Since 1970, Earth Day has been here to showcase the beautiful planet third from the sun that we call home. More specifically, Earth Day has been used to highlight the various environmental problems that our planet has faced.
1. Earth’s Core Is As Hot As The Sun’s Surface
“Within uncertainty, the temperature at the center of the Earth is the same as the temperature at the surface of the sun (5800 K),” Caltech geochemist Paul Asimow tells Popular Mechanics. At about almost 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s hot.
2. Earth Is Radioactive
In total, Earth generates as much as 40 terawatts of heat, half of which comes from radioactive decay in its core, according to a 2011 study. Scientists measured particles called antineutrinos that streamed up from Earth’s core and found that half of Earth’s heat is generated through the radioactive decay of certain elements.
3. Moss Are Everywhere
“Mosses live on the surface soils in deserts all across the world. A cool thing about moss is that they have the ability to capture water straight out of the air using these specialized structures that look like little hairs coming out of their leaves—called awns,” USGS research ecologist Sasha Reed, tells Popular Mechanics. “In the dry places that these mosses live, this is a pretty cool trick!”
4. Earthquake Weather Is A Myth
“Each culture has a its own version of ‘earthquake weather’ to rationalize when and where a earthquake will hit,” seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones of Caltech tells Popular Mechanics. “Earthquakes are below the surface and need a constant fault to happen and this has nothing to do with weather.”
5. No One Knows Who “Named” The Earth
Unlike other planets, no real historical data can be found on the person (or group) that named our planet “Earth.” The term Earth comes from Old English and High Germanic and is the only planet not named after a Greek or Roman god.
6. Earth Is A Heat Engine
“Earth is a giant heat engine. Heat from the Sun is absorbed where it is warm (the low latitudes and the surface) and heat is radiated as infrared where it is cold (the higher latitudes and the atmosphere),” Andy Ingersoll, a planetary scientist at Caltech, tells Popular Mechanics. “The work of the heat engine goes into the kinetic energy of winds and storms.”
7. Route 66 Is Longer Than The Distance To The Earth’s Core
“The boundary between Earth’s mantle and core is roughly 3000 km below our feet—a little less than the total length of America’s ‘Mother Road’, Route 66.,” seismologist Jennifer Jackson of Caltech tells Popular Mechanics. “Thought to be a simple interface between solid rocks and liquid iron-rich metal, this remote region is almost as complex as Earth’s surface.” “Impossible to reach in person, geophysical and experimental studies of this distant region reveal a fascinating landscape of chemical and structural complexity that influence what’s happening on Earth’s surface,” Jackson says.
8. A Magnitude 12 Earthquake Would Split The Earth In Half
“We’ve never seen anything larger than 9.5 and it was longer than the state of California,” says Jones. “It would be theoretically impossible to have a magnitude 13 earthquake since it would require a fault bigger than the Earth.”
9. There Are More Viruses Than Stars In The Universe
Earth is teeming with viruses. There are an estimated 10 nonillion individual viruses on the planet. That’s “enough to assign one to every star in the universe 100 million times over,” Katherine J. Wu writes in National Geographic.