38. Earth Is The Only Planet In Our Solar System With Plate Tectonics
One of the most forgotten parts about the Earth is how perfect it is for human life or, well, a life of any kind. If you wanted to thank your lucky stars for this, it might be better to thank the plate tectonics beneath you. Earth is the only planet in our solar system that has them. For those unaware, any planet that does not have them cannot recycle carbon correctly.
These plates consume the carbon for us and then send it out to the Earth to properly make everything work. Without them, this does not occur and planets simply overheat as a result. Venus is a perfect example of what happens when planets overheat. If the Earth was like Venus, human life could never exist here. Mind-blowing facts about the Earth like this make us feel lucky to be alive.
37. The Sun Is Pretty Massive And The Earth Is Nothing In Comparison
For centuries, people thought that the Earth was the center of the universe. It turns out, the sun is a pretty important part of our lives each day and it’s the technical center. Planets rotate around it and we luckily have managed to live today as a result of the sun’s heat. The sun is actually a star and on top of this, it happens to be one of the smallest stars we know of today.
Yet the sun is absolutely massive. The Earth happens to measure out at 3,958.8 miles in size. Meanwhile, the Sun measures out at 432,170 miles. Scientists say to understand this, think of the typical front door at your home. The Sun is the door while the Earth is a nickel sitting outside the door. That is the size difference!
36. 75% Of Earth’s Animal Species Could Be Instinct In A Few Hundred Years
With changing climate and evolutionary issues, animals have gone extinct for several reasons over the years. Sometimes, poaching did them in or simply an animal was hunted for food by humans until there were no more. Then you have some animals that were very dumb and died off for several ignorant reasons.
Whatever the reason for extinction, several animals are already gone. However, more are set to go too. It is said that with the pattern the Earth is going today, up to 75% of the world’s known animal species will be gone in the next 300 years. This is likely due to all the aforementioned reasons above. However, there are some animals we do know of yet that very well could survive. On top of this, some animals could very well evolve into another type of animal by that point too.
While the Earth mostly looks blue from space, it also has some brown and green in it too. However, did you know this was not always the case? In fact, the Earth at one point did not even look blue at all. According to some recent research into ancient microbes, the Earth was actually once Purple.
These microbes obtained their energy from the sun using retinal rather than chlorophyll. Our green plants did something interesting in return. The retinal absorbed green light from the sun and then reflected back violet and red light, which gave the Earth a purple tint. Thus, aliens millions of lightyears away from us may be seeing a Purple Earth, not a Blue one. Mind-blowing facts about the Earth like this should not be overlooked.
34. The Sahara Helps The Amazon Rainforest Every Day
In one of the weirdest parts about our Earth, we somehow have it helping itself from two places thousands of miles apart from one another. The Sahara Desert, known for being a dry and hot place where people beg for water happens to be the very reason the Amazon Rainforest can still operate the way it does to this day.
The way the Sahara does this is by supplying nutrient-rich dust. In fact, each year the Sahara provides 40 million tons of this dust to the Amazon. It is transported there across the ocean via the wind. It ends up in the Amazon where it helps the Amazon continue to grow. Without this dust, we would not have the Amazon. Without the Amazon Rainforest, we would not have the world’s largest supplier of oxygen. This is one of our favorite mind-blowing facts about the Earth, personally.
33. The Temp At The Earth’s Core Is Almost As Hot As The Surface Of The Sun
We’ve already mentioned key connections the Sun has to the Earth, in particular, the size differences. The surface of our Sun is incredibly hot and helps to make Venus and Mercury hundreds to thousands of degrees. Yet the Earth can get incredibly hot the closure you get to its core. The center of the Earth reaches the temperature of 5,500 degrees Celcius, which is 9,900 degrees Fahrenheit.
The surface of the sun measures out to 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit or 5,600 degrees Celcius. This is only 100 degrees difference. Of course, the Sun reaches much higher than this the further in you go. Such as 27,000 degrees Fahrenheit at the center. Thus, we’re lucky that the whole “dig to the center” thing did not happen.
32. 90% Of All Volcanic Activity Happens In The Ocean
While there are several volcanoes all around the world, most of them are not active. However, there are several that are still going off to this day. Yet most of those volcanoes are actually in the Earth’s oceans. That’s right, most of the world’s active volcanoes go off underwater and you rarely, if ever, hear about it.
Some could be erupting this very second! Most of them do not cause any earthquake issues or problems in the ocean, so it is rare that you’ll see an underwater volcano eruption make the morning news. However, they do create new formations due to the water helping to cool the lava once it comes out. This is truly one of the coolest mind-blowing facts about the Earth around!
