Facts About the Earth

Earth is the only planet in the solar system that supports life and the third planet close to the sun. It is also the fifth massive planet in our solar system in terms of size.

Although we think we know enough about our planet, there are certain interesting facts about the earth, that we tend to disregard or not know as well. Let us dive into some of those.

Interesting Facts About the Earth

The name “Earth” belongs to the old English and Germanic meaning of the word, “the ground.” The age of the Earth is almost 4.5 billion years old.

Earth as a planet came to a realization in the 17th century. A group of ancient mathematicians, astronomers, and philosophers made the realization of a planet.

About its size, it has an equatorial radius of 6.371 km/ 3.958 mi and a polar radius of 6.356 km or 3.949 mi. Having this radius, the Earth is not a perfect sphere but has a bulged part at the equator due to rotation.

So here are 14 interesting facts about Earth that might leave you surprised.

1. Atmosphere 

The dominant gases present in the atmosphere of the Earth are nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and also water vapors.

The whole planet is composed of about 78% of nitrogen gas, 0.97% of argon, 21 % oxygen, 0.04% carbon dioxide, etc. All these mixtures of gas are known as “Air.” 

The atmosphere can be called a coat for our planet as it helps to keep it warm. It gives living beings oxygen to breathe and also gives seasonal and climatic effects in the form of weather change.

The atmosphere of the Earth has six layers named the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere, the ionosphere, and the exosphere.

2. The core The Earth has its outer and inner core

The outer core consists of crust whereas the inner core consists of Mantle, Outer Core, and Inner Core.

The crust is the outermost and thinnest layer. It is where we live. The mantle, however, has a mixture of semi-molten rocks and has a consistency of caramel.

The inner and outer core are tremendously hot and dense. The outer core is present at about 2900 KM and the inner core is at about 1220 KM. 

3. It has a Powerful Magnetic Field 

Its magnetic field is also known as a geomagnetic field that gets extended from the Earth’s outer surface to space and interacts with the solar wind.

The solar wind is also known as a stream of charged particles appearing from the sun.

The magnetic field acts as a protection for the planet from solar winds. It is due to the nickel-iron core of the Earth, which combines with the rotation. 

4. Earth Has an Ozone Layer 

The ozone layer, which is present in the Earth’s stratosphere layer, acts as a shield from highly intense UV rays.

It absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun coming directly to the Earth. It contains less than 100 parts per million of ozone.

Similarly, on average, the ozone present in the Earth’s atmosphere as a whole is about 0.3 parts per million.

5. The Rotation is Gradually Slowing Down

Compared to the past spins made by the planet, it is decelerating in a deliberate motion. It is approximately 17 milliseconds per hundred years.

From this research, we can say that the gradual rotations will lengthen our days. However, it will take about 14 million years for that to happen which won’t be a problem. 

6. 70% of its Surface is Full of Water

Because of the water consistency, our planet has acquired the name “Blue Planet.” There is no surprise about it because 70% of the exterior is covered with water.

The remaining 30% are solid crust particles. Those solid crusts have their location above sea level, known as “continental crust.” Also, the surface is full of rigid plates that move with each other which are known as tectonic plates.

When these plates collide with each other, a force will develop, causing ocean trenches, mountain ranges, and volcanic islands.

7. Its Gravity

The standard gravity of the planet is 9.807 m/s². The Earth has a single natural satellite that also exerts a gravitational force between the Earth and the moon. This effect causes tides on the Earth.

With the impact of the moon, the gravitational force gets tidally locked to the Earth, having its rotation period the same as that of the Earth.

Therefore, the moon is present with the same face as the Earth. The gravity between the Earth and the moon is 1.62 m/s². 

8. The First Life on the Earth

The earliest existence got developed in the oceans. There occurred a process known as abiogenesis.

The process in which a new life gets generated from non-living matter like a simple organic compound. 

The whole process is believed to occur at about 3.5 billion years ago. The creature is known as Prokaryotes that fed on carbon compounds.

There was a massive accumulation of those carbon compounds on the Earth’s early oceans. Gradually, other organisms got evolved using the sun’s energy. 

9. The Highest Point on the Earth 

The highest peak found on Earth is Mount Everest having a height of 8848m. It is known to be the farthest point from the Earth’s center.

The location of Mount Everest is in Nepal. It has 29,029 feet at its summit and is the highest peak above the global mean sea level. 

10. Its Impact Craters 

The Earth has some visible impact craters as ‘well. The giant impact crater is known to be the Vredefort crater.

It has an estimated radius of about 118 miles. Our planet is geologically active, having different processes like tectonics and erosion that helps to reshape its surface.

The appearance of the impact craters is from the encounter of millions of asteroids over the centuries. Till now, the Earth has 128 impact craters recorded.

11. It Doesn’t Take 24 Hours to Rotate its Axis 

It actually takes about 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds to complete its axis at a time.

Most astronomers refer to it as a Sidereal Day.

The sidereal day is the time taken by the Earth to rotate its axis so the distant star will also appear in the same position in the sky.

Similarly, it is also known as the time taken by the Earth to have a single rotation to its axis with respect to the fixed stars. 

Ashwin Khadka is a PhD Scholar in Nano Energy and Thermofluid Lab in Korea University, Republic of Korea under Korean Government Scholarship Program. He has a Masters Degree in Physics from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He is a science enthusiast, researcher and writer.