10 things you never knew about Earth

By | April 6, 2017

10 amazing things you didn’t know about the Earth
10. Secret ocean

Scientists have discovered a very vast reservoir of water located 660 kilometers beneath the Earth’s surface.The underground ocean is hidden inside a blue rock known as ringwoodite, that acts like a sponge, trapping hydrogen and water.There is enough water beneath the Earth’s surface to fill the Earth s oceans three times over.Scientist Steve Jacobsen suggested  that the Earth’s surface oceans were primarily formed when trapped water was driven to the surface by geological activity. This contradicts the widely accepted theory that the  icy comets deposited water onto  the  Earth .(Sources: The Guardian, New Scientist)

9. Uneven gravity

Many people assume that gravity is distributed evenly on Earth, but there are certain places, such as Hudson Bay in Canada, which actually experiences less gravity than other regions of the globe. In Hudson Bay this occurs because there is only a small amount of land mass,due to retreating glaciers on the surface and swirling magma in the Earth’s core. A satellite named the ‘Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer’ was sent into the space in 2009 to create a map of the planet’s gravitational field.It mapped Earth’s gravity with extraordinary accuracy and is used by geophysicists to measure ocean circulation, the sea-level change, and the ice dynamics. (Sources: Live Science, New Scientist, Space Daily)

8. Longer Earth days
Around 620 million years ago, there were only 21.9 hours in a day.Ocean tides generated by the Moon and Sun’s gravity have added 1.7 milliseconds to the length of a day each century, because they alter the planet rotational momentum.The length of the day can also be affected by some natural events such as the earthquake in Japan in 2011, which actually had shortened the length of each Earth day.The quake changed the distribution of the Earth’s mass causing it to rotate slightly faster, decreasing our day by about 1.8 microseconds. (Sources: Scientific American, NASA)
7. Pangaea

Pangaea was a super continent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic era about300 million years ago.It was formed by the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates, it began to break apart about 175 million years ago.At this time most of the dry lands on the planet Earth was joined in one vast land mass that covered nearly one third of the planet’s surface.The Geologists believe that as a result of the tectonic plate movements, in 250 million years the Earth’s continents will be merged again into one giant land mass, form ‘Pangaea Ultima.’Currently each year Hawaii, which sits on the Pacific Plate, moves nearly three inches closer to Alaska. (Sources: Universe Today, BBC, The Blaze)

6. Hot in here
Over the next 1.1 billion years, scientists predict that the Sun will get progressively brighter and hotter by about 10% compared to now. In 4 billion years, our oceans will evaporate and result in a runaway greenhouse effect that will hike the  temperatures lifted above 750 degrees Fahrenheit, making the life on our  Earth impossible.In 7.5 billion years, Earth will become a vast desert similar to Mars  and the hot Sun would expand into a red planet . At this point, scientists predicted that the Sun will immerse Earth altogether, meaning the definite end of our planet.( Sources: Howitworksdaily, BBC)

5. Earth was purple
There is an astrobiological hypothesis or assumption that suggests that Earth used to be purple in color. Scientists believe that before plants as we know them became dominant, ancient microbes might have used a molecule other than chlorophyll to tackle the Sun’s rays.The molecule, known as  retinal, gave Earth’s organisms a violet hue. According to Shil DasSarma, a microbial geneticist from the University of Maryland, chlorophyll gradually replaced retinal as  it is more efficient in absorbing light, and thus the  purple became green. (Sources: Astrobio, livescience, Dawn)

4. How did life on Earth begin?
There are around 8.7 million different species on Earth, but scientists are still not completely sure about how life on Earth began. Most scientists believe that living things developed from molecules that were capable to replicate themself, rather like the DNA does.These molecules either came from somewhere further out in space, or they were produced by the conditions on Earth at the time.A new study suggests the latter and argues that the building blocks of life, such as the compounds that would be necessary to create DNA, existed on Earth prior to the creation of the first life forms.( Sources: BBC, Live Science, Time, Phys.org)

3. Earth is a bumpy globe

Despite countless number of  photos of Earth stated as a perfect sphere, Planet Earth is an actually imperfect bumpy globe. This is because the force of Earth’s rapid rotation on its axis which causes it to push outwards at the equator, making it look like a compressed ball . Due to the fact that  Earth has an uneven shape, Mount Everest is actually not  the tallest mountain. If measured from sea level, Everest would top the list, but measuring it  from the center of the Earth, Mount Chimborazo tops the list. (sources: Scientific American, Independent)

2. Underwater mountain range
The longest mountain range on Earth is actually 90% underwater. It is called the mid-ocean ridge system and was formed by the movement of plate tectonics.Surveyed in detail in the 1950s, it stretches for about  80,000 kilometers all around the world and  nearly 20 times longer than the longest range on the surface i.e the Andes Mountains. Furthermore, it consists of thousands of individual volcanoes that sporadically erupt. Around 20 volcanic eruptions occur each year and this causes the formation of 2.5 kilometers of new sea floor. (Sources: BBC, Ocean Service)

1. Geomagnetic Reversal

The  magnetic field of Earth is becoming less stable. Researchers and scientists believe that the planet’s inner core is slowly growing, as the outer core cools and solidifies, resulting in more frequent flips of Earth’s magnetic field. In other words, if the polarity of the today’s magnetic field were reversed, the North and the South points on all compasses would be somewhat 180 degrees wrong. Using the fossil records from  hundreds of the past magnetic polarity reversals, scientists have depicted that the reversal of the magnetic poles must not have a dramatic effect on human life. However, some animals or birds, such as pigeons and whales, use the Earth’s magnetic field for the sensing of direction. So, in case a reversal occurs in their lifetime, they might have to develop different methods of navigation. (Sources: NASA, geomag, BBC)

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