# What if the Earth suddenly stopped rotating?

Hypothetical questions are so much fun in science because they make us think about what we know in a different light, which can help us better understand the enormous size of our planet. So let’s stop the Earth from spinning and see what happens.

First, imagine that the rotation stops in one second. At the equator, it’s like being in a car moving at 1,670 kilometers (1,038 miles) per hour and hitting the brakes. If you were in a building, you’d hit the nearest wall to the east and experience a gravitational acceleration 47 times that of our planet. The good news is that this It may not kill you.But everything else will be the same.

The Earth may remain stationary, but everything else will continue to move at the same speed as the Earth was spinning before. This includes the atmosphere and all the oceans. The winds alone will be four times faster and stronger than the fastest winds ever recorded (408 km/h 253 mph). Then you will face a huge tsunami wave, which will destroy anything that the winds did not destroy (which may not be much).

Obviously, the damage would be more devastating the closer you are to the equator, but in the long run, being near the poles won’t save you either. Because of its rotation, the Earth bulges in the middle, so the poles are about 21 kilometers (13 miles) closer to the center of the Earth than the equator. Without rotation, the oceans would migrate toward the poles—where gravity is stronger—leading to devastating earthquakes, a single supercontinent across the equator, and two separate oceans, respectively.