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Unusual Earth Facts You May Not Have Known

written by: Anurag Ghosh•edited by: RC Davison•updated: 5/20/2011

Did you know that Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador is closest mountain to the Moon? Here are some more interesting and unusual facts about Earth.

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    Earth Facts

    Unusual Facts about the Earth 

    We live on a sphere, the only sphere where life is known to exist. The Blue Planet is one of the five largest planets in the Solar System and is home to millions of animal and plant species. Earth’s physical properties, its orbit and geological history support life and without any interference, different plant and animal species, including humans, will survive for another 2.3 billion years. While there are many common facts, there are some very unusual facts about the Earth:

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    Unusual Facts About the Earth

    Mountain Closest to the Moon:

    Mount Chimborazo - Closest Spot to the Moon While we all know that Mount Everest is the highest spot on Earth, many of us, however, would also love to know which spot is closest to the Moon, or outer space? Well, the common answer would again be Mount Everest! Well, that’s not true. The spot closest to the Moon is Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador.

    Here, it is important to note that the Earth is not a perfect sphere, but an “oblate spheroid". Imagine the shape of a beach ball when someone sits on it. Our planet’s shape is more like that. There’s actually a bulge just below the equator, so anyone standing on that part of Earth is actually standing “closest to outer space or the Moon". Mount Chimborazo is situated on the bigger part of the bulge and so is closest to Moon, while Mount Everest is situated on the lower part of the bulge. The calculations for the spot closest to the Moon was done by Engineer/Surveyor Joseph Senne and confirmed by the famous astrophysicist and director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson,

    Space Junk!

    According to recent data by CelesTrack, of 13,000 man-made satellites on orbit, only around 3483 satellites function properly in Earth’s orbit. The rest are classified as obsolete or debris in space.

    The Hum:

    One of the most unusual facts about the Earth is a phenomenon involving a faint humming noise in certain regions like Taos in New Mexico. This phenomenon is generally called as “The Hum". There are different regions such as Bristol and Bondi, where one can hear a low intensity humming noise as well. The most unusual aspect of this phenomenon is that the humming noise cannot be heard by all people. Also, the source is still unidentified. Possible explanations of the humming noise include: colliding ocean waves that emit infrasonic humming noises or Spontaneous otoacoustic emissions or faint noises generated by human ears. Still, the main reason of the humming noise in Taos is still a mystery.

    Close Companions:

    The Moon was very close to Earth a billion years ago. It only took 20 days for the Moon to go around Earth. At that time, one month was only 20 days and a day was only 18 hours long. Each year, Earth’s natural satellite, the Moon, is moving away – about 4 centimeters (1.6 inches).

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    Unusual Facts About the Earth - Strange Earth Facts

    Biggest Asteroid Impact Craters on Earth:

    You will find many huge craters on Earth, most of them are caused by asteroid impacts. The impacts caused huge tsunamis and earthquakes, disasters that wiped the dinosaurs out. Here are some of the largest asteroid impact craters on the Earth:

    Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana - Natural Lake Caused by an Asteroid Impact 1. Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana – A natural lake caused by the impact of meteorite some 1.3 million years ago. The crater filled with water to form a lake. The crater’s size is 10.5 km (6 miles).

    2. The Chicxulub crater – The crater is near the Chicxulub village and buried underneath the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. It is believed to be caused by a huge comet or asteroid impact 65 million years ago. The impact caused mega tsunamis and destructive earthquakes. The impact is widely believed to be the main cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs. The impact was so huge that it wiped out 70 percent of the species on Earth at that time. Scientists cite iridium as the key evidence behind the impact. Iridium is found rarely on our planet’s crust, but is commonly found in asteroids. The crater’s size is 170 km (105 miles) across.

    3. The Kara-Kul crater – The Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan has a wide lake known as Qarokul, or Kara-Kul, which has a 45 km wide crater caused by a meteorite impact some 5 million years ago. This crater was found recently with the help of satellite imagery.

    Some more notable large-sized craters are:

    1. The Manicouagan Lake in Canada – A 62 mile crater caused by a 3 mile wide asteroid impact)

    2. The Mistastin Lake in Canada – A 17.4 miles wide hole located in Labrador Canada. The crater is caused by a meteorite crash some 30 million years ago)

    3. The Gosses Bluff Crater, Australia – A crater with a diameter of 15 miles formed 142 million years ago by a large comet or asteroid impact. The object was 22 km in diameter that crashed at 40 kilometer per second.

    Gravity Hill: Optical Illusion?

    There are many unusual facts about the Earth, one of them is the phenomenon called “gravity hill". The Magnetic Hill located in Leh in Ladakh, India is one of the best examples of a gravity hill. Locals claim that the hill has magnetic properties and have the ability to pull cars uphill and force any aircraft to increase its altitude. It is actually an optical illusion. The slight downhill slope appears to be uphill and hence cars get “pulled up" by the mountain. There are many gravity hills around the globe. In the U.S., there is a gravity hill in Florida called Spook Hill.

    Google Earth - Tool to Find Unusual and Bizarre Earth Oddities:

    Google Earth has revealed some of the most bizarre and unusual facts about the Earth. Using this nifty program, you can explore Earth in the comfort of your home and uncover mysteries about unknown and unexplored regions. There are several oddities unearthed by Google Earth, including a strange pattern off the coast of Africa claimed to be the lost continent of Atlantis and strange alien-like land formations in Sinkiang, China, the Agadez region of Niger and the Algerian Desert.

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    References

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/296/5571/1305

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/05/dinosaurs-were-killed-by_n_487569.html

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9428163

    http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/featured/10-greatest-major-impact-craters-on-earth/1403Bosumtwi Worldwind SW.jpg

    http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1881770,00.html

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/170870/strangest_sights_in_google_earth_part_ii.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hum

    Image Source:

    Earth Photographed from Apollo 17 - http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/imgcat/html/object_page/a17_h_148_22727.html

    Mount Chimborazo - Francesco Bailo, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

    Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana - NASA Worldwind






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