Really good post and the facts stated are quite true. Hope to see more of them in the future. Keep Rocking.....
Vishnu S. Jingade
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From India, Madras
- If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
- The human heart creates enough pressure while pumping to squirt blood 30 feet.
- On average people fear spiders more than they do death.
- The strongest muscle in the body is the TONGUE.
- It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
- Americans on the average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.
- Did you know that you are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by a poisonous spider?
- Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do.
- In ancient Egypt, Priests plucked EVERY hair from their bodies, including their eyebrows and eyelashes.
- The act of snapping one's fingers is called a "fillip".
- The dot on top of the letter 'i' is called a tittle.
- Skepticisms is the longest word that alternates hands when typing.
- Any number, squared, is equal to one more than the numbers on either side of it -- 4x6 is 24, 5x5 is 25 etc.
- A "hairbreadth away" is 1/48 of an inch.
- The word four has four letters. In the English language there is no other number whose number of letters is equal to its value.
- The king of hearts is the only king without a moustache.
- No piece of square dry paper can be folded more than 7 times in half.
- A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
- The ant can lift 50 times its own weight, can pull 30 times its own weight and always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.
- Polar bears are left handed.
- The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds, that makes the catfish rank #1 for animal having the most taste buds.
- The flea can jump 350 times its body length, that is like a human jumping the length of a football field.
- Butterflies taste with their feet.
- It is impossible to sneeze and keep ones eye's open at the same time.
- Elephants are the only animals that can't jump. ( thankfully !!)
- A cat's urine glows under a black light.
- An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
- Cockroaches can change course as many as 25 times in one second, making them the most nimble animals known.
- Mosquitoes do not bite. They stab. A mosquito has no jaws, hence when attacking a victim, it pierces it with its long proboscis and sucks the blood up through its nasal tube.
- Starfishes haven't got brains.
- Ostriches live about 75 years and can reproduce for 50 years.
- Some breeds of vultures can fly at altitudes as high as 36,900 feet.
- The skin of the armpits can harbor up to 516,000 bacteria per square inch, while drier areas, such as the forearms, have only about 13,000 bacteria per square inch on them.
- The most destructive disease is malaria. More than 1.5 million people die from malaria every year
- A light year is 5,865,696,000,000 miles or about 9,460,800,000,000 kilometers.
- A light nanosecond is the distance light can travel in a billionth of a second and is 1 foot or about 30 cm.
- INTERCHANGEABILITY contains the words THREE, EIGHT, NINE, TEN, THIRTEEN, THIRTY, THIRTY-NINE, EIGHTY, EIGHTY-NINE, NINETY, and NINETY-EIGHT
- One thousand contains the letter A, but none of the words from one to nine hundred ninety-nine has an A.
- FOUR has four letters; no other number has this property in English such that the number of letters in the name equals the number.
- Some words with horizontal symmetry (they reflect themselves across a horizontal line) are: BEDECKED, BOOHOOED, CEBID (a type of monkey), CHECKBOOK, CHOICE, CODEBOOK, COOKBOOK, DECIDED, DIOXIDE, DOBCHICK, EXCEEDED, HIDE, HOODOOED, ICEBOX, KEBOBBED, OBOE, OKEECHOBEE.
- Some words with vertical symmetry are MOM, WOW, OTTO, MAAM, MA'AM, TOOT, AHA, AA, AHA, AIA, AMA, AVA, AWA, HAH, HOH, HUH, MAM, MIM, MM, MUM, OHO, OO, OXO, TAT, TIT, TOT, TUT, UTU, VAV, WAW.
- R.S.V.P. comes from the French phrase, 'répondez, s'il vous plaît,' which means 'please reply.' According to western etiquette, you should reply promptly if you receive a formal invitation.
- A mile on the ocean and a mile on land are not the same distance. On the ocean, a nautical mile measures 6,080 feet. A land or statute mile is 5,280 feet.
- A nanosecond (ns or nsec) is one billionth (10-9) of a second and is a common measurement of read or write access time to random access memory
- "INTESTINES” has each of its letters occurring twice. Some other such words: APPEASES, ARRAIGNING, BERIBERI, BILABIAL, CAUCASUS, CHOWCHOW, CONCISIONS, COUSCOUS, ESOPHAGOGRAPHERS, FROUFROU, GENSENGS, GREEGREE, GUITGUIT, HAPPENCHANCE, HORSESHOER, HOTSHOTS, JIPIJAPA, MAHIMAHI, MESOSOME, MILLIEME, MIMETITE, RAPPAREE, REAPPEAR, SCINTILLESCENT, SHAMMASH, SHANGHAIINGS, TEAMMATE, UNSUFFICIENCES, VETITIVE
- There are three sets of letters on the standard typewriter and computer keyboards which are in alphabetical order, reading left to right. They are f-g-h, j-k-l, and o-p.
From India, Delhi
- The word "queue" is the only word in the English language that is still pronounced the same way when the last four letters are removed.
- Beetles taste like apples, wasps like pine nuts, and worms like fried bacon.
- Of all the words in the English language, the word 'set' has the most definitions!
- What is called a "French kiss" in the English speaking world is known as an "English kiss" in France.
- "Almost" is the longest word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order.
- "Rhythm" is the longest English word without a vowel.
- In 1386, a pig in France was executed by public hanging for the murder of a child
- A cockroach can live several weeks with its head cut off!
- Human thigh bones are stronger than concrete.
- You can't kill yourself by holding your breath.
- There is a city called Rome on every continent.
- It's against the law to have a pet dog in Iceland!
- Your heart beats over 100,000 times a day!
- Horatio Nelson, one of England's most illustrious admirals was throughout his life, never able to find a cure for his sea-sickness.
- The skeleton of Jeremy Bentham is present at all important meetings of the University of London
- Right handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people
- Your ribs move about 5 million times a year, every time you breathe!
- The elephant is the only mammal that can't jump!
- One quarter of the bones in your body, are in your feet!
- Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different!
- The first known transfusion of blood was performed as early as 1667, when Jean-Baptiste, transfused two pints of blood from a sheep to a young man
- Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails!
- Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin!
- The present population of 5 billion plus people of the world is predicted to become 15 billion by 2080.
- Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
- Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian, and had only ONE testicle.
- Honey is the only food that does not spoil. Honey found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs has been tasted by archaeologists and found edible.
- Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a "Friday the 13th."
- Coca-Cola would be green if coloring weren’t added to it.
- On average a hedgehog's heart beats 300 times a minute.
- More people are killed each year from bees than from snakes.
- The average lead pencil will draw a line 35 miles long or write approximately 50,000 English words.
- More people are allergic to cow's milk than any other food.
- Camels have three eyelids to protect themselves from blowing sand.
- The placement of a donkey's eyes in it’s heads enables it to see all four feet at all times!
- The six official languages of the United Nations are: English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish.
- Earth is the only planet not named after a God.
- It's against the law to burp, or sneeze in a church in Nebraska, USA.
- You're born with 300 bones, but by the time you become an adult, you only have 206.
- Some worms will eat themselves if they can't find any food!
- Dolphins sleep with one eye open!
- It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
- The worlds oldest piece of chewing gum is 9000 years old!
- The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds.
- Queen Elizabeth I regarded herself as a paragon of cleanliness. She declared that she bathed once every three months, whether she needed it or not.
- Slugs have 4 noses.
- Owls are the only birds that can see the color blue.
- A man named Charles Osborne had the hiccups for 69 years!
- A giraffe can clean its ears with its 21-inch tongue!
- The average person laughs 10 times a day!
- An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain
From India, Delhi
- The largest bird in the world today is the Ostrich Struthio camelus. The North African Ostrich subspecies is the tallest of all the Ostriches. Males can be 2.74 m tall. The head and neck can be 1.4 m long. The average height is around 2 m.
- The smallest bird in the world is either the Bee Hummingbird Mellisuga helenae from Cuba and the Isle of Pines or the Little Woodstar Acestrura bombus of Ecuador and northern Peru. The male hummingbird is 57 mm and weighs 1.6 g. Half of its length is taken up by the bill and the tail. Some experts think the Woodstar is even smaller.
- The bird with the largest wingspan is the Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans which lives in the southern oceans. Its wings average 2.54 - 3.51 m. The largest recorded wingspan was of a very old male whose wings measured 3.63 m.
- The Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus has the longest bill of any bill measuring 34 - 47 cm.
- The bird with the longest bill to body size is the Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera that lives in the high Andes from Venezuela to Bolivia. Its bill is 10.2 cm long, four times longer than the bird's body, not counting the tail.
- Ostriches Struthio camelus have the longest legs. Their legs can be up to 1.3 m long.
- A number of swifts have the shortest legs. Their family name Apodidae means 'lacking legs'.
- Jacanas (Jacanidae family) have the longest toes relative to body length. Some of the larger Jacanas can have 'toespans' of at least 15 cm.
- The Phoenix Fowl has the longest feathers. The upper tail can grow for six years and one measured 10.6 m. The Phoenix Fowl has been bred as an ornamental bird in Japan since the mid 17th century and is a breed of the Red Jungle Fowl Gallus gallus.
- The longest feathers of a wild bird relative to body size, are the central tail feathers of the male Ribbon-tailed Bird of Paradise Asptrapia mayeri. It lives in the mountain rainforest of New Guinea.
- The most feathers ever counted on one bird was 25 216 on the Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus. 80 per cent of feathers were on the bird's head.
- The least number of feathers ever counted was 940 on a Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris. But this bird, relative to its body size, has more feathers than most other birds. It measures only 9 cm.
- The Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus is the fastest bird and fastest of any kind of animal. It can reach speeds of at least 200 km when diving for prey in the air.
- Hummingbirds have the fastest wingbeat. The Horned Sungem Heliactin cornuta, in tropical South America beats its wings at 90 beats per second.
- Hummingbirds, Family Trochilidae have been recorded in experiments, hovering for 50 minutes.
- The Artic Tern Sterna paradisaea is believed to migrate the furthest. It flies from the shores of the Arctic to the Antarctic. One banded Arctic Tern cover 22 530 km flying from the White Sea Coast of Russia to Fremantle, Western Australia.
- Relative to body size the Long Rufous Humingbird Selasphorus rufus makes the longest migration. It measures 10 cm and flies from as far north as Alaska to Mexico and back again - 10 000 km.
- The highest recorded altitude for any bird was 11 277 m for a Ruppell's Griffon Vulture Gyps Rueppellii. It flew into a plane.
- The largest bird egg is from the Ostrich Sturthio camelus. The egg measures 15 - 20 cm long, 10 - 15 cm in diameter and weighs 1 - 1.78 kg.
- The smallest known egg is the egg of the Vervain Hummingbird Mellisuga minima of Jamacia and nearby islets. The egg is barely the size of a pea and measures less than 10 mm in length and weighs 0.356 g.
- The largest nest was built by a pair of Bald Eagles Haliaeetus leucocephalus was 2.9 m wide and 6 m deep.
- The Mallee Fowl Leipoa ocellata of Australia builds a mound for a nest. These mounds have been measured at 4.57 m high and 10.6 m long. A mound this size means the bird moved 250 cubic metres of vegetation and 300 tonnes of soil.
- The Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata which measures 35 cm and nests on islands in the North Pacific excavates a burrow of 2 - 3 m in length. Burrows up to 6 m are not uncommon and 8 m burrows have also been found.
- Emperor Penguins Aptenodytes forsteri make the deepest dive of any bird ranging from 444 - 483 m. They also stay under water the longest. The maximum dive time recorded has been 18 minutes.
- The fastest swimmer is probably the Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua at 27 km per hour.
- The fastest runner is the Ostrich Struthio camelus. It can run up to 72 km per hour over short distances.
- The only poisonous birds known are the three species of Pitohui from Papua new Guinea - the Hooded Pitohui Pitohui dichrous the Rusty Pitohui P. ferrugineus and the Variable Pitohui P. kirhocephalus. The Hooded Pitohui is the deadliest. The skin and feathers contain almost the same homobatrachotoxin as the Poison Arrow Frogs.
From India, Delhi
- In the weightlessness of space a frozen pea will explode if it comes in contact with Pepsi.
- The increased electricity used by modern appliance parts is causing a shift in the Earth's magnetic field. By the year 2327, the North Pole will be located in mid-Kansas, while the South Pole will be just off the coast of East Africa.
- The idea for "tribbles" in "Star Trek" came from gerbils, since some gerbils are actually born pregnant.
- Male rhesus monkeys often hang from tree branches by their amazing prehensile penises.
