What if the Earth Stopped Spinning, Newton՚s First Law of Motion (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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What if the Earth Stopped Spinning?

  • The probability for such an event is practically zero in the next few billion years.
  • Earth is our home planet. It is the only known planet to have large amounts of water and the only planet where life is known to exist. It has wind that blows and seasons that change.
  • If the Earth stopped spinning suddenly, the atmosphere would still be in motion with the Earth՚s original 1100 mile per hour rotation speed at the equator.
  • Well, the good news is that if the Earth stopped spinning, we wouldn՚t fall off.
  • All of the land masses would be scoured clean of anything not attached to bedrock. This means rocks, topsoil, trees, buildings, your pet dog, and so on, would be swept away into the atmosphere.

Newton՚s First Law of Motion

  • According to the first law which is also known as the law of inertia, if an object is at rest, then it continues to stay at rest, or if it՚s in motion it continues to remain in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless an external and opposite force is applied to it.
  • This behaviour is known as inertia.

If the Earth Stopped Spinning

  • If the process happened gradually over billions of years, the situation would be very different, and it is this possibility which is the most likely as the constant torquing of the Sun and Moon upon the Earth finally reaches it՚s conclusion.
  • We all know that the Earth, the Sun, and our entire solar system does not experience any external force. Therefore, all the planets keep spinning since their creation due to inertia.
  • If the rotation period slowed to 1 rotation every 365 days a condition called ‘sun synchronous’ , every spot in the Earth would have permanent daytime or nighttime all year long.
  • If the Earth suddenly stopped spinning, most of our planet would become very inhospitable. The Earth spins at a speed of almost 1700 km/h and a sudden stop of our planet would displace everything that՚s not firmly fixed to the bedrock. This is due to the inertia of motion as explained previously.
  • Because that, despite the spinning of Earth being stopped, the atmosphere will continue to be in motion with a speed of 1700 km/hr sweeping off everything in the ground like huge rocks, vehicles, buildings, along with us.

Three Things Can be Happened if Earth Stopped Spinning

  • Sudden stop
  • Changing continents
  • Bake and freeze

Sudden Stop

Sudden Stop
  • Everything on the surface would be destroyed, as the atmosphere, oceans and anything not nailed down kept spinning.
  • Even braking to a halt over a minute would mean everything experienced a sideways deceleration of three-quarters of Earth՚s gravity, so ‘down’ would feel like it was at an angle of from the vertical. That՚s enough to knock over most buildings.

Changing Continents

Changing Continents
  • If it slowed down over several years, it would still be a disaster.
  • Without centrifugal force, the oceans would move towards the poles, dropping ocean depth by 8 km around the equator.
  • Though this is less than the depth of the ocean there, Earth՚s water would be divided into two huge polar oceans separated by a belt of land in the middle.
  • Everything north of Spain would be underwater, as well as all of Antarctica.

Bake and Beez

Bake and Beez
  • Once Earth doesn՚t spin on its own axis, a day lasts as long as a year. Everywhere receives six months of daylight, gradually heating up the planet to well over .
  • The huge central continent would get the hottest and any remaining lakes and rivers would boil away and be blown to the poles by fierce winds.

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