely be the end of life on the blue planet. Because everyone and everything on Earth moves at the speed at which the planet rotates (at the equator it is 1600 km/h, and at our latitudes it is about 1070 km/h). If the Earth simply stopped, everything on Earth would continue to spin at its current speed. “The momentum of all normally rotating matter would keep it moving,” astronomer Andrew Leyden explained. Reverse space.com.

When the Earth stops rotating, no stone will be left unturned

The expert said that water, air, all buildings, people, animals, plants and everything else “will separate from the surface and continue to orbit in a low orbit around the Earth.” Only in the North or South Pole can a person be saved. People or animals there hardly notice that the rotation has stopped, because the Earth does not rotate at the poles. But that doesn't mean it's safe in the poles. The extreme forces acting on the planet when the Earth stops rotating can create tsunamis and earthquakes – and ultimately destroy the Earth.

If the Earth's rotation did not slow down suddenly, but rather slowed down gradually, it would be kinder to everything on the planet – but it would eventually lead to big problems. The length of the day and night will change – until every day and night lasts for half a year. The weather is also likely to change, Layden said. After all, air and water currents are strongly influenced by the Earth's rotation.

The Earth's rotation is responsible for the magnetic field that protects the Earth

But in addition to these relatively obvious problems with Earth's slowing rotation, there is another problem that many people may not realize: Earth's rotation is partly responsible for the fact that there is a magnetic field around our planet. This protects the Earth, for example, from the effects of solar storms. In the case of Mars, research suggests that the loss of its magnetic field made the planet uninhabitable.

However, you don't need to worry about these things – it is extremely unlikely that the Earth will suddenly stop rotating. Every planet known to science revolves around itself, and even stars rotate very slowly. During the formation of a planetary system, celestial bodies often collide with other bodies. This also happened to the Earth – according to popular theory, this led to the creation of the Moon.

Such an impact could cause the Earth to suddenly stop. However, in our solar system this seems highly unrealistic. The orbits of all the planets are very regular, and massive objects that could collide with Earth are nowhere in sight. (unpaid bill)