- Johnny Plessey batted .331 for the Cleveland Spiders in 1891, even though he spent the entire season batting with a rolled-up, lacquered copy of the Toledo Post-Dispatch.
- Smearing a small amount of dog feces on an insect bite will relieve the itching and swelling.
- The Boeing 747 is capable of flying upside-down if it weren't for the fact that the wings would shear off when trying to roll it over.
- The trucking company Elvis Presley worked at as a young man was owned by Frank Sinatra.
- The only golf course on the island of Tonga has 15 holes, and there's no penalty if a monkey steals your golf ball.
- Legislation passed during WWI making it illegal to say "gesundheit" to a sneezer was never repealed.
- Manatees possess vocal chords which give them the ability to speak like humans, but don't do so because they have no ears with which to hear the sound.
- SCUBA divers cannot pass gas at depths of 33 feet or below.
- Catfish are the only animals that naturally have an ODD number of whiskers.
- Replying more than 100 times to the same piece of spam e-mail will overwhelm the sender's system and interfere with their ability to send any more spam.
- Polar bears can eat as many as 86 penguins in a single sitting.
- The first McDonald's restaurant opened for business in 1952 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and featured the McHaggis sandwich.
- The Air Force's F-117 fighter uses aerodynamics discovered during research into how bumblebees fly.
- You *can* get blood from a stone, but only if contains at least 17 percent bauxite.
- Silly Putty was "discovered" as the residue left behind after the first latex condoms were produced. It's not widely publicized for obvious reasons.
- Approximately one-sixth of your life is spent on Wednesdays.
- The skin needed for elbow transplants must be taken from the scrotum of a cadaver.
- The sport of jai alai originated from a game played by Incan priests who held cats by their tails and swung at leather balls. The cats would instinctively grab at the ball with their claws, thus enabling players to catch them.
- A cat's purr has the same romance-enhancing frequency as the voice of singer Barry White.
- The typewriter was invented by Hungarian immigrant Qwert Yuiop, who left his "signature" on the keyboard.
- The volume of water that the Giant Sequoia tree consumes in a 24-hour period contains enough suspended minerals to pave 17.3 feet of a 4-lane concrete freeway.
- King Henry VIII slept with a gigantic axe.
- Because printed materials are being replaced by CD-ROM, microfiche and the Internet, libraries that previously sank into their foundations under the weight of their books are now in danger of collapsing in extremely high winds.
- In 1843, a Parisian street mime got stuck in his imaginary box and consequently died of starvation.
- Touch-tone telephone keypads were originally planned to have buttons for Police and Fire Departments, but they were replaced with * and # when the project was cancelled in favor of developing the 911 system.
- Human saliva has a boiling point three times that of regular water.
- Calvin, of the "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip, was patterned after President Calvin Coolidge, who had a pet tiger as a boy.
- Watching an hour-long soap opera burns more calories than watching a three-hour baseball game.
- Until 1978, Camel cigarettes contained minute particles of real camels.
- You can actually sharpen the blades on a pencil sharpener by wrapping your pencils in aluminum foil before inserting them.
- To human taste buds, Zima is virtually indistinguishable from zebra urine.
- Seven out of every ten hockey-playing Canadians will lose a tooth during a game. For Canadians who don't play hockey, that figure drops to five out of ten.
- A dog's naked behind leaves absolutely no bacteria when pressed against carpet.
- A team of University of Virginia researchers released a study promoting the practice of picking one's nose, claiming that the health benefits of keeping nasal passages free from infectious blockages far outweigh the negative social connotations.
- Among items left behind at Osama bin Laden's headquarters in Afghanistan were 27 issues of Mad Magazine. Al Qaeda members have admitted that bin Laden is reportedly an avid reader.
- Urine from male cape water buffaloes is so flammable that some tribes use it for lantern fuel.
- At the first World Cup championship in Uruguay, 1930, the soccer balls were actually monkey skulls wrapped in paper and leather.
- Every Labrador retriever dreams about bananas.
- If you put a bee in a film canister for two hours, it will go blind and leave behind its weight in honey.
- Due to the angle at which the optic nerve enters the brain, staring at a blue surface during sex greatly increases the intensity of orgasms.
- Never hold your nose and cover your mouth when sneezing, as it can blow out your eyeballs.
- Centuries ago, purchasing real estate often required having one or more limbs amputated in order to prevent the purchaser from running away to avoid repayment of the loan. Hence an expensive purchase was said to cost "an arm and a leg."
- When Mahatma Gandhi died, an autopsy revealed five gold Krugerrands in his small intestine.
- Aardvarks are allergic to radishes, but only during summer months.
- Coca-Cola was the favored drink of Pharaoh Ramses. An inscription found in his tomb, when translated, was found to be almost identical to the recipe used today.
- If you part your hair on the right side, you were born to be carnivorous. If you part it on the left, your physical and psychological make-up is that of a vegetarian.
- When immersed in liquid, a dead sparrow will make a sound like a crying baby.
- In WWII the US military planned to airdrop over France propaganda in the form of Playboy magazine, with coded messages hidden in the models' turn-ons and turn-offs. The plan was scrapped because of a staple shortage due to rationing of metal.
- Although difficult, it's possible to start a fire by rapidly rubbing together two Cool Ranch Doritos.
- Napoleon's favorite type of wood was knotty chestnut.
- The world's smartest pig, owned by a mathematics teacher in Madison, WI, memorized the multiplication tables up to 12.
- Due to the natural "momentum" of the ocean, saltwater fish cannot swim backwards.
- In ancient Greece, children of wealthy families were dipped in olive oil at birth to keep them hairless throughout their lives.
- It is nearly three miles farther to fly from Amarillo, Texas to Louisville, Kentucky than it is to return from Louisville to Amarillo.
- The "nine lives" attributed to cats is probably due to their having nine primary whiskers.
- The original inspiration for Barbie dolls comes from dolls developed by German propagandists in the late 1930s to impress young girls with the ideal notions of Aryan features. The proportions for Barbie were actually based on those of Eva Braun.
- The Venezuelan brown bat can detect and dodge individual raindrops in mid-flight, arriving safely back at his cave completely dry.
From India, Delhi
10. Blind People Dream
People who become blind after birth can see images in their dreams. People who are born blind do not see any images, but have dreams equally vivid involving their other senses of sound, smell, touch and emotion. It is hard for a seeing person to imagine, but the body’s need for sleep is so strong that it is able to handle virtually all physical situations to make it happen.
