Earth Is Not Perfectly Round
The shape of the Earth is not a perfect round, and this is due to various factors. One of the most significant factors is the planet’s rotation. Since the Earth rotates around its axis, it bulges slightly at the equator and flattens at the poles. Additionally, the planet’s mass is not distributed evenly, which results in further variations in the gravitational field. However, these variations are not visible in photographs taken from space, making the Earth appear round.
Coral Reefs Are The Biggest Living Structure
The coral reefs, which are composed of colonies of coral polyps that construct calcium carbonate skeletons, are recognized as the most expansive living structure on our planet. These magnificent structures serve as an essential shelter and refuge for an array of marine species, and they also act as a natural buffer against storms and erosion. The significance of these coral reefs cannot be overstated, as they provide a crucial ecosystem that supports the balance of life in our oceans. It is regrettable to acknowledge that coral reefs are currently facing a multitude of threats, including but not limited to ocean acidification, rising temperatures, and global warming. Scientists have resorted to utilizing satellite technology that measures various oceanic parameters such as color, temperature, and salinity. This approach helps to track changes in ocean chemistry and detect areas where acidification is occurring. As a direct consequence of increasing temperatures, coral bleaching occurs, which is characterized by the expulsion of the algae that lives in their tissues and provides them with food. If left unaddressed, this phenomenon can lead to the death of the coral, thereby causing knock-on effects on the wider ecosystem.
Earth Has A Squishy Interior
Earth’s interior is not solid, but rather has a semi-solid or ‘squishy’ consistency owing to high temperatures and pressures. This squishy consistency allows the mantle to flow and move over geological timescales, which is responsible for phenomena such as plate tectonics, volcanic activity and earthquakes.One consequence of this squishy interior is a process known as post-glacial rebound. During the last ice age, large portions of Earth’s surface were covered by glaciers, causing the underlying mantle to deform and sink. As the glaciers melted and receded, the mantle slowly rebounded back to its original position over thousands of years, causing the land above it to rise.
This process is still occurring today in places such as Canada, Scandinavia, and Greenland, where the land is still rebounding from the weight of the glaciers that once covered the region. Recent research had found that West Antarctica is rising faster than anywhere else in the world, thanks to data from ESA’s GOCE gravity mission.
The Moon Is Drifting Away From Earth
The Moon is moving away from Earth at a rate of 4 cm per year due to tidal forces caused by the Moon’s gravitational pull on Earth’s oceans, resulting in a bulge of water on the side of Earth facing the Moon.The gravitational pull exerted by the Moon on Earth has led to a gradual increase in the distance between the two celestial bodies each year. Though this effect may not be readily apparent in the short term, it can have significant implications for Earth’s rotation over the course of millions of years. Moreover, the prevailing theory among scientists is that the Moon was created when a massive object collided with Earth, resulting in debris being launched into orbit and ultimately coalescing to form the Moon as we know it today.
Trees Are Breathers
Trees are a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. Forests support a vast array of biodiversity, with tropical forests alone producing 40% of the oxygen we breathe. Covering 30% of Earth’s land surface, forests are crucial for our survival. They absorb 8 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide annually, playing a key role in the carbon cycle and climate system. However, climate change, forest degradation and deforestation are releasing stored carbon back into the atmosphere. Research shows that tropical forest recovery is only combating a quarter of current carbon emissions, highlighting the importance of preserving and restoring these vital ecosystems.To better understand the role of trees in regulating the planet’s carbon cycle, the upcoming ESA mission called Biomass will use advanced radar technology to measure the amount of carbon stored in Earth’s forests and other biomass. This will provide a more accurate assessment of carbon storage and uptake than ever before. By monitoring changes in biomass over time, scientists will assess the effectiveness of forest conservation efforts and better understand the impact of deforestation on our climate.
Atacama Is The Driest Place On Earth
The Atacama Desert is located in South America and is widely considered the driest place on Earth, outside of the Antarctic dry valleys. It spans over 100,000 sq km and receives less than 1 mm of rainfall per year on average.The Atacama’s harsh climate results from its location in a rain shadow caused by the Andes mountains, the presence of the cold Humboldt Current offshore, and a lack of moisture-bearing winds. Despite the arid conditions, the desert is home to unique species of plants and animals that have adapted to survive, and it boasts stunning landscapes such as salt flats, geysers, and towering volcanoes, making it a popular destination for adventurous travelers.
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