It’s been 53 years since the very first Earth Day in 1970. Since then, we’ve seen impressive feats, such as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the creation of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
To celebrate Earth Day, we collected 10 interesting and amazing facts about the planet.
1. The Earth is not a perfect sphere
Though the Earth is not flat, it also isn’t perfectly round. Because the Earth spins while gravity pushes down, the Earth’s axis pushes out, causing it to have a tilted and squished shape.
2. Gravity sculpted our universe
We all know that gravity is the reason things that go up must come down, but did you know that it’s also the reason things look the way they do? Those amazing rock formations you see in parks like Bryce Canyon were formed by gravity, and are some of the most interesting wonders of the world.
3. The moon and Earth collided creating seasons
Before the Earth and Moon collided a day on this planet was a mere 6 hours. This collision helped make Earth more stable by slowing its orbit, controlling the tides, and creating the seasons. By having seasons, Earth’s climate became balanced.
4. Antarctica, the desert
When you hear the word desert, images of sand and cacti probably enter your mind. However, the inner regions of Antarctica only receive 2 inches of precipitation a year, classifying it as a desert. Antarctica also contains 70% of the Earth’s freshwater and 90% of Earth’s ice.
5. Earth’s water used to be trapped inside
The only reason that we have water on the surface of our planet is because of the Earth’s volcanic activity. Before that, the Earth’s water was completely under the surface. The Earth’s surface was completely full of molten magma.
6. The Appalachian and Ural Mountains are 200 to 500 million years old
800 million years ago, the earth had only one continent – Rodinia, which predated Pangaea. This eventually broke apart and the tectonic plates broke apart to form the continents we know today, and to create geological wonders across the world.
7. The driest place on earth is next to the biggest ocean
The Atacama Desert in Northern Chile is next to the Pacific Ocean, the biggest body of water on Earth. The average annual rainfall in the area is 0.03 inches and is relatively cold. The Atacama Desert also does not have photosynthesizing microorganisms.
8. Earth is the only planet with confirmed life
Though many want to believe there are aliens somewhere in the universe, there has been no evidence to prove the existence of other life forms anywhere in the galaxies. Earth is also the only planet known to have liquid water on the surface.
9. There are more than 400 species of sharks
Finding exact animal populations is harder than finding human populations. But sharks have existed on this planet for more than 450 million years and experts believe that there are at least 400 different species of sharks in the ocean.
10. Earth needs our help
As many people know, the Earth is in dire need of our help to reduce and reverse the impacts of climate change. More than 3 billion students do not receive climate education in schools and in 2021 EPA regained control to evaluate air pollutants.