9. You Forget 90% of your Dreams
Within 5 minutes of waking, half of your dream if forgotten. Within 10, 90% is gone. The famous poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, woke one morning having had a fantastic dream (likely opium induced) - he put pen to paper and began to describe his “vision in a dream” in what has become one of English’s most famous poems: Kubla Khan. Part way through (54 lines in fact) he was interrupted by a “Person from Porlock“. Coleridge returned to his poem but could not remember the rest of his dream. The poem was never completed.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
Curiously, Robert Louis Stevenson came up with the story of Doctor Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde whilst he was dreaming. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was also the brainchild of a dream.
8. Everybody Dreams
Every human being dreams (except in cases of extreme psychological disorder) but men and women have different dreams and different physical reactions. Men tend to dream more about other men, while women tend to dream equally about men and women. In addition, both men and women experience sexually related physical reactions to their dreams regardless of whether the dream is sexual in nature; males experience erections and females experience increased vaginal blood flow.
7. Dreams Prevent Psychosis
In a recent sleep study, students who were awakened at the beginning of each dream, but still allowed their 8 hours of sleep, all experienced difficulty in concentration, irritability, hallucinations, and signs of psychosis after only 3 days. When finally allowed their REM sleep the student’s brains made up for lost time by greatly increasing the percentage of sleep spent in the REM stage.
6. We Only Dream of What We Know
Our dreams are frequently full of strangers who play out certain parts - did you know that your mind is not inventing those faces - they are real faces of real people that you have seen during your life but may not know or remember? The evil killer in your latest dream may be the guy who pumped petrol in to your Dad’s car when you were just a little kid. We have all seen hundreds of thousands of faces through our lives, so we have an endless supply of characters for our brain to utilize during our dreams.
Just paying the bills…
5. Not Everyone Dreams in Color
A full 12% of sighted people dream exclusively in black and white. The remaining number dream in full color. People also tend to have common themes in dreams, which are situations relating to school, being chased, running slowly/in place, sexual experiences, falling, arriving too late, a person now alive being dead, teeth falling out, flying, failing an examination, or a car accident. It is unknown whether the impact of a dream relating to violence or death is more emotionally charged for a person who dreams in color than one who dreams in black and white.
4. Dreams are not about what they are about
If you dream about some particular subject it is not often that the dream is about that. Dreams speak in a deeply symbolic language. The unconscious mind tries to compare your dream to something else, which is similar. Its like writing a poem and saying that a group of ants were like machines that never stop. But you would never compare something to itself, for example: “That beautiful sunset was like a beautiful sunset”. So whatever symbol your dream picks on it is most unlikely to be a symbol for itself.
3. Quitters have more vivid dreams
People who have smoked cigarettes for a long time who stop, have reported much more vivid dreams than they would normally experience. Additionally, according to the Journal of Abnormal Psychology: “Among 293 smokers abstinent for between 1 and 4 weeks, 33% reported having at least 1 dream about smoking. In most dreams, subjects caught themselves smoking and felt strong negative emotions, such as panic and guilt. Dreams about smoking were the result of tobacco withdrawal, as 97% of subjects did not have them while smoking, and their occurrence was significantly related to the duration of abstinence. They were rated as more vivid than the usual dreams and were as common as most major tobacco withdrawal symptoms.”
2. External Stimuli Invade our Dreams
This is called Dream Incorporation and it is the experience that most of us have had where a sound from reality is heard in our dream and incorporated in some way. A similar (though less external) example would be when you are physically thirsty and your mind incorporates that feeling in to your dream. My own experience of this includes repeatedly drinking a large glass of water in the dream which satisfies me, only to find the thirst returning shortly after - this thirst… drink… thirst… loop often recurs until I wake up and have a real drink. The famous painting above (Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening) by Salvador Dali, depicts this concept.
1. You are paralyzed while you sleep
Believe it or not, your body is virtually paralyzed during your sleep - most likely to prevent your body from acting out aspects of your dreams. According to the Wikipedia article on dreaming, “Glands begin to secrete a hormone that helps induce sleep and neurons send signals to the spinal cord which cause the body to relax and later become essentially paralyzed.”
From India, Delhi
1. When you are snoring, you are not dreaming.
2. Toddlers do not dream about themselves until around the age of 3. From the same age, children typically have many more nightmares than adults do until age 7 or 8.
3. If you are awakened out of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, you are more likely to remember your dream in a more vivid way than you would if you woke from a full night sleep.
From India, Delhi
1. What is the hottest place on Earth?
Count one wrong if you guessed Death Valley in California. True enough on many days. But El Azizia in Libya recorded a temperature of 136 degrees Fahrenheit (57.8 Celsius) on Sept. 13, 1922 -- the hottest ever measured. In Death Valley, it got up to 134 Fahrenheit on July 10, 1913.
2. And the coldest place around here?
Far and away, the coldest temperature ever measured on Earth was -129 Fahrenheit (-89 Celsius) at Vostok <link updated to site home> , Antarctica, on July 21, 1983.
3. What makes thunder?
If you thought, "Lightning!" then hats off to you. But I had a more illuminating answer in mind. The air around a lightning bolt is superheated to about five times the temperature of the Sun. This sudden heating causes the air to expand faster than the speed of sound, which compresses the air and forms a shock wave; we hear it as thunder.
4. Can rocks float?
In a volcanic eruption, the violent separation of gas from lava produces a "frothy" rock called pumice, loaded with gas bubbles. Some of it can float, geologists say. I've never seen this happen, and I'm thankful for that.
5. Can rocks grow?
Yes, but observing the process is less interesting than watching paint dry. Rocks called iron-manganese crusts grow on mountains under the sea. The crusts precipitate material slowly from seawater, growing about 1 millimeter every million years. Your fingernails grow about the same amount every two weeks.
6. How much space dust falls to Earth each year?
Estimates vary, but the USGS says at least 1,000 million grams, or roughly 1,000 tons of material enters the atmosphere every year and makes its way to Earths surface. One group of scientists claims microbes rain down from space, too, and that extraterrestrial organisms are responsible for flu epidemics. There's been no proof of this, and I'm not holding my breath.
