Planet Earth is the only place in the galaxy known to carry life. It is due to its prime location in the galaxy, just far enough from the sun with a protective layer to shield us from harmful ultraviolet rays and just close enough to keep us warm and provide the energy we need to thrive. I gathered a bunch of facts from around the internet, from credible sources such as National Geographic, to share with you on Earth Day. Enjoy and leave a comment below with you favorite fact about Earth!
Earth formed 4.54 billion years ago.
The oceans cover some 70 percent of Earth's surface, yet humans have only explored about 5 percent, meaning 95 percent of the planet's vast seas have never been seen.
There are about 6,000 lightning flashes around the Earth every minute.
There are approximately 8.7 million species on Earth, yet scientists believe up to 80% of species are still undiscovered.
There are about 391,000 species of vascular plants currently known to science, of which 94% are flowering plants.
90% of Earth’s atmosphere lies within just 10 miles of the planet’s surface. This atmosphere not only nourishes life on Earth, it protects it.
As the climate changes, glaciers are retreating and contributing to rising sea levels. It turns out that the Canadian Arctic is contributing 10% of all the meltwater in the world, which lost a volume equivalent to 75 percent of Lake Erie between 2004 and 2009.
The Earth is approximately 93 million miles from the sun. At this distance, it takes about 8 minutes and 19 seconds for sunlight to reach our planet.
The Earth's continents are thought to have collided to become supercontinents and broken apart again several times in Earth's 4.5 billion year history. The most recent supercontinent was Pangaea, which began to break apart about 200 million years ago; the landmasses that comprised Pangaea eventually wandered into the current configuration of continents.
Coastlines cover about 20 percent of U.S. land area (not including Alaska), and are home to more than 50 percent of the U.S. population, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Earth has a powerful magnetic field. This phenomenon is caused by the nickel-iron core of the planet, coupled with its rapid rotation. This field protects the Earth from the effects of solar wind. Sometimes the high energy particles from the cosmos enter into our atmosphere, yielding aurorae, the natural phenomenon known as the northern lights.
The Earth differs from all the other planets because it has such a wide diversity of life and intelligent beings. This has only been possible because of the Earth’s atmosphere which has protected the Earth and allowed life to flourish.
Earth is the only place in the solar system where water can be present in all the three states – solid, liquid and gas.
Earth’s crust and upper mantle are divided into massive plates that grind against each other in slow motion. As these plates collide, tear apart, or slide past each other, they give rise to our very active geology. Earthquakes rumble as these plates snag and slip past each other. Many volcanoes form as a seafloor crust smashes into and slides beneath continental crust. When plates of continental crust collide, mountain ranges such as the Himalaya are pushed toward the sky.
Despite the fact that the earth is made up of more than 70% of water, water accounts for less than 1% of Earth’s mass.
Since record keeping for temperature began in 1880, 2016 was recorded as the hottest year ever. The temperature recorded in 2016 was 1.69 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average.
The Sun is 400 times larger than the Moon. However, it’s 400 times farther away from Earth, making them appear the same size in the sky. That’s how and why total solar eclipses occur when an observer (on Earth) passes through the shadow cast by the Moon which fully blocks (“occults”) the Sun.
Since the launch of Sputnik 1 (4 October 1957), 38,000 artificial satellites have orbited the Earth. Still more than 22,000 man-made objects (10 cm/3.94 in or longer) up there. Only 5% of them are functioning satellites. 8% of them have spent rockets while the remaining 87% are fragments and inactive satellites (which is actually a big problem). NASA estimates everyday average 1 object is returning (falling) to Earth.
The Pacific Ocean is the largest body of water and contains around 25,000 different islands.
Earth’s core is as hot as the surface of the Sun. The temperature of Earth’s core is estimated to be about 10,800 degree fahrenheit (or 6,000 degrees celsius). That’s as hot as the surface of the sun.
The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia is the largest living structure on Earth. Stretching for 1,429 miles over an area of approximately 133,000 square miles, it is the largest coral reef system in the world.
But a coral reef is not a single living thing – they are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. A specific honey fungus measuring 2.4 miles (3.8 km) across in the Blue Mountains in Oregon is thought to be the largest living organism on Earth.
Until recently, our planet was thought to be inhabited by nearly 10 million species. When microorganisms are taken into account, recent studies suggest that Earth might be home to a staggering 1 trillion species. This number is way greater than the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy (100-400 billion).
More than 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest only. That’s why it’s called the lungs of the Earth. There is also a huge underground river 4,000 meters (13,000 fett) below the Amazon.
We’re in the middle of the 6th major extinction event. It’s named the Holocene extinction event and it started around 10,000 B.C. Two thirds of the worlds wildlife will be extinct by 2020 and the cause is, you guessed it, humans.
Did you enjoy this blog? Share it with your friends or leave a comment below. What are some of your favorite Earth facts? Happy Earth Day my fellow nature lovers!