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What would happen if the Earth stopped spinning for 5 seconds

What would happen if the Earth stopped spinning for 5 seconds

Let's just say we hope to never find out because it's not a great end scenario.

Earth has been steadily spinning on its axis for the best part of 4.6 billion years. As you might recall from school, it’s this constant rotation that gives us our reliable cycle of day and night.

But what if, out of the blue, Earth decided to stop spinning?

Well, a YouTube video from space series What If has explored this very notion - answering the question with science.

So, would it be the end of the world as we know it, or just a slight inconvenience?

While your first concern might be that you’d simply float off into space, there’s no need to worry about that.

The speed needed to escape Earth's gravitational grip is about 25,000 mph (40,000 km/h) - way faster than the halt would propel us. However, that doesn't mean we'd be off the hook.

If the Earth hit an invisible cosmic brake, everything that's not bolted down (and even some things that are) would suddenly find themselves in the middle of the most extreme winds ever encountered.

We're talking speeds of over 1,000mph (1,670 km/h) near the equator. And these winds wouldn’t just mess up your hair - they’d be of a force strong enough to shred buildings, uproot trees and send cars flying like toys. They'd obliterate cities and landscapes as we know them.

This is because our planet, under its current spin, isn't a perfect sphere - it's slightly bulged at the equator. So, when the spinning stops, all that water hanging around the equator would rush towards the poles, unleashing tsunamis of epic proportions. And when Earth decides to spin again? That water would rush back, creating a double whammy of watery destruction.

What If science series has looked at if the Earth stopped spinning for a bit
What If science series has looked at if the Earth stopped spinning for a bit

And if you're thinking the North and South poles might be a safe haven, you might be onto something. The winds there would be milder compared to the equatorial hurricane-on-steroids. Despite living in sub-zero temperatures if you did manage to flee to safety, the aftermath of the five-second pause would leave the Earth unrecognizable.

Buildings, technology, farmland – all gone. There’d be no food or accessible after; it would be an apocalypse of biblical proportions, with the survival rate more or less zero.

Before you start drafting plans for an underground bunker, here's some good news.

Scientists say Earth won't be taking any unexpected breaks anytime soon.

In fact, it’s the Sun you need to worry about more. Our star will likely burn out and transform into a red giant before the Earth stops spinning. So, for now, we can all breathe a sigh of relief – and maybe appreciate the steady, predictable spin that keeps our world turning.

Featured Image Credit: Credit: What If/ YouTube