7. How far does regular dust blow in the wind?
A 1999 study showed that African dust finds its way to Florida and can help push parts of the state over the prescribed air quality limit for particulate matter set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The dust is kicked up by high winds in North Africa and carried as high as 20,000 feet (6,100 meters), where it's caught up in the trade winds and carried across the sea. Dust from China makes its way to North America, too.
8. Where is the worlds highest waterfall?
The water of Angel Falls in Venezuela drops 3,212 feet (979 meters).
9. What two great American cities are destined to merge?
The San Andreas fault, which runs north-south, is slipping at a rate of about 2 inches (5 centimeters) per year, causing Los Angeles to move towards San Francisco. Scientists forecast LA will be a suburb of the City by the Bay in about 15 million years.
10. Is Earth a sphere?
Because the planet rotates and is more flexible than you might imagine, it bulges at the midsection, creating a sort of pumpkin shape. The bulge was lessening for centuries but now, suddenly, it is growing, a recent study showed. Accelerated melting of Earth's glaciers is taking the blame for the gain in equatorial girth.
11. What would a 100-pound person weigh on Mars?
The gravity on Mars is 38 percent of that found on Earth at sea level. So a 100-pound person on Earth would weigh 38 pounds on Mars. Based on NASA's present plans, it'll be decades before this assumption can be observationally proved, however.
12. How long is a Martian year?
It's a year long, if you're from Mars. To an earthling, it's nearly twice as long. The red planet takes 687 Earth-days to go around the Sun -- compared to 365 days for Earth. Taking into account Mars' different rotational time (see #13 below) calendars on Mars would be about 670 days long with some leap days needed to keep things square. If you find one, please mail it to me. I'm curious how they worked out the months, given they have two moons. [The initial publication of this fact mistakenly said a Mars calendar would have 687 days.]
13. How long is the average Martian day?
A Martian can sleep (or work) and extra half-hour every day compared to you. Mars days are 24 hours and 37 minutes long, compared to 23 hours, 56 minutes on Earth. A day on any planet in our solar system is determined by how long it takes the world to spin once on its axis, making the Sun appear to rise in the morning and sending it down in the evening.
14. What is the largest volcano?
The Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii holds the title here on Earth. It rises more than 50,000 feet (9.5 miles or 15.2 kilometers) above its base, which sits under the surface of the sea. But that's all volcanic chump change. Olympus Mons on Mars rises 16 miles (26 kilometers) into the Martian sky. Its base would almost cover the entire state of Arizona.
15. What was the deadliest known earthquake?
The world’s deadliest recorded earthquake occurred in 1557 in central China. It struck a region where most people lived in caves carved from soft rock. The dwellings collapsed, killing an estimated 830,000 people. In 1976 another deadly temblor struck Tangshan, China. More than 250,000 people were killed.
16. What was the strongest earthquake in recent times?
A 1960 Chilean earthquake, which occurred off the coast, had a magnitude of 9.6 and broke a fault more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) long. An earthquake like that under a major city would challenge the best construction techniques.
17. Which earthquake was more catastrophic: Kobe, Japan or Northridge, California?
The 1994 Northridge earthquake had a magnitude of 6.7 was responsible for approximately 60 deaths, 9,000 injuries, and more than $40 billion in damage. The Kobe earthquake of 1995 was magnitude 6.8 and killed 5,530 people. There were some 37,000 injuries and more than $100 billion in economic loss.
18. How far is it to the center of the Earth?
The distance from the surface of Earth to the center is about 3,963 miles (6,378 kilometers). Much of Earth is fluid. The mostly solid skin of the planet is only 41 miles (66 kilometers) thick -- thinner than the skin of an apple, relatively speaking.
19. What is the highest mountain?
Climbers who brave Mt. Everest in the Nepal-Tibet section of the Himalayas reach 29,035 feet (nearly 9 kilometers) above sea level. Its height was revised upward by 7 feet based on measurements made in 1999 using the satellite-based Global Positioning System.
20. Has the Moon always been so close?
It used to be much closer! A billion years ago, the Moon was in a tighter orbit, taking just 20 days to go around us and make a month. A day on Earth back then was only 18 hours long. The Moon is still moving away -- about 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) a year. Meanwhile, Earth's rotation is slowing down, lengthening our days. In the distant future, a day will be 960 hours long!
21. Where is the lowest dry point on Earth?
The shore of the Dead Sea in the Middle East is about 1,300 feet (400 meters) below sea level. Not even a close second is Bad Water in Death Valley, California, at a mere 282 feet below sea level.
22. Good thing California isn't sinking further, right?
Actually parts of it are, which is so interesting that I snuck this non-question onto the list. In a problem repeated elsewhere in the country, the pumping of natural underground water reservoirs in California is causing the ground to sink up to 4 inches (11 centimeters) per year in places. Water and sewage systems may soon be threatened.
23. What is the longest river?
The Nile River in Africa is 4,160 miles (6,695 kilometers) long.
24. What is the most earthquake-prone state in the United States?
Alaska experiences a magnitude 7 earthquake almost every year, and a magnitude 8 or greater earthquake on average every 14 years. Florida and North Dakota get the fewest earthquakes in the states, even fewer than New York.
25. What's the driest place on Earth?
A place called Arica, in Chile, gets just inches ( millimeters) of rain per year. At that rate, it would take a century to fill a coffee cup.
26. What causes a landslide?
Intense rainfall over a short period of time can trigger shallow, fast-moving mud and debris flows. Slow, steady rainfall over a long period of time may trigger deeper, slow-moving landslides. Different materials behave differently, too. Every year as much as $2 billion in landslide damage occurs in the United States. In a record-breaking storm in the San Francisco area in January 1982, some 18,000 debris flows were triggered during a single night! Property damage was over $66 million, and 25 people died.
27. How fast can mud flow?
Debris flows are like mud avalanches that can move at speeds in excess of 100 mph (160 kph).
28. Do things inside Earth flow?
You bet. In fact, scientists found in 1999 that molten material in and around Earth's core moves in vortices, swirling pockets whose dynamics are similar to tornadoes and hurricanes. And as you'll learn later in this list, the planet's core moves in other strange ways, too.
29. What is the wettest place on Earth?
Lloro, Colombia averages 523.6 inches of rainfall a year, or more than 40 feet (13 meters). That's about 10 times more than fairly wet major cities in Europe or the United States.
