Facts About Earth

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The planet Earth is about 4.54 billion years old as found by dating meteorites and rocks found on Earth. Profiled as the third planet from the sun and the fifth largest in the solar system, it is the only ocean planet capable of promoting life.

Fact 1. The Earth is not a perfect sphere but an oblate spheroid. With a greater gravitational force at the equator, there is an extra mass of water and earth resulting in a protrusion. The circumference of the Earth at the equator is 24,901 miles.

Fact 2.   Unlike all the other planets in the solar system, the Earth has the distinction of having a name not originating from Greek/Roman mythology.

Fact 3.  The Earth’s axis has a tilt of about 23 ½ degrees which causes the seasons.

Fact 4.  The Earth’s future is dependent on evolutionary trends driven by technology in the short term. In the long term, ranging from million to billions of years, geological and astronomical changes can affect the Earth’s survival.

Fact 5.  The population of Earth, circa 2012, is 7 billion. Demographers predict that the human population will stabilize at 11-12 billion roughly twice today’s count. The exponential growth of people, rising affluence and technology are potential factors which could ultimately cause a mass ecological extinction.

Fact 6. Homo sapiens have been around for 250,000 years with a direct lineage stretching back for 2 million years. The future of the Earth for human mankind will stretch, based on current evolutionary trends, for another 100,000 years.

Fact 7. Near term impacts of  global warming include a rise in the sea level of around 7.2 meters. The melting of Antarctica could raise the sea level by 70 meters.

Fact 8.  Habitat destruction, such as pollution, over-exploitation, and disease can cause the proportion of species driven to extinction to reach 20% by 2022 and rise as high as 50% thereafter.

Fact 9.  Climatic changes can affect the Earth’s ocean life. In one area of research, it has been found that sea animals, such as phytoplankton,  assist in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by their intake of carbon dioxide. However, the rise in temperature in the tropics could affect the lives of the phytoplankton resulting in either a decline or a redistribution to colder climates. The lack of a carbon dioxide regulator in the tropics could result in higher temperatures creating a vicious cycle.

Fact 10. The Earth’s orbit has been stable for billions of years, but the sun’s orbit has increased by 30% in  4 billion years and is continuing to increase.  It is projected to increase by 100% in 5 billion years.

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