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13 Astonishing Facts About Our Planet Earth!

6. There are over 1 million man made objects orbiting around the planet Earth.

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Of the est. 6,000 satellites that have been launched roughly about 3,600 of them are currently working and orbiting the planet. The majority of the man made objects floating around Earth are space/orbital debris, a collection of defunct satellites, pieces of rockets, disintegrated fragments, rotted parts etc.

19,000 pieces of debris over 5 cm (2 in) were tracked in 2009. 300,000 smaller pieces denser than meteoroids were also tracked. These pieces that are just over 1 cm in size cause damage similar to sandblasting, primarily to solar panels and optics like telescopes or uncovered star trackers.

As of 2012 there are more than 100 million pieces of space trash smaller than 1 cm (0.39 in) in orbit. There are also 21,000 pieces of large debris (10 cm across or larger, weighing ~1 kg (2.2 lb)). 98% of the space trash in the Earth’s low orbit weighs approx. 1,900 tons.(source)

7. As passengers on Earth, we are all carried around the sun at a mean velocity of 66,600 mph (107,182 km/h).

Earth around the sun
Image source: giphy

If the Earth were a space station and we were its passengers we’d be moving on a ship that was traveling at a velocity of 66,600 mph. The ship would also be rotating at 1,000 miles-per-hour, a speed that would cause the ship to bulge outward.

We don’t currently feel these velocities for the same reason we don’t necessarily feel the speed of a plane while flying through the air. Velocity is calculated with another object moving at a different speed and we cannot feel velocity while going the same speed consistently.

If you think that’s fast, you should know that out entire solar system moves around our galaxy at 560,000 mph.(source)

8. There is enough gold in Earth’s core to coat its entire surface to a depth of 1.5 feet.

Gold in Earth’s core
Image source: lesaviezvous.net

Billions of years ago, 99% of all of the Earth’s gold has sank to the center of the planet. The amount of gold in the Earth’s core can cover the surface of the planet in a layer of gold 1.5 feet (0.4572 meters) thick.

Over the course of 30 million to 40 million years planetesimals smaller than Earth crashed together forming the planet that’s here today. The estimate of the amount of gold contained within the earth derives from the comparison of the crust composition of meteorites with similar makeups to that of the planetesimals that formed the Earth originally. It’s suggested that gold, platinum and nickel are a result of the Earth pulling them into it’s iron rich cure when it’s surface was a large ocean of molten magma.

It’s calculated that there are 1.6 quadrillion tons of gold in Earth’s core and about 9.6 quadrillion tons of platinum.(source)

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9. Large parts of Canada have less gravity than the rest of Earth. The phenomenon was discovered in the 1960s.

Hudson Bay - Gravity anomaly
Image source: malagabay.files.wordpress.com

Although it’s not a major change, in certain parts of Canada a person weighing 150 pounds (68 kilograms) can find themselves to be 1/10th of an ounce lighter.  One explanation could be that mantle rocks underneath the surface area are slowly flowing downward. Mark Tamisiea, a geophysicist in Liverpool, England compares the phenomenon to being on a raft in the rapids:

“If the water was flowing downward in a sinkhole, would be pulled down as well.”

The study supports an alternative theory that suggests Ice Age glaciers pressed down on the area’s crust more than 20,000 years ago, creating an effect similar to a person sitting on an viscous water-bed.

The mass of the ice made the mantle rocks ooze slowly sideways. Then the ice began to melt so quickly that the crust hasn’t yet fully returned to it’s previous state.

Tamisiea and other geophysicist agree that the rebound indeed accounts for about half of the gravity loss.(source)

10. 20% of the Earth’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon rain forest.

Amazon forest
Image source: scienceworldreport.com

40% of South America is covered by the Amazon river basin. The river basin spreads across 9 countries (Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana) and contains the largest rain forest in the world, the Amazon Rainforest.

The Amazon Rainforest accounts for more than half of the Earth’s rainforests. It’s inhabits nearly 3 million insect species, over 10 thousand types plants and 2,000 kinds of vertebrates. The rainforest is responsible for roughly 20% of the world’s oxygen.

Many environmentalists are concerned due to the massive deforestation currently taking place in South America. Over 20% of the Amazon Rainforest has been destroyed to be cleared for cattle ranches, mining, logging and farming.

Some of the forests are being burned to make charcoal, a common power source for industrial plants. Indigenous people are suffering as well, over 90 tribes have been erased since the 1900s. WWF Global believes that at this pace the Amazon Rainforest can disappear in the next 50 years.(source)

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