30. Does Earth go through phases, like the Moon?
From Mars, Earth would be seen to go through distinct phases (just as we see Venus change phases). Earth is inside the orbit of Mars, and as the two planets travel around the Sun, sunlight would strike our home planet from different angles during the year. Earth phases can be seen in recent photographs taken by Mars Global Surveyor and the European Mars Express.
31. What is the largest canyon?
The Grand Canyon is billed as the world's largest canyon system. Its main branch is 277 miles (446 kilometers) long. But let's compare. Valles Marineris on Mars extends for about 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers). If added it to a U.S. map, it would stretch from New York City to Los Angeles. In places this vast scar on the Martian surface is 5 miles (8 kilometers) deep.
32. What is the deepest canyon in the United States?
Over the eons, the Snake River dug Hell’s Canyon along the Oregon-Idaho border. It is more than 8,000 feet (2.4 kilometers) deep. In contrast, the Grand Canyon is less than 6,000 feet deep -- a bit more than a mile.
33. Is Earth the largest rocky planet in the solar system?
Just barely! Earth's diameter at the equator is 7,926 miles (12,756 kilometers). Venus is 7,521 miles (12,104 kilometers) wide. Mercury and Mars, the other two inner rocky planets, are much smaller. Pluto is rocky, too, but it's comparatively tiny (and some say it is not a planet at all).
34. How many of Earth’s volcanoes are known to have erupted in historic time?
About 540 volcanoes on land are known. No one knows how many undersea volcanoes have erupted through history.
35. Is air mostly oxygen?
Earth's atmosphere is actually about 80 percent nitrogen. Most of the rest is oxygen, with tiny amounts of other stuff thrown in.
36. What is the highest waterfall in the United States?
Yosemite Falls in California is 2,425 feet (739 meters).
37. What percentage of the world’s water is in the oceans?
About 97 percent. Oceans make up about two-thirds of Earth's surface, which means that when the next asteroid hits the planet, odds are good it will splash down.
38. Which two landmasses contain the vast majority of the Earth’s fresh water supply?
Nearly 70 percent of the Earth's fresh-water supply is locked up in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland. The remaining fresh-water supply exists in the atmosphere, streams, lakes, or groundwater and accounts for a mere 1 percent of the Earth's total.
39. Which of the Earth’s oceans is the largest?
The Pacific Ocean covers 64 million square miles (165 million square kilometers). It is more than two times the size of the Atlantic. It has an average depth of 2.4 miles (3.9 kilometers).
40. Why is Earth mostly crater-free compared to the pockmarked Moon?
Earth is more active, in terms of both geology and weather. Much of our planet's geologic history was long ago folded back inside. Some of that is regurgitated by volcanoes, but the results are pretty hard to study. Even more recent events evident on the surface -- craters that can by millions of years old -- get overgrown by vegetation, weathered by wind and rain, and modified by earthquakes and landslides. The Moon, meanwhile, is geologically quiet and has almost no weather; its craters tell a billions-year-long tale of catastrophic collisions. Interestingly, some of the oldest Earth rocks might be awaiting discovery on the Moon, having been blasted there <link updated to site home> ( Search On Cite | Search On Google ) billions of years ago by the very asteroid impacts that rattle both worlds.
41. How much surface area does Earth contain?
There are 196,950,711 square miles (510,100,000 square kilometers).
42. What is the largest lake in the world?
By size and volume it is the Caspian Sea, located between southeast Europe and west Asia.
43. Where do most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur on Earth?
The majority occur along boundaries of the dozen or so major plates that more or less float on the surface of Earth. One of the most active plate boundaries where earthquakes and eruptions are frequent, for example, is around the massive Pacific Plate commonly referred to as the Pacific Ring of Fire. It fuels shaking and baking from Japan to Alaska to South America.
44. How hot are the planet's innards?
The temperature of Earth increases about 36 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) for every kilometer (about miles) you go down. Near the center, it’s thought to be at least 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit (3,870 Celsius).
45. What three countries have the greatest number of historically active volcanoes?
The top three countries are Indonesia, Japan, and the United States in descending order of activity.
46. How many people worldwide are at risk from volcanoes?
As of the year 2000, USGS scientists estimated that volcanoes posed a tangible risk to at least 500 million people. This is comparable to the entire population of the world at the beginning of the seventeenth century!
47. Which of the following sources stores the greatest volume of fresh water worldwide: lakes, streams or ground water?
Groundwater comprises a 30 times greater volume than all freshwater lakes, and more than 3,000 times what's in the world’s streams and rivers at any given time. Groundwater is housed in natural underground aquifers, in which the water typically runs around and through the stone and other material.
48. Which earthquake was larger, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake or the 1964 Anchorage, Alaska, temblor?
The Anchorage earthquake had a magnitude of 9.2, whereas the San Francisco earthquake was a magnitude 7.8. This difference in magnitude equates to 125 times more energy being released in the 1964 quake and accounts for why the Anchorage earthquake was felt over an area of almost 500,000 square miles (1,295,000 square kilometers).
49. Which earthquake was more destructive in terms of loss of life and relative damage costs, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake or the 1964 Anchorage earthquake?
The 1906 San Francisco earthquake tops this category. It was responsible for 700 deaths versus 114 from the Anchorage earthquake. Property damage in San Francisco was also greater in relative terms due to the destructive fires that destroyed mostly wooden structures of the time.
50. Is Earth's core solid?
The inner portion of the core is thought to be solid. But the outer portion of the core appears molten. We've never been there though, so scientists aren't sure of the exact composition. A radical Hollywood-like idea was recently put forth to blow a crack in the planet and send a probe down there to learn more. An interesting bit of recent evidence shows Mars' core may be similarly squishy. Scientists figured this out by studying tides on Mars.
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The solid inner core -- a mass of iron comparable to the size of the Moon -- spins faster than the outer portion of the iron core, which is liquid. A study in 1996 showed that over the previous century, the extra speed caused the inner core to gain a quarter-turn on the planet as a whole. So the inner core makes a complete revolution with respect to the rest of Earth in about 400 years. Immense pressure keeps it solid.
52. How many people have been killed by volcanoes during the last 500 years?
At least 300,000. Between 1980 and 1990, volcanic activity killed at least 26,000 people.
