According to the latest theories, Earth was formed some 5 billion years ago, and it began to cool down when an asteroid the size of planet Mars collided with it to break off the Moon. It is the densest planet in our solar system and rich in resources that are life giving. It is believed that the biological and the physiological aspects of life are intrinsic on planet Earth which is vital for continuously spawning new life on the planet. It is the only planet in the solar system not named after a mythological deity; rather being derived from an old word “Ertha” meaning soil. Following are some of the most amazing Earth facts that you would have never had deemed possible.
Amazing Earth Facts You Couldn’t Imagine
17. Size and Shape
Earth is the fifth largest planet in our solar system with a diameter of 12,756 km on its equator. Although known to be spherical in shape, the earth is not perfectly round. Its polar diameter is 12,714 km which is 42 kilometers less due to which the Earth has an equatorial bulged. Even then, if Earth were to be shrunk to the size of a snooker ball, it would still be smoother.
16. Earth is Insignificant to the Universe
One of the amazing Earth facts is that despite being so large as to have over 7 billion people in only the 25% of the habitable land, it is still largely irrelevant to the cosmic universe. 1.3 million Earth could be packed inside the Sun, which is a fairly average star in our galaxy. There are at least 400 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone, and there are at least 2 billion planets that are exactly like our Earth in this galaxy alone. Want to feel even more insignificant? Our galaxy that houses over 400 billion stars isn’t the biggest galaxy in the universe. In fact, it doesn’t even make the top three.
15. Earth is Doomed
Scientists have predicted that the Earth is going to be engulfed by the Sun in around 2.3 billion years. That is because the Sun is gradually getting near our beloved planet. It is also the chief reason that Earth’s rotation around its axis is gradually slowing down. The deceleration is a mere 17 millisecond per century and in 140 million years the day will become 25 hours long. However, it is believed that the next mass extinction will take place long before even that happens. That is because last mass extinction occurred 66 million years ago. One before that happened 200 million years ago and the third one happened 250 million years before the present day.
14. Misconceptions about Earth
One of the biggest misconceptions about the Earth was that the universe revolved around it. Yes, it was believed till the 16th century, officially at least, that the sun and other known planets revolved around the Earth. It remained that way until Copernicus proposed the theory of Sun as the center of the solar system in 1543. The next misconception, however, takes the cake. It is a well-known yet one of amazing Earth facts that earlier civilizations believed the earth to be flat and that if you go to the west via a ship, you will fall from Earth. Still, from at least 500 BC, educated people did believe that the Earth was round. In fact 2,200 years ago, Eratosthenes from Egypt estimated the circumference of Earth using mathematics that was quite close to the actual circumference despite never leaving his homeland.
13. Pole Reversal
Pole reversal is a phenomenon that has occurred many times during Earth’s history. The latest theory reveals that this event has occurred at least twice in the past 20 million years. During the pole reversal, the earth’s magnetic fields start to move away from the designated region and finally settle on the opposite end. During this event, a drastic climate change also occurs. Previous low-level mass extinctions have been loosely linked with pole reversal. The incorrect prophecy of doomsday on 21st December 2012 was based on this theory by some scientists.
12. The Sugar Cube Theory
One of the amazing Earth facts is that it is made up of atoms including the people, animals, and plants that live on it. Atoms give us our shape and mass as they are made of the nucleus at the center with electrons revolving around it in orbits. 99.99999 percent of an atom is space. If you are to erase that space, then the entire human race on the planet Earth could easily fit into a regular sugar cube.
11. Plates in Motion
The tectonic plates beneath the Earth surface that make up the Earth’s crust are always moving. These plates give rise to the seismic activity which is registered as earthquakes. Because of the movement of these plates, the Islands of Hawaii constantly move 7.5 cm closer to Alaska every year. Scientist also believes that a supercontinent will appear somewhere in the Pacific Ocean in about 25 million years because of the plates in Motion.
