16. The Earth’s Rotation Has Slown Down, Eliminating Some Possible Age
We now know that the Earth’s rotation has been slowing down but it’s certainly not by much. In fact, we as humans could not tell at all really. It is simply impossible for us to do so. The question is, why? Apparently, it has a lot to do with the tides interacting with continents and their shores. It somehow creates friction and has been changing up the speed of our rotation.
As an added benefit to the Earth, she has not aged the amount she would have if the Earth remained at the speed it used to be at. In total, the Earth has seen 2,740 years and 6 hours eliminated from our gradually slowing rotation. This factors out to about 1.78 milliseconds per day each century. Talk about mind-blowing facts about the Earth! Phew!
15. The Earth Sees 6,000 Flashes Of Lightning & 8.6 Million Lightning Strikes A Day
When it’s raining outside and you hear thunder, you know it is often accompanied by lightning somewhere near. Even if it’s not close to you, it’s like you can still feel it. Interestingly, during a thunderstorm, friction between rising and falling air happens to create an electrical charge. This is the reason for the flashes of lightning.
Scientists have been able to measure out that we see around 6,000 flashes of lightning around the world every minute of the day. Each bolt is accompanied by 54,000-degree air, which is hotter than the sun. The strikes happen in less than half a second too. On top of this, we see a total of 8.6 million lightning strikes per day!
While the Earth has been both severely hot and severely cold, humans have not been around when the world was in these developmental periods. We also were not alive during the mass extinctions, at least in the form we’re in today. However, we have been around and put through some absolutely insane conditions.
13. 3 People Have Visited The Deepest Part Of Earth Compared To 3,000 Who Have Visited The Highest
It makes sense to assume that visiting either the highest or lowest part of our planet is not something most of us truly want to do. However, you’d be surprised to learn that thousands of people have managed to reach the top of our world. The tallest sits at the peak of Mount Everest. It has played host to about 3,100 climbers thus far. However, 220 died so far in the attempt.
Meanwhile, the lowest portion of the Earth is located in the Mariana Trench and is known as the Challenger Deep. It extends 36,000 feet below the surface of the Ocean. However, only 3 people have managed to get here with well-known movie director/writer James Cameron being one of those three.
12. A Single Glacier Is Responsible For Contributing 10% Of All Earth’s Meltwater
As it currently stands, the world’s fresh water is contained in a slew of places with glaciers being the most common. Ice caps and glaciers melt due to climate change, which results in sea levels rising. The biggest is known as the Canadian Arctic Glacier and is technically the size of New York City. This is the glacier that contributes the most meltwater annually.
From 2004 to 2009, studies by scientists were able to discover that the water this one glacier lost was equal to nearly 75% of the water volume of Lake Erie. Understand that for just a second. One glacier contributed enough to fill an entire great lake. It is mind-blowing facts about the Earth like this that should make people want to battle climate change more.
We all know that Earthquakes can be destructive and break the very foundation of Earth beneath us. However, they can also technically make you rich too. This sounds confusing, but we’ll explain ourselves here. Several elements are inside the Earth, rare elements combined with commonly seen ones. One of these happens to be gold.
It is usually located about six miles below the Earth’s surface. When earthquakes happen, water inside faults will vaporize and mix with silica to form gold. However, you should not try to just cause an earthquake as a get-rich-quick scheme. This process takes 100,000 years to create gold worth mining for you. Thus, it’s quite a long game to play it appears.
When you start to think about the Earth, truly think about it, you’ll find that we as human beings lucked out a lot. Start to compare us with the overall universe, however, and you’ll realize just how small we truly are. However, in a somewhat fun cosmic win, we now know that the Earth has more trees than there are stars in the overall Milky Way Galaxy.
This is where our winning ends, sadly. Outside of our galaxy, several more stars exist. There are so many that you could count up every possible grain of sand on Earth. Even though this would likely be impossible. Pretending you did, you’d still be seeing a number dwarfed by the number of stars in the overall universe.
9. The Great Barrier Reef Is The Largest Living Structure On Earth, For Now
While it is sad to say that various coral reefs have changed over time, with many even dying from multiple issues, nothing beats the Great Barrier Reef. When you talk about things you can see from space, this very Reef is one of those things. It is absolutely breathtaking in person but the images of it are amazing too.
Located right off the coast of Queensland, Australia, this Reef measures around 1,429 miles long. To equate this size, it is the same as the state of Texas or the country of Japan fully put together. The wildlife here is absolutely amazing as the Great Barrier Reef hosts 1,625 types of fish, 100 species of jellyfish, and 600 types of both soft and hard corals. All of this is inside a Reef composed of almost 3,000 smaller reefs.
Don’t assume we’re somehow in support of the infamous Flat-Earth Theory. At Science Sensei, we base our views on the current evidence and it has been known for a long time that the world isn’t flat. However, it might be more recent that we’ve found that it also isn’t perfectly round either. Currently, the Earth is spinning at about 1,000 MPH which gives the planet a somewhat “oblate spheroid shape,” if you will.