53. How much of the Earth’s surface consists of volcanic rock?
Scientists estimate that more than three-quarters of Earth’s surface is of volcanic origin-- that is, rocks either erupted by volcanoes or molten rock that cooled below ground and has subsequently been exposed at the surface. Most of Earth’s volcanic rocks are found on the sea floor.
54. Can an earthquake cause a tsunami?
If the earthquake originates under the ocean, yes. Near the earthquake’s epicenter, the sea floor rises and falls, pushing all the water above it up and down. This motion produces a wave that travels outward in all directions. A tsunami can be massive but remain relatively low in height in deep water. Upon nearing the shore, it is forced up and can reach the height of tall buildings. One in 1964 was triggered in Alaska and swamped the small northern California town of Crescent City, moving train cars several blocks and killing several people there. Asteroids can cause tsunami, too.
55. Are all tsunamis high waves when they strike a coastline?
No, contrary to many artistic images of tsunamis, most do not result in giant breaking waves. Rather, most tsunamis come onshore more like very strong and fast tides. The water can rise higher than anyone along a given shore area has ever seen, however.
56. How much of the Earth’s land surface is desert?
57. What's the deepest place in the ocean?
The greatest known depth is 36,198 feet (6.9 miles or 11 kilometers) at the Mariana Trench, in the Pacific Ocean well south of Japan near the Mariana Islands.
58. What is the fastest surface wind ever recorded?
The fastest "regular" wind that's widely agreed upon was 231 mph (372 kph), recorded at Mount Washington, New Hampshire, on April 12, 1934. But during a May 1999 tornado in Oklahoma, researchers clocked the wind at 318 mph (513 kph). For comparison, Neptune's winds can rage to 900 mph (1,448 kph).
59. How much fresh water is stored in the Earth?
More than two million cubic miles of fresh water is stored in the planet, nearly half of it within a half-mile of the surface. Mars, too, appears to have a lot of water near its surface, but what's been detected so far is locked up as ice; nobody has estimated how much might be there.
60. How old is Earth?
Our planet is more than 4.5 billion years old, just a shade younger than the Sun. Recent evidence actually shows that Earth was formed much earlier than previously believed, just 10 million years after the birth of the Sun, a stellar event typically put at 4.6 billion years ago.
61. What is the world’s largest desert?
The Sahara Desert in northern Africa is more than 23 times the size of southern California’s Mojave Desert. [Several readers have e-mailed to suggest that arid Antarctica technically tops this category; true, some researchers put it there, but most lists of deserts don't include it.]
62. Which planet has more moons, Earth or Mars?
Mars has two satellites, Phobos and Deimos. The Earth has only one natural satellite, but it's the Moon. The outer planets have lots of Moon, most of them found fairly recently and leading to the possibility that scientists might one day need to redefine what it means to be a moon.
63. What is the world’s deepest lake?
Lake Baikal in the south central part of Siberia is 5,712 feet (1.7 kilometers) deep. It's about 20 million years old and contains 20 percent of Earth's fresh liquid water.
64. What is the origin of the word "volcano"?
It derives from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
65. How many minerals are known to exist?
There are roughly 4,000 known minerals, although only about 200 are of major importance. Approximately 50-100 new minerals are described each year.
66. What is the total water supply of the world?
The total water supply of the world is 326 million cubic miles (1 cubic mile of water equals more than 1 trillion gallons).
67. What is the world’s largest island?
Greenland covers 840,000 square miles (2,176,000 square kilometers). Continents are typically defined as landmasses made of low-density rock that essentially floats on the molten material below. Greenland fits this description, but it's only about one-third the size of Australia. Some scientists call Greenland an island, others say it's a continent.
68. Where are most of Earth’s volcanoes?
The most prominent topographic feature on Earth is the immense volcanic mountain chain that encircles the planet beneath the sea -- the chain is more than 30,000 miles (48,000 kilometers) long and rises an average of 18,000 feet (5.5 kilometers) above the seafloor. It is called the mid-ocean ridge and is where Earth's plates spread apart as new crust bubbles up -- volcanic activity. There are more volcanoes here than on land. The spreading, however, leads toscrunching when these plates slam into the continents. The result: More volcanoes and earthquakes in places like California and Japan.
69. What volcano killed the most people?
The eruption of Tambora volcano in Indonesia in 1815 is estimated to have killed 90,000 people. Most died from starvation after the eruption, though, because of widespread crop destruction, and from water contamination and disease.
70. Were Earth and the Moon separated at birth?
Not quite. But leading theory holds that our favorite satellite was carved partly from Earth shortly after the Earth formed. A Mars-sized object slammed into our fledgling planet. The impactor was destroyed. Stuff flew everywhere and a lot of it went into orbit around Earth. The Moon gathered itself together out of the largely vaporized remains of the collision, while Earth hung in there pretty much intact.
71. How many lightning strikes occur worldwide every second?
On average, about 100. Those are just the ones that hit the ground, though. During any given minute, there are more than a thousand thunderstorms around the Earth causing some 6,000 flashes of lightning. A lot of it goes from cloud-to-cloud.
72. Are rivers alive?
Not in the traditional sense, of course. But like all living creatures, rivers have a life span. They are born, grow in size, and they age. They can even die during the span of geological time.
73. Can asteroids create islands?
Speculation has existed for decades that ancient asteroid impacts might create hot spots of volcanic activity, which could give rise to mountains that poke up through seas that didn't used to be there. There's no firm answer to this question, but a recent computer model suggested Hawaii might have been formed in this manner.
74. Is the state of Louisiana growing or shrinking?
Louisiana loses about 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) of land each year to coastal erosion, hurricanes, other natural and human causes and a thing called subsidence, which means sinking. Much of New Orleans actually sits 11 feet (3.4 meters) below sea level. Parts of the French quarter have sunk 2 feet in the past six decades. The city is protected by dikes, but all experts agree that storm tides from a direct hit by a major hurricane would breach the system and swamp much of the city. In 2000, the director of the U.S. Geological Survey, Chip Groat, said: "With the projected rate of subsidence, wetland loss and sea-level rise, New Orleans will likely be on the verge of extinction by this time next century."
75. How much would seas rise if the Antarctic Ice Sheet melted?
The Antarctic Ice Sheet holds nearly 90 percent of the world's ice and 70 percent of its fresh water. If the entire ice sheet were to melt, sea level would rise by nearly 220 feet, or the height of a 20-story building. Scientists know there's a melting trend underway. The United Nations has said that in a worst-case scenario -- depending on how much global air temperatures increase -- seas could jump 3 feet (1 meter) by 2100.
