November 28, 2011

Alex Brunkhorst

Ten Amazing Facts About Earth

  1. Earth is the only planet in the Solar System not to be named after a mythical God.

  2. Earth is almost five billion years old, although life (resembling life as we know it) has only existed on the planet for the last 150 million to 200 million years. This means that life has been present on Earth for only 5%-10% of its lifetime.

  3. Earth began as sticky dust which clumped, like snowflakes, into a planetesimal, or a body that is about a half mile in diameter. Earth is made up of hydrogen gas, stardust, and gravity. The gas and dust floating in space were drawn together by gravity and they formed into a spinning disc. As this disc collided with and absorbed rock bodies, the Earth formed. Astronomers believe the formation of Earth was relatively quick.

  4. Earth was originally born as a twin to the planet Theia, which was about half as wide as Earth and roughly the size of Mars. The two planets shared an orbit for several million years until they collided. Earth absorbed Theia, and the remaining debris eventually coagulated into Earth’s moon. The mass donated by Theia gave Earth the gravity necessary to sustain a substantial atmosphere.

  5. The theory of Pangaea states that all of Earth’s current continents were originally a single supercontinent that existed some 200 million years ago during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. The northern part of the supercontinent, North America and Eurasia, was called Laurasia—and Gondwana, the southern part, was made up of Australia, South America, Africa, Antarctica, and India. India later broke away and moved north to join Asia. Pangaea was not the beginning position of the land on Earth.

  6. Under the oceans are the Earth’s largest mountain ranges that circle the planet like the stitching on a baseball. And speaking of baseballs, the Earth isn’t round at all. It’s pear-shaped. The top is pushed in and the bottom bulges out.

  7. Our planet is located in the perfect place for our need for water. If it was any closer or farther away from the Sun, all our water would either boil away or freeze.

  8. Gravity is not the same over the surface of the Earth. It turns out that in some places you will feel slightly heavier than others. A low spot can be seen just off the coast of India, while a relative high occurs in the South Pacific Ocean. The cause of these irregularities is unknown since present surface features do not appear dominant. NASA's GRACE twin satellites, launched in March 2002, are making detailed measurements of Earth's gravitational field.

  9. The beginning of the Industrial Revolution marked the beginning of humanity's affecting Earth’s environment by producing enough carbon dioxide to affect the atmosphere's global balance and chemical composition.

  10. Earth travels through space at 66,700 miles per hour. Earth is gradually slowing down. Every few years an extra second is added to make up for lost time. Millions of years ago a day on Earth will have been 20 hours long. It is believed that in millions of years time a day on Earth will be 27 hours long.



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