This is not a perfect sphere because of a clear bulge around the Equator. It looks perfectly round from space in the images. However, when the distance from the sea level to the Earth’s core at the Equator was measured, it was found to be 13 miles greater than at the Earth’s poles. In layman’s terms, Earth’s belly is sticking out like your uncle’s on Thanksgiving.
7. Antarctica Contains 90% Of The World’s Ice And 70% Of Its Water
We all know Antarctica is unbearably cold and obviously known as the continent of ice. To no one’s shock, this continent is home to 90% of the world’s overall ice. This is a massive thing to consider in that just one place contains so much. Due to this, it should also not be a shock that the continent also contains 70% of the world’s water too.
The ice measures out to 15,748 thick in certain places. On top of this, if the entire place were to melt somehow, the world’s oceans would end up rising around 187 feet. We’d truly be a blue planet then. Funny enough, this place is also the home to Drys Valleys, where it has not rained in 2 million years. Talk about some mind-blowing facts about the Earth!
Most of the time, when you think about mind-blowing facts about the Earth, you don’t really consider the magnetic field that the planet has. However, this very field is a major reason we’re still alive today. It helps us keep a lot of things away from the Earth itself and works as shielding of sorts to protect us.
One of the biggest things it does is protect us from solar storms or solar winds. If you were in space at the time of one, you’d likely be dead or end up dying from radiation poisoning eventually. We’re helped in that our magnetic field reflects this and keeps us safe from them. It aids us much more than this, but we’d need an entire article on the magnetic field to tell you about it all.
5. We’ve Only Explored 5% Of Our Oceans And Its Contents
It has long been said that we know more about outer space than about our own oceans. This is not entirely inaccurate if we’re being fair. We do know a lot about space but it would be hard to say we know more than 1% of it due to the vastness of it all. Yet our time on Earth with the oceans has not faired much better. We only know 5% max about our world’s oceans.
This involves not knowing about things like land and contents under the sea as well as multiple sea creatures. On top of this, it’s actually hard to map for us. While we can create maps of up to three miles in resolution, we can’t go further due to radio waves that interfere with documenting things via scan. This means we have a better map of Mars & the Moon than our own oceans.
We all know now that, according to the Big Bang Theory, the universe was formed through everything shaping itself over billions of years. During this, we saw planets colliding, which also included moons. During one of these encounters with our own moon, we were given a few gifts. First, it gave us a little bit more mass as we took a part of the moon with us.
Yet we also took some of its magnetism to add to our own magnetic field. This is a major reason the Earth’s magnetic field is so impressive. It’s not entirely shocking to see gifts through colliding, as asteroids gave us part of our water too Science has found that we may have once had two moons too. The two collided and now we see what we see today. Could our Moon also have an actual atmosphere if not for us and other collisions? Perhaps.
Looking at how lucky we became, it is not a wonder why some alien species may not consider us worth visiting. They may assume we did not have to do much at all to live. To be honest, they would not be that far off. The Earth, as well as everything that happened to it, gave us this amazing planet that eventually became possible for human life. The biggest of all of this is our atmosphere.
It is so thick that outer space and its nothingness cannot randomly take away our precious oxygen resource or cool the Earth to a ball of ice. Mars and the Moon apparently at one point did have a true atmosphere before collisions with the Earth. We took a little from everyone to eventually form a planet that can sustain life, with an atmosphere type found nowhere else in our solar system.
Growing up in school, we were always taught about our major continents. This involved North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, Antarctica, and Europe. However, we were not taught correctly. You should not get mad at your Elementary/Grade school teachers or science teachers from high school. To be fair to them, they didn’t know this either.
For some time, the 7 continent theory held perfect ground. That was until the discovery of an eighth that science is trying to officially recognize as a Continent. Known as Zealandia, most of the continent happens to be submerged in the ocean. However, a tiny part of it managed to survive the ages to become the New Zealand we know today. We feel Zealandia should certainly be recognized as the eighth continent on Earth, despite its underwater status.
1. There Have Been 5 Mass Extinctions And Somehow We’re Still Here
Mind-blowing facts about the Earth like this make you truly consider if you’re worthy of such an honor. However, it is completely true that the Earth has suffered a mass extinction 5 times now. While there have been several extinction-level events beyond this, the major 5 are our big focus, of course. The first happened 440 million years ago called the End Ordovician where 85% of species were killed.
The next up is the Late Devonian (365 million years ago, 75% of species lost), End Permian (253 million years ago, 96% marine life; 70% terrestrial life species lost), End Triassic (201 million years ago, 80% of species lost), and the End Cretaceous (66 million years ago, 75% of species lost). As weird as it might be, if not for these extinctions and the world-changing events that came with it, we would not be here today. Consider yourself lucky, human.