The Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the largest of the terrestrial planets. Surprisingly, it is the fifth most massive planet in terms of size and mass and is also the densest (5,513 kg/m3) of all the planets. Additionally, Earth is the only planet in the solar system not named after a mythological being. Instead, the scientist derived its name from the Old English word “ertha” and the Anglo-Saxon word “erda,” which means soil or ground.
Earth formed somewhere around 4.54 billion years ago. It is currently the only known planet to support life – and lots of it.
Let us read about five interesting facts about Earth.
The Earth Recycles Itself
Did you know that Earth is the only planet in our Solar System that has plate tectonics? The outer crust of the Earth consists of multiple regions called tectonic plates. Beneath that is a magma interior that causes the plates to move, occasionally crashing into one another. However, as they collide and pull apart, magma bubbles up and creates fresh crust.
This critical process creates earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, mountain formation, and ocean trenches. It is also a part of the carbon cycle, in which microscopic organisms and plants die, fall to the bottom of the ocean where they are absorbed. Over long periods, the remnants of this life, rich in carbon, are carried back into the Earth’s interior and recycled. It helps pull carbon out of the atmosphere, making sure people do not suffer a runaway greenhouse effect that happened on Venus. Without the action of plate tectonics, there would be no option to recycle this carbon and will overheat the Earth.
Earth Used to Be Purple
According to Live Science, ancient microbes must have used a molecule other than chlorophyll to harness the Sun’s rays, one that gave the organisms a violet hue. The article posits that chlorophyll appeared after another light-sensitive molecule called retinal was already present on early Earth. However, retinal is found in the plum-colored membrane of a photosynthetic microbe called halobacteria. It absorbs green light and reflects red and violet light, which combines to form a purple color. The idea might explain why the Sun transmits its energy in the green part of the visible spectrum, and also chlorophyll absorbs mainly blue and red wavelengths.
60 Tons of Cosmic Dust Fall on Earth Daily
“Cosmic dust” sounds magical, but there are chances that you must have inhaled a fair amount of it just on your way to work. Dust from meteorites, comets, and other solar bodies fall to Earth in tiny particles that increase sodium and iron levels in the planet’s atmosphere. Scientists are studying the phenomenon and estimate that about 60 tons of cosmic dust are falling to Earth daily.
Earth Might Still Have Two Moons
Some scientists indeed believe we still have a second moon, which means another giant white planet in the sky, more like a small asteroid pulled into the Earth’s orbit. It was found by a team of scientists running simulations on a supercomputer. It determined that at least a single mini-asteroid (about three feet in diameter—compared to the moon’s three thousand miles of diameter) circles the planet at any particular time.
Earth’s Longest Mountain Range is Underwater
To find the world’s most extended mountain range, you would have to look down, way down. The mid-ocean ridge is a large volcanic mountain chain that encircles the planet beneath the sea. However, the chain is more than 30,000 miles (48,000 kilometers) long and rises an average of 18,000 feet (5.5 kilometers) above the seafloor. It is the primary spot where Earth’s plates spread apart as new crust bubbles up — causing much of the Earth’s volcanic eruptions.
Some of It’s Cloud Are Alive
Sometimes dark shape-shifting clouds appear near the ground at dusk. As they swirl and morph, these clouds seem to be positively alive—and it is certainly because they are. It is formed by hundreds or thousands of starlings flying in tandem, and the phenomenon is known as a murmuration. Scientists suspect the birds engage in this mesmerizing display when looking for a spot to roost or evade predators. But it is still a puzzle to achieve such exquisite acrobatic synchrony on the fly.
The Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing.
It is the deceleration that is happening almost imperceptibly, at approximately 17 milliseconds per hundred years. However, the rate at which it occurs is not perfectly uniform. It has the effect of lengthening our days, but it happens so slowly that it could be as much as 140 million years before the day’s length will have increased to 25 hours.
The Earth is 18 galactic Years old
The Earth is around 4.54 billion years old, which means it has lived through about 20 complete loops around the galaxy. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, makes one rotation every 250 million years. As a result, our planet is approximately 18 galactic years old. However, a “galactic” year is also known as a “cosmic” year.