While it is true that most of the active volcanoes are underwater, there are several volcanoes that are active all over the world today. At last count, the number was a little over 1,500 active. Some go off all the time while others may do so every few months, few years, etc. The big ones, known as supervolcanoes, are the ones scientists truly worry about.
They actually have the power to shape the Earth and cause various problems. Some could flood the world with ash and send us into a new Ice Age. 6 of these supervolcanoes are currently “sleeping.” However, scientists monitor these regularly to see if a change is coming. Mind-blowing facts about the Earth like this make us really want to pay attention to the volcanoes of the world!
30. Dinosaurs Could Never Exist Today And Humans Couldn’t Exist In Their Time
Millions of years ago when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth, something very special was happening on our amazing planet. We were actually getting an immense level of oxygen. The Earth’s atmosphere was not really affected by humans or even random fires. Therefore, the climate could contain far more oxygen. This special amount allowed reptiles and amphibians to go to larger sizes, as well as many birds.
Today, the oxygen is nowhere near what it was back then, thus keeping them much smaller. Humans, however, could not live among the dinosaurs at all. Our bodies struggle at oxygen levels at the 0.1 to 0.5 bar and up. Oxygen levels were much much higher during the Triassic, Jurassic, and Mesozoic periods. Humans in this level would experience massive lung damage and pressures like this could possibly make our heads explode.
29. Tons Of Meteorites Hit The Earth Every Single Day
You may assume when we say “tons” that it is being used in the conversation or colloquial sense. However, we’re actually using literal terms here. It is confirmed that meteorites come into the Earth’s atmosphere every single day. Sometimes we have government officials who take care of them before they reach us. Most of the time, however, the Earth handles this without human interaction.
We see around 100 tons of meteorites enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Out of these, most end up being dust by the time they make it here. Some small meteorites may make it through, yet they don’t tend to do much if any damage. Despite this, you may have heard of stories where people reported a small meteorite hit their home or car. It’s not really easy to control where the things land sadly.
28. Something The Chinese Made Can Be Seen From Space
When you mention that China has something of theirs that can be seen from space, most of us assume it’s their Great Wall. In all likelihood, it would make sense to assume this. An interesting fact here, while the Great Wall is quite large, it has been blown through or traveled over several times by invaders. It was also never actually finished.
They have had hundreds of years and the Chinese have yet to make it a complete wall. That said, the Chinese did have enough time to make their environment incredibly toxic. It’s a true fact that you can actually see China’s air pollution from space [see above pic and look at brownish/grey section]. However, you cannot see the wall and never could. That should say something about the pollution the nation needs to halt.
Due to all the things we put in space combined with the already problematic contents of space itself, NASA has managed to look into this. They were able to check all of the contents that either entered or re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and found that at least one piece of Space Junk comes down to Earth each and every day.
Of course, this is a law of averages. There very well could be zero on a certain day and two of them on the next day. However, the fact that we have to watch out daily for space junk is a bit weird. It’s one of those mind-blowing facts about the Earth that we should probably work to fix.
26. If You Could Buy The Earth’s Atmosphere, How Much Would It Be?
A person once asked the very important question we all wanted the answer to. How much does Earth’s atmosphere cost, if it were available for purchase? While this is not Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax where a man will buy and then sell air, it is an interesting question to bring up. The way science factored this was by using smaller numbers and then simply adding them up.
When looking to buy simply CO2 at the measure of 1.3p per cubic meter, the factor jumped quite far. Not only did you need to start small but then you had to factor this out for the ENTIRE atmosphere. It turns out, the total reaches $4,300,000,000,000,000. This is $4.3 Quadrillion. We’re pretty sure Jeff Bezos will be able to buy it one day, so we may need to up the cost eventually.
While we all know that the Earth is quite massive and contains a ton of water on it, do you know how much is considered saltwater vs freshwater? To help you out, every single Ocean falls under saltwater. This also involves several “seas” and partially even includes lakes & rivers.
Meanwhile, streams, as well as many lakes and rivers, fall under freshwater. Despite this, the salt vs fresh ratio is not even close. Currently, the Earth is made up of an impressive 97% saltwater versus 3% freshwater. Mind-blowing facts about the Earth like this show why it is so important for humans to take care of these freshwater places around the world.
It is quite clear that humans are the very reason why so many animals are gone today. Mass extinctions of major animals, as well as those that will one day die as a result of humans, are quite vast. However, the same occurs with plants too. While these things are caused by hunting, removing, or cutting down these living beings…it’s also due to clear climate change.
