Interesting Facts About Earth are a reminder of just how incredible and complex our planet is. From the vastness of the oceans to the highest peaks of mountains, the Earth is full of wonders waiting to be explored. Did you know that the Earth is the only planet in our solar system to have liquid water on its surface? This allows life to thrive and evolve in ways that are truly amazing.
The Earth’s magnetic field also protects us from the harmful effects of solar wind and cosmic radiation. Additionally, the Earth’s rotation is slowing down due to tidal forces, causing the length of a day to increase over time. These are just a few of the many Interesting Facts About Earth that make it a fascinating and endlessly intriguing place to study and explore.
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Interesting Facts About Earth
The Earth is not flat, but neither is it totally round
The first interesting fact about Earth has never been fully spherical. Because of its rotation, Earth has an extra 0.3 per cent of a bulge around its equator. The circumference of the Earth is 12,714 kilometres (7,900 miles) at the poles and 12,756 kilometres (7,900 miles) at the equator (7,926 miles). There is a disparity of almost one-thirtieth of Earth’s diameter, or 42.78 kilometres (26.58 miles).
This deviation is too small to be discerned in satellite images of Earth, therefore the globe appears spherical to the naked eye. The expanding waistline of Earth may be the result of glaciers melting, according to new research from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The length of the day is increasing
The second interesting fact about earth is that every day on Earth gets a little bit longer. There would have been about six hours in a day 4.6 billion years ago when the Earth was first forming. This grew to an average of 21.9 hours by 620 Ma. While today’s typical day lasts 24 hours, it adds around 1.7 milliseconds to that total per century. Why is that? Inducing tides, the moon is responsible for slowing Earth’s rotation.
When Earth rotates, the bulges of its oceans are pushed forward of the moon-Earth axis, creating a twisting force that causes the planet to spin more slowly. So, we’re gaining more time in the day, but not nearly enough to make a dent in your hectic routine
Several continents were not always present
The continents of Earth have been together and apart for many millions of years. Around 800 million years ago, the tectonic plates upon which the world’s continents are suspended converged, forming a supercontinent named Rodinia, with the area that is now North America at its core. The Appalachians in North America and the Ural Mountains in Russia and Kazakhstan are the results of plates from Rodinia colliding again between 250 and 500 million years ago.
Pangaea, a second supercontinent that formed around 250 million years ago, was encircled by a single, global ocean. The first signs of Pangaea’s disintegration occurred around 50 Ma. The continent eventually broke up into the separate continents we know today when it was divided into two huge land masses, Gondwanaland and Laurasia.
The force of gravity on Earth varies
The gravitational field on Earth would be uniform if the planet were a perfect sphere. But in reality, the surface of the planet is rough, and the pull of gravity is altered by water flow, ice drift, and the movement of the tectonic plates beneath the Earth’s crust. The term “gravity anomalies” is used to describe these deviations. Gravity is stronger in the Himalayas than it would be in a featureless, completely smooth world because of the mountain range.
On the other hand, negative gravity anomalies result from the presence of ocean trenches or dips in the land caused by glaciers millennia ago. Above us in orbit, NASA’s GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) mission is making a detailed picture of the planet’s gravitational field.
The moon is not Earth’s only companion
Two more entities orbiting somewhat close to Earth are sometimes called moons despite not properly fitting the definition. Asteroid 3753 Cruithne was discovered in 1986 and is one of the asteroids that orbit the sun. Cruithne appears to be following Earth’s orbit around the sun because it also takes roughly the same length of time to complete one revolution.
The view of its orbit from Earth reveals that it has the shape of a bean. Besides revolving around the sun once a year, asteroid 2002 AA29 takes a more esoteric horseshoe-shaped course that brings it within 5.9 million kilometres (3.7 million miles) of Earth once every 95 years. In light of its proximity to Earth, scientists have proposed retrieving samples from AA29 for analysis here on planet Earth.