10. Earth Quakes
Earth like many other planets has a magnetic field which coupled with the movement of tectonic plates and lava beneath the Earth’s surface causes Earthquakes. Over 500,000 detectable earthquakes happen every year. 100,000 out of those can be felt by us and only 100 out of those cause any damage. One of the little known amazing Earth facts is that if you feel a slight tremor and pass it off as just your imagination, you most probably did feel a light earthquake.
The Amazon rainforest is nothing short of life-giving biodiverse area in South America. It is responsible for 20% of the total oxygen on Earth. The oxygen produced in the Amazonian rainforest is breathed in by people in the Middle East and even other parts of Asia. Numerically speaking, Amazon rainforest alone represents 50% of the total rainforest area on Earth.
8. Deserted Place
Only 29% of the total Earth’s area comprises of landmasses. Around 33% of the total landmass is fully or partially a desert. Deserts are found everywhere and on every continent, not just the Middle East and Texas. Antarctica is also technically a desert because rain falls under 50 cm per year in the southern continent. The driest habitable continent on Earth is the land Down Under; Australia. The driest place on Earth is the Atacama Desert in Chile where rainfall has never been recorded.
7. Earth’s Land Distribution
There are over 200 countries and independent states in the world. Some are big, and some are extremely small. 40% of the total Earth’s area belongs to six of these countries; namely: Russia, Canada, China, USA, Brazil, and Australia in the descending order of size. One of the most amazing Earth facts is that Queen Elizabeth of England is the principal owner of One Sixth of the total Earth landmass.
6. A Day of History
If one is to encompass the history of planet Earth to a single 24 hours day, then this is how the major events would go down:
4 AM: Life will be introduced on Earth in the form of single-celled organisms from its organic matter.
10:24 PM: This is the time where first of the Plantlife will occur.
11:41 PM: End of the Mesozoic Era with the Dinosaur’s extinction.
11:58:43 PM: The human history will start to unfold.
5. Highs and Lows
Earth is comprised of high and low points where the earth’s crust becomes varied. The highest point on Earth, officially speaking, is the Mount Everest, which stands at 8.8 km above sea level at its peak. The Lowest point on Earth is called the Challenger Deep which is 10.9 km below sea level and could contain the Mount Everest with ease. One of the most amazing Earth facts is that the depth of Challenger Deep is equal to 24.5 Empire State buildings stacked on top of one another.
4. The Unique Earth
Earth is unique to other planetary bodies in more ways than the one that there is life on it. Earth is the only known planet which experiences a total solar eclipse. Because even though Sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, it is also exactly 400 times farther than the moon is from Earth. There are other planets which have atmosphere and water, but Earth is the only place where water is present in its all three forms; liquid, solid and vapor/gas.
3. Earth has Survived Numerous Impact Craters
One of the interesting facts about Earth is that when you look at it from space like the other bodies, you will not find many impact craters other than a handful that happened in recent past. That is because even though Earth has had its fair share of impact craters, the signs of them have been removed by Earth’s atmosphere through erosion and weathering. Erosion is the movement of weathered particles via the wind, water, ice, and gravity; whereas the weathering in itself is the breakdown of surface structure over time by the atmosphere.
2. Lightning on Earth
Lightning is believed to be a rare occurrence in the world, but that is factually incorrect. One of the amazing Earth facts is that the lightning strikes it 100 times per second all over the world. Which means that lightning strikes 8.64 million times a day and 3.2 billion times per year. The only redeeming fact about all of this that almost all of the strikes happen in sea storms far away actual people and settlements.
1. Where it All Began
We have to remember that evolution of life took millions if not billions of years where life evolved from single celled organisms. These organisms are still abundant in the oceans and inside Earth’s crust in the soil. For example, if you were to take a teaspoon of soil from your backyard, there would be more living organisms in it than the entire human population.
Earth is the third planet in our solar system and the only body in the universe where life exists as we know. It is placed just on the right orbital plane from the Sun for the life to exist and we have to thank our lucky stars that it happened this way.