From exploding volcanoes, to meteor crashes, stunning earthquakes, amazing storms, large waves and a plethora of life thriving, Earth enacts an intense and live drama in its very existence. We list some of them here to know more about our beloved planet.
1. The lowest temperature recorded in Antarctica was an unbelievable -128.6 degree Celsius in the year 1983.
Capped by permanent ice sheets at its poles, Antarctica at South Pole is known as the coldest place on Earth. However, temperatures dipping below 100 degree Celsius have rarely been recorded on the planet.
2. The highest waterfall is actually in a sea.
It is an unusual feature of the Atlantic Ocean, where the water from the western side of Denmark Strait Cataract, located between Iceland and Greenland, falls a whopping 3,505 meters (11,500 feet). The fall happens because of the temperature difference in the waters on the two sides of the underwater strait that plunges the denser cold water down and sends the warmer waters rushing upwards. It is also called the North Atlantic Circulation Pump or Greenland Pump that regulates the current flow in the vast ocean.
3. River flows have been discovered under oceans and seas.
Hard to believe but there are water flows happening under seas and oceans that have scientifically been classified as rivers. The large water flow discovered in the Black Sea has all the features of a overland river. Being a staggering 350 times larger flow than the Thames, for some it has been graded as the World’s 6th largest river.
4. Even a bacteria has caused a mass extinction.
Lifeforms that once flourished have gone extinct on the planet, mainly because of crashing meteorites or eruptions of massive volcanoes. The age of dinosaurs is believed to have ended because of such earth shaking changes.
But not all extinctions came about in such catastrophic ways. About 2.4 billion years ago, cyanobacteria is believed to have caused such poisoning of the atmosphere that it led to a mass extinction. Scientists have termed it as the Great Oxygenation Event.
5. The world’s driest place rests besides an ocean.
The driest spot on the Earth is in Chile, in the Atacama Desert. Ironically, it is very close to the Pacific Ocean, which happens to be the planet’s largest water reservoir. The city of Atacama has not recorded any rain for the last 400 years.
6. Million of lightning bolts strike earth each day.
A lightning appears to be an harmless natural phenomenon that humans are so accustomed to, but the power that one bolt strike pounds the earth with is enormous. Scientist have calculated that on an average Earth is struck by about 8 million lightning bolts per day. United States is hit by lightning about 20 million times in a year.
7. Depending on one’s location, those near the equator could be spinning around at an rate of 1,600 km per hour.
It hard to come to terms that with earth, everything on the planet is spinning and revolving around the Sun in space. At any moment we are all flying and spinning.
8. Thousand of tons of cosmic dust bombards Earth each year.
It’s actually a deluge of star dust that hits Earth each day of the year. According to one estimate, about 40,000 tons of cosmic dust reaches the Earth every year.
9. On Earth, we register only a distorted view of the Sun.
The actual color of the Sun is white but the atmosphere of the Earth makes it appear yellow for the human eye.
10. The remotest major city in the world is Honolulu, in Hawaii. The closest settlement is 3,800 km away.
11. Alert, only 508 miles from the North Pole, in Canada, is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world.
12. The world’s oceans contain 20 million tons of gold.
If all of that were mined, every human would get richer by 9 pounds of gold each.
13. Earth has survived a planetary crash with its twin.
Planetary scientists say that Earth had a twin planet called Thei revolving in close proximity to the earth’s orbit around the Sun. Gravitational forces caused the Thei to breakup and half of it crashed into the Earth. The Moon is the remaining other half of planet Thei.
14. Stromboli Volcano in Southern Italy has been erupting non-stop for the last 2000 years.
Throwing lava, ash and gases, Volcano eruptions are one of the most fascinating geographical features on a planet. There are many active volcanoes on Earth but Stromboli is in fact called the ‘Lighthouse of the Mediterranean’.
15. The General Sherman in Sequoia National Park, California, USA, is one of the largest trees known to man.
With a trunk of 7.7 meters (25 feet), the tree is estimated to be 2300–2700 years old holds 1,487 cubic meters (52,513 cubic feet) of wood volume in it. There are other giant trees like redwood and bristlecone pine trees on the planet.
16. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the ocean has many active volcanoes.
Stretching in a north south direction, this large underwater mid-ocean ridge mountain chain in the Atlantic ocean is about 80,000 km in length.
17. Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean is about 2,550 km long, 69 km wide and at places over 11 km deep, making it the deepest place on Earth.
The oceans are deep but how deep, one always wonders. Trenches in geology are created along movement of tectonic plates and those that are spread on ocean floors are some of the deepest places on planet Earth.
18. There are over 22,000 man-made objects floating in space that are in close proximity to Earth’s outer atmosphere
Environmental pollution and climate change are hotly debated topics but one Earth fact few know is the pollution of space happening around us. It will surprise you to know that, about 87% of space junk is mostly fragments from satellites, said to be inactive now.
19. Lake Baikal is estimated to be 25 million years old and holds a volume of fresh water that is larger than all the 5 Great Lakes of America put together.
Lake Baikal, in eastern Siberia, Russia, is a geographical wonder. Spread over an area that is 400 miles long and 30 miles wide, it is considered to be the planets deepest and oldest lake.
20. Mount Everest is not the highest mountain on Earth.
When considered a rise from a base, the Mauna Kea, a volcano in the Hawaiian islands rises 4,000 meters above sea level and has a base lying about 6,000 meters under the sea. That makes it a whopping 10 km high mountain from sea bed level, which surpasses the 8,848 meters height that Mt Everest has from sea level.