Of course it would be bad, but just how bad? A single day on Earth would last an entire year, with half of the planet in darkness for six months while the other half would have nothing but light. It might make a for an epic weeks-long sunset, but that’s just us trying to find an upside to what would overall be a very bleak scenario.
A sudden stop would bring all life on Earth, what with a rotating speed of 1,000 miles an hour at the equator (1,610 kilometers an hour) to a very abrupt, high-speed end. It would take a billion-dollar special effects budget to do the instantaneous carnage justice were it to be portrayed Hollywood-style in a summer blockbuster.
As temperatures on the dark side of the planet dropped, all water would freeze. On the sunny side of the planet, oceans would be evaporating as temperatures push the 212 degrees Fahrenheit mark (100 degrees Celsius). Were Earth to do a very slow, gradual stop there might still be hope for life on the planet, mainly along the equator.
Any living creature that might still have the ability to move as time wore on would be able to follow the line of the equator around the entire circumference of the planet as water would be pushed towards both poles. Supercontinents would be formed as land masses are smashed together, but at that point there wouldn’t be anyone around to point how just how super actually are…
- How Stuff Works: What if Earth stopped spinning?
- NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center: What would happen if the Earth stopped spinning?
- Munroe, Randall. What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. London: John Murray, 2015
- ABC: What would happen if the Earth stopped rotating?
- ESRI: If the Earth Stood Still
- IFL Science: What Would Happen If Earth Stopped Spinning?