On the equator, the Earth is spinning at its fastest speed, which is about 1,000 miles per hour. If its motion suddenly stops, its momentum will cause it to rush eastward. As the rocks and oceans move, earthquakes and tsunamis occur. The still atmosphere would wash away the landscape.
What If Earth’s Rotation Suddenly Stopped!
But don't worry. Such an event would require the same amount of energy to be stored in the momentum of everything on the spinning earth.
The Earth rotates around its axis once every 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.09053 seconds. This means that the land at the equator is moving at about 1,100 miles per hour (1,770 km/h) and the rotation of the poles drops to zero.
If the planet were to come to a sudden stop, the angular momentum transferred to air, water, and even rock along the equator would continue to move at 1,100 miles per hour.
This movement would wash over the surface, tearing it apart and sending debris into the upper regions of the atmosphere and outer space.
So what would happen if the Earth stopped rotating around itself?
Although the question seems complicated, there is a very simple answer: all objects and people on Earth would be swept away the moment the planet came to a stop.
This happens because the rotational speed of the Earth at the equator is 1,670 kilometers per hour, and despite this incredible speed, we do not notice that we are moving. The same thing happens when traveling by airplane or car, where we don't notice the movement until it stops or there is a collision. The abrupt stop of the Earth's rotation would be felt on the surface, so everything and everyone would be "shot out" by the centrifugal force and the inertia of the motion.
On the other hand, rotational motion is the cause of day and night, as the Earth takes 24 hours to rotate completely around itself once. Thus, when the Earth stops rotating, time is measured differently. Specifically, one day would last as long as 365 days today, i.e., one year.
This duration is derived from the translational motion, i.e., the 365 days it takes the planet to make one complete revolution around the sun, a motion that occurs simultaneously with the rotational motion. However, if the Earth stopped rotating around itself, it would take 8,760 hours (one year) to return to the same starting position after one complete revolution around the Sun. Thus, there would always be 365 days of light, and the length of the year would remain the same, but not the length of the day, which would be identical to that of the year.