25 Catastrophic Scenarios That Would Take Place If The Earth Stopped Spinning

Every day, Earth spins on its axis. This rotation gives us day and night (but not our seasons – that’s due to the Earth 23.5° tilt in relation to the sun – sort of; see #8). But, what would happen if the Earth stopping spinning? Though it’s not possible – at least for billions of years – it’s interesting to think about what kind of cataclysmic events would occur without the balance of forces and Earth’s standard rotation. Super storms would be unleashed across every country on the planet, the oceans would redistribute, and new land masses would emerge while many existing land masses filled with cities and people would be drowned underwater. Utter chaos would descend upon the planet as nearly all organic life would be wiped out almost immediately. To make this situation seem less catastrophic, at least it’s good to know even if our planet does stop rotating, the sun will die out long before we stop spinning. Read on to find out what would happen to our planet in this list of 25 Catastrophic Scenarios That Would Take Place If The Earth Stopped Spinning.

Subscribe to List25

Last Updated on


Fires would ignite everywhere

Deer in river during wildfireSource: Universe Today, Image: Wikipedia

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.)


GPS would be thrown off

Sligo-plane-landingSource: Educational Documentary, Image: Wikimedia

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.


The sky we see would be more static

night sky with stars and moonSource: Universe Today, Image: Pixabay

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.


The moon would eventually crash into Earth

Moon_Earth_ComparisonSource: io9, Image: Wikimedia

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.


One day would be a year long

Earth-lighting-winter-solsticeSource: Universe Today, Image: Wikipedia

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.

SEE ALSO: 25 Biggest Corporate Scandals Ever »

NOW WATCH: 25 Most Bizarre Dog Breeds

Subscribe to List25

What do you think?

0 points
Upvote Downvote
25 Of The Most Amazing Atolls In The World

25 Of The Most Amazing Atolls In The World

25 Modern Science And Technologies You'd Swear Are Science Fiction

25 Modern Science And Technologies You’d Swear Are Science Fiction