APR 22, 2020 11:00 AM PDT

5 Things You Didn't Know About Earth

WRITTEN BY: Hilary Thompson

Happy Earth Day! Although we should take action every day to appreciate our home, planet Earth, today it gets a little extra love and we wanted to spread the love by sharing a few fun, yet curious facts about Earth.

We don't know how Earth got its name

All though many planets in our solar system are either named by their founder and are of Roman or Greek origin, planet Earth is actually of Old English and Germanic origin, meaning "ground". In addition, there is no real historical data on where the name came from and the name is estimated to be at least 1,000 years old.

The inner core is roughly the size of California (north to south)

At 759 miles wide, Earth's inner core is made of iron and nickel and recent studies have found it's as hot as the surface of the sun. Beyond the inner core, lies the outer core, which contributes to Earth's magnetic field, then the mantle, and finally the continental crust, which is approximated to be 19 miles thick. This is versus the oceanic crust which is actually much thinner, at about 3 miles thick, and much denser. 

Earth's atmosphere doesn't just protect us from harmful rays

The middle layer of the atmosphere, known as the mesosphere, works hard at protecting us from meteors. This layer breaks up meteors due to the mixed gases contained within it. These gases cause friction and create heat, which in turn protects us from meteors reaching Earth's surface.

Earth is the only planet with plate tectonics

Plate tectonics is a scientific theory about 7 large plates and many other small plates making up the Earth's crust. As far as we know, Earth is the only planet with this feature. The action of the plate tectonics allows for carbon recycling, so we don't suffer a runaway greenhouse effect and overheating. 

It doesn't take Earth 24 hours to rotate on its axis

As it turns out, it only takes the Earth to rotate on its axis 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds, known as a Sidereal Day. What is also taken into account, though is the movement of the Sun compared to its background stars by about 1 degree. This movement is taken into account when calculating the Solar Day, which is 24 hours. 

 

Sources: History, National Geographic, BBC, Universe Today, Moon Lamp

About the Author
  • Hilary grew up in New England, attending the University of New Hampshire, graduating with a degree in chemistry, with a minor in writing. She then went on to pursue her Master's degree in physical chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
You May Also Like
APR 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
APR 05, 2020
This Bird Can Mimic Almost Any Sound Accurately
Birds of all kinds are renowned for their calls, songs, and relentless chirps. Some birds use their calls to communicate ...
APR 12, 2020
Plants & Animals
APR 12, 2020
It's Jellyfish Eat Jellyfish Out There...
These Aurelia jellyfish roam the void of the ocean in massive groups, an occurrence that doesn’t happen by acciden ...
APR 11, 2020
Earth & The Environment
APR 11, 2020
The problems with the EPA's mercury analysis
A recent revision of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s cost-benefit analysis in support of a proposed r ...
MAY 04, 2020
Earth & The Environment
MAY 04, 2020
Predicting ocean acidification five years in the future
Research published recently in Nature Communications offers a new tool to predict ocean acidity years in the future. Whi ...
MAY 18, 2020
Cancer
MAY 18, 2020
The threat of climate change extends to cancer progression
A study appearing in the American Cancer Society’s CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians argues that climate change ...
MAY 22, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
MAY 22, 2020
Some Coral Turn Neon When Stressed
Corals are immobile animals, and coral reefs are considered to be the most diverse ecosystems in the sea.
Loading Comments...