Due to all these acts by humans, it is estimated around 2 to 4 species of either animal or plant go extinct every single hour of the day. These animals or plants could be on land, in the sea, and may not even be some we actually know about. Mind-blowing facts about the Earth like this should be a wake-up call to man.
Humans are made of the stars, essentially. Neil deGrasse Tyson has a brilliant way of telling people about this. He is quoted in so eloquently saying:
“The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”
The Earth is always on the move, which causes some technically weird situations. As a result of the move, you can and likely will weigh a bit more at the poles of the Earth than you would weigh at the Equator. This is not just because at the Equator line you’ll be sweating off a lot of water weight either. This is one of the craziest, mind-blowing facts about the Earth we found.
Scientists have looked into this and believe they have the answer as to why weight and ultimately gravity differ in these spots on the Earth. It is said that convection currents from Earth’s mantle and/or the Earth reacting to the pressure of eliminating ice on its surface after it melts are the root cause of the gravity difference.
We may see massive mountains all over the world with Mount Everest being the believed tallest. However, it’s actually not the tallest but rather, more of it is on land. There are underwater mountains that are quite tall. When it comes to a mountain range, however, that is another story entirely. The largest was assumed to be the Andes in South America, which is 4,350 miles long.
However, the longest mountain range is much much bigger than this and runs 40,389 miles around the world. Yet again, it has to do with an underwater situation. We call it the Mid-Ocean Ridge, which was formed by magma that rose up to fill gaps that formed as the Earth’s plates shifted over the years. The mountains here have a depth of 8,200 feet below the water’s surface.
The Earth is moving quickly and we mean VERY quickly. Currently, we’re moving through space at around 66,000 miles per hour around our sun. While this could be seen as incredibly fast, it has nothing on the speed of our solar system. It’s actually moving at a rate of 560,000 miles per hour.
This begs the question if we’re moving so fast here on Earth and our solar system is also moving so quick…how do we never feel this? The Earth has moved like this for a long time and our bodies have gotten used to it. Yet this movement is key for the solar system. We’re in a constant state of motion, so we do not feel our solar system’s speed through the universe. Mind-blowing facts about the Earth like this may us feel lucky to be alive!
After centuries of study on the Earth, scientists have now been capable of finding out that the Earth spins a little over 1,000 miles per hour. However, the speed the Earth spins at may differ depending on where you’re located on the planet. For example, if you’re located on one of the poles then you’re basically rotating in place.
This is similar to spinning a basketball on your finger. Notice how your finger can remain in place and it’ll always keep to the area it first began spinning on. Since the Earth has a bulge around the Equator, the people here are spinning the fastest of everyone on the planet. It’s also common to see the mid-section of a ball moving the fastest too. Science, huh?
18. The North & South Poles Switch Places Every 200,000 To 300,000 Years
We all know about the North and South Poles, right? While both are cold places to be, the locations of the poles actually trade places more often than you might think. These magnetic poles move thanks to Earth’s magnetic fields pushing against each other. Scientists found that these poles will usually switch up every 200,000 to 300,000 years.
It’s actually been more than twice as long since the Earth’s most recent switch, however. The reason(s) for the trading not taking place are debatable but what this does mean is that a switch could cause some weird issues. Some believe it’ll be Doomsday. However, if nothing else, you’ll at least need to get another compass. Someone should also alert Santa!
17. The Earth Is Made Up Mostly Of Water, But How Much?
A lot of people wonder how, when looking at the Earth, we could possibly be made up of more water than land. In reality, we do have a lot of land on the planet. Even if it’s underwater at times, it’s still there. Thus, the world is completely made up of land too. The thing is, we tend to go with what takes over. If the land is underwater, the water now takes top billing essentially.
How much of Earth is water versus land, in this case? The answer is 71%. Seawater rising around the world has led to the 1% rise since we were kids. Eventually, the Earth may be more than 80% water! While not considered among the mind-blowing facts about the Earth, it is impressive to see how many humans can live in a world where we have less land compared to the fish to live on.
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.
The hottest day on record occurred in Death Valley and reached a temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913. However, the coldest day on record occurred in Antarctica where the temperature reached -135.8 degrees Fahrenheit in 2013. Both temps may never be beaten, at least, we hope they aren’t.
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 up 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 out at around 1,430 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 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 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 have 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 out 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 444 million years ago called the End Ordovician where 86% of species were killed.
The next up are the Late Devonian (375 million years ago, 75% of species lost), End Permian (251 million years ago, 96% of species lost), End Triassic (200 million years ago, 80% of species lost), and the End Cretaceous (66 million years ago, 76% 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.