It’s a fact: the Earth’s rotation around its own access is imperceptibly slowing down. Scientists explain this phenomenon by the presence of the moon. Our satellite slowly but surely drains the energy from our planet. So what would happen if the Earth was to completely stop turning?
1. We would have one day per year
If the Earth were to stop turning around itself, the only variations in light we would have would be due to the position of the planet in relation to the Sun. So for 6 months, one point on Earth would be exposed to non-stop sunlight. We think that the surface temperature would be in the neighborhood of 60°C, while this same point would be plunged into darkness for 6 months afterwards, with temperatures of around -50°C.
A second theory suggests that the Earth would “lock” in place. And that like the moon for us, the Earth would always present the same face to the Sun. That would mean that every point on earth would be either sunlit or plunged into total darkness for ever more.
2. The planet would be deserted
With such temperature changes, scientists believe that “life could not support these difficult transitions and it would regress considerably or even disappear”. Furthermore, our planet would become a gigantic desert, visited only by battering winds.
3. Fewer hurricanes, but more wind
We have previously learned that the rotation of the earth facilitates the development of hurricanes. So by contrast, slower or even no rotation would lead to less wind, meaning hurricanes would happen more rarely.
However, if the Earth suddenly stopped turning, the winds would continue to blow. The Earth would be beaten by gusts reaching close to 1,000 km/h. These gales would be a real nightmare scenario, destroying everything in their wake.
4. The Earth would become perfectly round
By taking a scientific short cut, we can explain that it is the rotation of the Earth that gives it its orange-shaped form. Therefore, if it were to stop turning, it would take on a perfectly round shape. Of course, the impact on the tectonic plates would be such that the Earth would enter into a phase of existence that would be shaken by earthquakes.
5. The oceans would engulf everything
Global warming isn’t the only thing threatening the lands above the surface of the oceans. If the planet stopped turning, sea levels would rise enough to engulf a sizable amount of our current continents.
According to NASA, the chances of the Earth completely stopping turning in the next billion years are close to 0%.