About 4.54 0.5 billion years have passed since Earth was formed. For radiometric dating purposes, scientists have combed the planet in quest of the oldest rocks they can find. Rocks with an estimated age of 4.03 billion years were found in northwest Canada. Then, minerals dating back some 4.3 billion years were found in Australia. Due to the rock cycle, geologists are aware that rocks are constantly recycled, thus they looked elsewhere for information.
Scientists investigated meteorites that crashed to Earth as well as moon rocks recovered during the Apollo missions because they believe the bodies in the solar system may have formed at similar eras. The age of both of these substances was calculated to be between 4.44 and 4.51 billion years.
Earth rotates at around 1000 miles an hour
Examine Earth’s surface movement relative to its centre. The sidereal period of the earth is 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.09053 seconds. Its circumference is 40,075 kilometres. Consequently, the equator moves at 460 metres per second or 1,000 miles per hour.
We learn in school that the Earth orbits the sun in a nearly round path. It travels at roughly 30 km/s or 67,000 mph. Our solar system, including Earth, orbits our galaxy at 220 km/s, or 490,000 mph. Speeds get enormous as size scales increase!
Our nearby galaxies are likewise moving at approximately 1,000 kilometres per second towards the Great Attractor, a structure 150 million light-years (about six trillion miles) away. The Big Attractor, with a mass 100 quadrillion times greater than our sun and a span of 500 million light-years, is formed of visible and dark matter.
All motions were related to a structure. Our local collection of galaxies moved towards the Great Attractor, while we moved around our sun. Is there a frame of reference that defines all motions? COBE may have answered.
To study the long-diluted radiation echo of the start of our cosmos, the COBE satellite was launched in 1989. The cosmic microwave background radiation comes from the primordial fireball that was our early cosmos (CBR). The CBR covers all space. The universe is “glowing with heat.”
COBE found that the earth was moving relative to this CBR with a well-defined speed and direction. The CBR permeates all space, therefore we can finally answer the original question with it.
The earth is moving 390 km/s relative to the CBR. We can also specify CBR direction. Finding Leo in the night sky is more enjoyable (the Lion). Earth is speeding towards Leo at 390 km/s. We’ll never hit anything!
Earth’s atmosphere is made of gases
Even though it’s all around us, we can’t see the air. So, just what is it that makes up the air? It is composed of a number of distinct gases. There is approximately 78 per cent nitrogen and 21 per cent oxygen in the air that makes up the atmosphere surrounding the Planet. A trace amount of many other gases, including carbon dioxide, neon, and hydrogen, can also be found in the atmosphere.
In the past, Earth had a radically different appearance
The current appearance of Earth was not always present throughout the 4.6 million years that it has been in existence.
When it was formed, the Earth was a blisteringly hot place that was brimming with liquid magma. After a few hundred million years, the temperature of the planet began to drop, and as a result, oceans of liquid water began to form.
Pangaea was the name given to the supercontinent that was formed when all of the continents merged together about 250 million years ago. After millions of years, these began to break apart and eventually became the continents that we know today.
Clouds Help Regulate Earth’s Temperature
A liquid sheet little thicker than a human hair would blanket Earth if all water droplets in clouds were brought to the surface, as explained by Caltech’s Schneider to Popular Mechanics. Yet, even this seemingly insignificant amount of moisture can change the temperature of a summer day from cool cloudy to warm clear. Also, climate-wise, it has the utmost significance. A global average drop of 13 degrees Fahrenheit can be attributed to cloud cover.
Schneider adds that the amount of global warming we experience is highly dependent on whether or not cloud cover decreases as the temperature heats. Since it is challenging to accurately simulate clouds and the minute amount of water contained within them, climate models disagree on the solution. At Caltech, we’re aiming to improve climate models and cloud simulations with AI to better predict future climate change.
In conclusion, exploring the interesting facts about Earth is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience. From the incredible diversity of life forms to the mind-boggling geological wonders, Earth truly holds a wealth of wonders for us to discover and appreciate.
Finally, it’s important to remember that while the Earth is a magnificent planet, it is also fragile and vulnerable. We must take care of our environment and protect it for future generations. By doing so, we can ensure that the Earth remains a vibrant and thriving planet for many years to come.