Earth-shattering; what would happen if the earth stopped spinning?

Lilli Greco, Copy Editor

      2020 has been a year full of unexpected occurrences. A year ago, if you asked anyone about the future, none of them would have predicted a national pandemic, or widespread protesting across the country. Things seem pretty bad. But in reality, things could be a lot worse. 

     What would happen if the earth stopped spinning? Or the sun didn’t rise again? Or if the moon had never existed at all?

     “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. … this means rocks, topsoil, trees, buildings, your pet dog, and so on, would be swept away into the atmosphere.” ( 

     If the sun didn’t rise, there would be no light. It would seem like midnight all the time. Without sunlight, plants aren’t able to make food, meaning slowly, all the plants would die. Without the heat from the sun, everything would freeze over as well. ( 

     “If there was no moon, then the water might spread across the planet equally and reduce the amount of friction. This means that the earth would not slow, which then means that the hours of our days would change. … since the moon affects the altitude and movement of Earth’s water, our ocean tides would shrink.” (

      Physics and astronomy teacher, Douglas Heeter, has some expertise on the subject matter. “If [the earth came to] an abrupt stop, recall Newton’s 1st Law of Motion (Inertia):  An object in motion, stays in motion… so since everything on the surface of the Earth is basically moving at 1000+ mph as the Earth spins, they will continue to do so.  Picture in a car when you slam on the brakes, you lurch forward, so would everything else on the planet as Earth stopped moving.  I don’t think a seatbelt will hold you back in this case.”

     “If the sun didn’t rise again, it would get cold pretty quick.” Heeter said. “Also, with no light, plants would die off too… no plants, no base of food chain, and oh yeah, no oxygen production (we kind of need that too!).  The deep freeze would probably get us before no food or oxygen though.”

     “[If the moon didn’t exist] #1, no tides, or at least a pretty big drop in them (the sun’s gravity has an impact upon them too).  We all know the moon is the biggest impact on the tides with its gravity and since it is closer to us, it has a more pronounced effect.  This would definitely cause an issue with a lot of life in the oceans that rely upon the cycles within the oceans and could impact all life on Earth.” Heeter explained.

   “Good news, that although there are quite a few bad outcomes from any of these scenarios, none are very likely to happen so enjoy your days and nights, sunrises and sunsets, and looking up at the moon!” Heeter said, leaving things on a more positive note.