77. Is ice a mineral?
Yes, ice is a mineral and is formally described as such in Dana's System of Mineralogy.
77. What is the softest of all minerals?
Talc is the softest of minerals. It is commonly used to make talcum powder.
78. What is the hardest of all minerals?
The one that becomes emotionally useless after a divorce but still retains monetary value.
79. How are colors produced in fireworks?
Mineral elements taken from Earth provide the colors. Strontium yields deep reds, copper produces blue, sodium yields yellow, and iron filings and charcoal pieces produce gold sparks. Bright flashes and loud bangs come from aluminum powder.
80. Does Earth have the worst weather in the solar system?
Right now, it's the worst that most humans I know ever experience. But there's lots of wilder weather elsewhere. Mars can whip up hurricane-like storms four times bigger than Texas. Dust storms on the red planet can obscure the entire globe! Jupiter has a hurricane twice the size our entire planet, and it's lasted for at least three centuries (another storm on Jupiter is even bigger). Venus is a living hell, and Pluto is routinely more frigid than the coldest place on Earth (though may change one day, and Pluto may in fact become the last oasis for life).
81. Where are the highest tides?
In Burntcoat Head, Minas Basin, part of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, tides can range 38.4 feet (11.7 meters). The bay is funnel shaped -- its bottom slopes upward continuously from the ocean inlet. The result is an extreme "tidal bore," a wave-like phenomenon at the leading edge of the changing tide. Bores in Fundy can travel up feeder rivers at 8 mph (13 kph) and be more than 3 feet (1 meter) tall.
82. Where is the world's only equatorial glacier?
Mt. Cotopaxi in Ecuador supports the only glacier on the equator.
83. What is the largest lake in North America?
84. What's the deadliest hurricane to ever hit the United States?
A Category 4 hurricane hit Galveston, Texas in 1900 and killed more than 6,000 people. The next closest death toll was less than 1,900 from a 1928 Florida hurricane.
85. What is the longest mountain chain on Earth?
The Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which splits nearly the entire Atlantic Ocean north to south. Iceland is one place where this submarine mountain chain rises above the sea surface.
86. How much gold has been discovered worldwide to date?
More than 193,000 metric tons (425 million pounds). If you stuck it all together, it would make a cube-shaped, seven-story structure that might resemble one of Donald Trump's buildings. First you'd have to find all those rings that have gone down the drain.
87. What are the two major gold-producing countries?
South Africa produces 5,300 metric tons per year, and the United States produces more than 3,200 metric tons.
88. What North American plant can live for thousands of years?
The creosote bush, which grows in the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan deserts, has been shown by radiocarbon dating to have lived since the birth of Christ. Some of these plants may endure 10,000 years, scientists say. If only they could talk.
89. On average, how much water is used worldwide each day?
About 400 billion gallons.
90. Is Saturn the only ringed planet?
Saturn has the most obvious rings. But Jupiter and Neptune both have subtle ring systems, [as does Uranus, readers reminded me]. And even Earth may once have been a ringed planet, the result of some space rock's glancing blow.
91. What is the highest, driest, and coldest continent on Earth?
That would be Antarctica.
92. At what depth do most earthquakes occur?
Most are triggered less than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the Earth’s surface. Shallower earthquakes have more damage potential, but a temblor's destruction also depends largely on rock and soil conditions as well as building methods.
93. Where are the oldest rocks on Earth found?
Since the ocean floor is being continually regenerated as the continental plates move across the Earth’s surface, the oldest rocks on the ocean floor are less than 300 million years. In contrast, the oldest continental rocks are 4.5 billion years old.
94. What percentage of the world’s fresh water is stored as glacial ice?
About 70 percent. And if you had to replace it all, you'd need 60 years of the entire globe's rainfall, and then you'd have to figure out a way to freeze it all.
95. What is the largest alpine lake in North America?
Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border has a 105,000-acre surface, holds 39 trillion gallons of water, and is almost 1,600 feet (488 meters) deep.
96. Have there always been continents?
Not as we know them today. Many scientists figure Earth began as one huge continent -- dry as a bone. Water was delivered in comets, the thinking goes, and the oceans developed. Much more recently, all the world's landmasses were huddled into one supercontinent called Pangaea. It began to break up about 225 million years ago, eventually fragmenting into the continents as we know them today.
97. How much volcanic ash can fall in a day?
I can only give an example. During the 9-hour period of most vigorous activity on May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens dumped more than 540 million tons of ash over an area of more than 22,000 square miles (56,980 square kilometers). It was the most destructive volcanic eruption known to occur in the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed by the eruption including USGS scientist Dr. David Johnston, who was at a monitoring site 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the volcano. An estimated $1 billion damage was caused by the eruption, through mudflows and landslides as well as what fell from the sky.
98. What is feldspar?
A better question might be, "Who but a geologists could love feldspar?" It happens to be the most common mineral in Earth's crust. But I couldn't find anything about it that most of us really need to know.
99. What are the most extreme locations in the United States, compass-wise?
This one is a bit tricky, and as it turns out three or even four of the answers may catch you off guard. The westernmost point is the aptly named West Point of Amatignak Island, Alaska. The northernmost point is Point Barrow, Alaska. The southernmost point is the southern tip of the island of Hawaii. The easternmost point -- go ahead, take a guess! -- is Pochnoi Point at Semisopochnoi, Alaska. Huh? Look at a world map. The tip of the Aleutian Islands lies on the other side of the 180-degree longitude line --- the International Dateline -- putting Pochnoi Point barely but officially in the Eastern Hemisphere.
100. If you were to arrange Earth, the Moon and Mars like Matryoshka nesting dolls, how would they be ordered?
Mars would nest inside Earth, and the Moon would fit neatly inside Mars. Earth is about twice as big as Mars, which is about twice as big as the Moon.
101. Will Earth always be here?
Astronomers know that over the next few billion years, the Sun will swell so large as to envelop Earth. If we're still here, we'll probably fry and the planet will be vaporized. There's a chance, however, that the changing mass of the Sun will cause Earth to move into a more distant and pleasant orbit. One mathematical calculation shows it would be theoretically possible for humans to engineer such a move before it's too late.
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