A glance around Earth and one can quickly realize how intricate and well-designed this planet is. Not only in its distance from the Sun but also in that it has the perfect conditions to breed human and animal life. And then we can zoom out and see that we are only but a speck in the vast expanse of the universe. We have learned that there are more galaxies in the entire Universe than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth.
But for as much as we know about the planet that we live on, there are a lot more things that we have not yet learned. So here are 15 strange things about Earth that you might not have known before.
Bonus: In the above picture, many people originally thought that the Sphinx was a human face and a lion’s body but in reality, erosion caused the original face to break down and it was later restructuring and touching up that formed the face we know today.
1. The hottest place on planet Earth is Death Valley in California. Temperatures there have reached as high as 56.7 degrees Celsius or 134 Fahrenheit.
2. The lowest temperature to have ever been recorded on Earth was at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica. It was on July 21, 1983, when researchers recorded a temperature of -89.2 Celsius.
3. Every 450 thousand years, the Earth will switch magnetic poles. So what was once the magnetic north has been changed to the south. The next change is under 2000 years away!
4. While most people regard Mount Everest as the tallest mountain in the world, if you were to measure a mountain from base to mountaintop, then Mauna Kea in Hawaii would be the tallest one.
5. The largest meteorite to have landed on Earth was found in Namibia, Africa and it weighs 66 tons! However, this meteorite did NOT break upon impact and is estimated to have landed on Earth more than 80,000 years ago.
6. Tyrannosaurus Rex might not be as fast as movies would like to tell you. Scientists now estimate that the T-Rex can run between 15 to 25 miles per hour. This is much slower than a car but could be faster than some people on foot!
7. The oceans on Earth are probably the most unexplored places on Earth and as such the deepest area ever discovered is known as the Mariana’s Trench.
Located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan, the Mariana’s Trench, or the Challenger Deep which is the specific area, sits at more than ten kilometers deep (or 10,000 meters).
8. The McMurdo Dry Valleys are the driest place on Earth and this piece of land is located in Antarctica. The area is essentially Antarctica without any ice or snow. There has not been any rain there for over 2 million years.
9. The oldest fossils to have ever been found were around 3.5 billion years old. They were not of any animals or plants but of bacteria!
10. The Earth’s atmosphere is split up into different layers. The Carmen Line is the sky you see and that is about 62 kilometers from the Earth.
There are four more layers which get larger and thinner as one ascends. The last one is called the exosphere and it is the highest you can go without leaving Earth’s gravitational pull. It is where most satellites end up.
11. The Dead Sea is the lowest land point in all of the world. It lies around 430 meters below sea level and it borders Israel, Palestine, and Jordan.
Because the water is almost 10 times (9.6 times) saltier than normal seawater, it is the perfect place for tourists to lounge, sunbathe and relax without the fear of aquatic predators.
12. The oldest religious construction found on Earth is known as Gobekli Tepe. Located in Turkey, it is estimated to be over 10,000 years in age and is thus older than the pyramids and Stonehenge.
With its T-shaped pillars (which people estimate to resemble humans with the extremities at the ends) and carvings of scenes and animals, Gobekli Tepe is estimated to be at least 12,000 years old and is the oldest temple in the world.
13. There are a ton of species that humans have not discovered yet. It is estimated that there are approximately 5 to 10 million species in the world.
Humans have only discovered and named about ten to fifteen percent of the estimated amount of total species. Furthermore, it is estimated that only 10 percent of the ocean has been truly explored.
14. The smallest mammal in length is the Kitti’s Hog-nosed bat. It is only 1.1 to 1.3 inches in length and weighs only two grams! These ‘bumblebee bats’ were found in caves in Thailand and Burma in the early 1900’s.
15. There are two kinds of auroras on Earth. Although most of us are aware of the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis, less of us are aware of the Southern Lights. The Southern Lights also called the Aurora Australis and they can be best seen in Antarctica but they can sometimes be viewed in New Zealand or Australia as well. The Northern Lights can be best seen in Iceland or Norway but can also be viewed in northern Canada or some places in Europe.