The globe is full with interesting, amusing, and fascinating details, with over 200 countries and over 7.8 billion people (in addition with plants, animals, and other living beeings). Continue reading to learn some fascinating facts about the Earth’s past, present, and future.
Glaciers and ice sheets carry around 69% of the world’s freshwater.
The seas store slightly more than 96 percent of the total amount of water on the world, according to Water in Crisis, A Guide to the World’s Fresh Water Resources from the US Geological Survey (USGS). That’s basically seawater, though. 68.7% of the world’s fresh water is trapped in ice caps, permanent snow, and glaciers, so you’ll have to go to the poles to find it.
The highest wind gust ever recorded on Earth was 253 miles per hour.
In 1996, a tropical storm named Olivia made such a powerful landfall off the shore of Barrow Island, Australia, that it shattered an astonishing record. The Weather Channel reports that “Olivia’s eyewall produced five extreme three-second wind gusts, the peak of which was a 253 mph gust,” which blew past the previous wind record of 231 mph recorded in Mount Washington, New Hampshire in 1934.
Three recent European droughts were the worst in 2,100 years.
Europe has been facing severe dry spells and high temperatures since 2015, resulting in major droughts. Researchers headed by the University of Cambridge studied isotopes in the rings of old European Oak trees in Central Europe that formed over thousands of years to try to determine the reason. They discovered that the dry periods are a “result of human-caused climate change and accompanying disruptions in the jet stream,” according to EurekAlert!
Hawaii is the best site in the world to watch rainbows.
If you’re a huge admirer of rainbows and want to see a lot of them, Hawaii is the place to go. The area’s “mountains provide significant gradients in clouds and rainfall, which are important to numerous rainbow sightings,” as shown in a research published by the American Meteorological Society. Hawaii’s place at the top of the list in terms of rainbow quantity and quality is due to air pollution, pollen, and a large volume of crashing waves.
Under 1.4 km of ice, there are fossilized plants in Greenland
Over 80% of Greenland is covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet, which Britannica characterizes as the “biggest and maybe the sole relic of the Pleistocene glaciations in the Northern Hemisphere.” Is it, however, usually this cold? Near the bottom of a 1.4 km core sample taken in 1966 at Camp Century during the Cold War, researchers discovered “well-preserved fossil plants and biomolecules,” implying that the massive layer melted and rebuilt at least once in the last million years. Brrrrr!
There are six whale songs that can be used to map the ocean floor.
Fin whales are like Barry White for the seas. Males’ deep, booming sounds to attract mates are the loudest of all marine animals, according to Scientific American, and can be heard “up to 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) offshore.” Because sound can reach to depth of 2.5 km (1.6 miles) underwater, bounce right back, and give researchers with accurate measurements, they can also be used to musically map the ocean bottom. Moreover, according to a study published in Science in 2021, utilizing the song of a fin whale is substantially more successful and has less of an impact on sea life than using a massive air gun, which is the conventional equipment used by researchers.
Seven new animals have been discovered in deep-sea volcanoes.
Finding previously unknown organisms in the deep ocean may sound like something out of a science fiction horror film, but a study released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found “over 90 putative prokaryotic genomic families and approximately 400 completely undiscovered genera” in a deep-sea volcano near New Zealand. In some research, hydrothermal vents, like deep-sea volcanoes, have now been linked to the “origin of life.” Are we seeing the emergence of future land-dwellers? We’ll have to watch what happens next.
Mount Everest is currently larger than it was the previous time it was measured.
Mount Everest may not have physically grown, having attained maturity a long time ago, but the most recent assessment by surveyors from China and Nepal shows the mountain summit standing taller than we previously imagined. According to NPR, previous observations varied from 29,002 feet above sea level in 1856 to 20,029 feet in 1955. Due to plate tectonics, researchers have determined that Mount Everest stands at a magnificent 29,031.69 feet following a lengthy procedure of surveying the peak with GPS sensors.
Climate change is causing flower colors to alter.
Don’t worry, your favorite red roses won’t turn blue overnight, but an increase in UV radiation caused by the ozone layer’s depletion has caused flowers all around the world to alter in recent decades. According to a 2020 study led by Clemson University experts, UV pigmentation in flowers has grown over time, resulting in pollen destruction. Although we cannot perceive the color change with our eyes, it is a major issue for pollinators such as bees, who are drawn to the rich colors produced by flowers.
Dentistry is the world’s oldest profession.
Dentistry has its origins at the time when humans first had teeth…well, not quite that far back. However, one study uncovered evidence of tooth drilling in brains going back 7,500 to 9,000 years. A crude bow drill was most likely used to drill the holes. Could that be the work of the first dentist? According to the BBC, the University of Bologna, Italy revealed: “one rotting tooth in the jaw had been purposefully scrubbed and scraped with a tool” during a biting analysis on a 14,000-year-old skull. That makes the dental industry one of the oldest professions on record, which is surely a reason to rejoice.
Want to find out more? Read 10 Most Interesting Facts About Planet Earth!