10 Interesting Facts about Planet Earth You Need to Know
By dating the rocks in the Earth’s crust, as well as studying rocks from the moon and visiting meteorites, scientists have calculated that Earth is 4.54 billion years old, with an error range of 50 million years.
2. 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water
Oceans make up most of this water, connected as one continuous body holding around 96.5 percent of it. Only about 2 percent of the planet’s water is fresh, with 1.9 percent of the planet’s water locked up in the polar ice caps and glaciers or underground in aquifers and wells. Only about 0.036 percent of the planet’s total water supply is found in lakes and rivers. The rest of the water on the planet is either floating in the air as clouds and water vapor, or locked up in plants and animals.
3. The highest point found on Earth is Mount Everest
Mount Everest is Earth’s highest mountain. It is located in the Mahalangur mountain range in Nepal and Tibet. Its peak is 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level.
4. The rotation of the Earth is gradually slowing down.
Due to a transfer of Earth’s rotational momentum to the Moon’s orbital momentum, tidal friction is slowing the Earth’s rotation. Scientists estimate that the earth is slowing at the rate of 2.2 seconds every 100,000 years. In 140 million years the length of a day will be increased to 25 hours.
Located between Asia, the Southern Ocean, Australia and the Americas, the Pacific Ocean covers approximately 59 million square miles (approximately 28% of the global surface) and contains more than half of the Earth’s open water supply. The Pacific is the oldest of the existing ocean basins and by far the largest. All of the world’s continents could fit into the Pacific basin.
6. Gravity changes across the surface of the Earth
Gravity changes across the surface of the Earth. At the poles you weigh 0.5 percent more than at the equator. This gravity disparity is largely due to that equatorial bulge creating non-uniform distances from points on the planet’s surface to center of the Earth, and to the fact that the Earth spins.
7. Earth’s current continents were originally a single supercontinent
A supercontinent called Pangaea existed about 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, Antartica, and India. India later broke away and moved north to join Asia. Pangea broke up starting along the line that would become the mid-Atlantic ridge when the existing fracture at the southern end of South America/Africa widened and opened the rift like a zipper. As these new continents moved apart, they pushed and folded up the Earth’s crust and created great mountain ranges.
The Earth’s moon is important and vital to us in many ways. One such example is that it stabilizes Earth’s tilt. Without the moon, Earth would have wild changes in climate and be uninhabitable. The stabilizing tug of the moon tempers Earth, resulting in the minor tip that causes summer and winter seasons.
9. The Earth never stops moving
The Earth has three motions; it spins, it travels around the sun, and it moves through the Milky Way. We use the spinning and traveling to measure our days and years. The earth spins around it’s axis and makes it seem that the sun is moving from east to west. One day (23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.091) is the time it takes for one spin. The earth also travels around the sun. It takes 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.54 seconds for a full rotation and this is called a year. The earth travels 595 million miles around the sun at a speed of 66,600 miles per hour. The path the earth takes to move around the sun is called an orbit. The Milky Way also spins. It revolves around the center of the Galaxy at 155 miles per second.
10. The Earth isn’t a perfect sphere
Since the Earth spins, it’s flattened at the poles. The diameter through the poles is 12,713.6 kilometers (7882.4 miles), but it’s 12,756.2 kilometers (7908.8 miles) through the equator. That difference of 43 kilometers is only about 0.3 percent, so we’re pretty close to a perfect sphere.