1. We would go for one heck of a rollercoaster ride
Gravity keeps us firmly rooted to the planet’s surface, especially useful considering – if on the equator – Earth’s rotation shoots us through space at 1,040 miles per hour (1,674 kmh). Compare this to a transoceanic Boeing 777 which can only reach top speeds of 590 miles per hour. Thus, if the Earth stopped spinning, we would be hurtled sideways at 1,040 miles per hour.
2. But we wouldn't fly into space
Some science-fiction films would have us believe if the Earth stopped spinning we would be launched into space. Despite getting hurtled sideways, we would not fly off into space. Since Earth’s escape velocity is 25,020 miles per hour (40,000 kmh), we would not have enough speed – only moving at 1,040 mph – to leave the planet.
3. A global hurricane would destroy countless cities
But, since our atmosphere turns at the same speed, an abrupt stop would create a massively destructive hurricane over nearly our entire planet.
4. A global tsunami would roll in
Remember Newton’s First Law? An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an external force. Since our oceans are in constant movement as well, the momentum will hurl them around just like us, creating tsunamis that could reach over 17 miles (27.4 km) inland in less than a minute.
5. An earthquake would rock the world
The different forces acting on Earth are so perfectly balanced that we rarely experience or notice a change in them. When we do, natural disasters such as earthquakes happen. If our planet were to stop spinning, the delicate balance would be immediately disrupted and earthquakes would be triggered all over the planet.
6. Fires would ignite everywhere
The rapid change in wind speed and the development of hurricanes mentioned in #23 would create a force so strong fires would spontaneously ignite across the planet. (Think about how friction caused by rubbing two sticks together can cause a fire.)
7. GPS would be thrown off.
Global positioning systems (GPS) use satellites loaded with intricate and elaborate calculations to determine the users’ location on Earth. If our globe stopped rotating, the specific calculations would be thrown off. Though it may not seem like a big deal for your inter-city trip to that fancy new restaurant, planes rely on GPS to get between airports. With GPS’ calculations thrown off, planes will shoot way off course, likely resulting in numerous crashes and fatalities.
8. The sky we see would be more static
If the Earth stopped spinning, most of what we see in the night sky would, too. The stars in the sky would appear to freeze in place, though we would still notice the other planets continuing their orbits.
9. The moon would eventually crash into Earth
The Moon is currently (slowly) drifting away from Earth. With the Earth stopped, the Moon would slowly drift closer to Earth until it impacts the planet many millions of years in the future.
10. One day would be a year long.
Today, one day is equal to 23 hours and 56 minutes. If our planet was to stop spinning, the sun would stay over half of Earth for six months and the other half for six months, killing off most plant and animal life. That means a six-month-long day followed by a six-month-long night.