Earth: 5 Things You Didn't Know

Earth. It's both our home and our responsibility. It both nurtures us and needs to be nurtured. There's no doubt that the health of the planet is intrinsically linked to the health of our species as a whole. The day may come when we can colonize other planets, but for now, it's Earth and humans, humans and Earth.

It's no wonder, then, that since our planet is so incredibly important to everything in our lives, we celebrate a day especially for Earth. On Earth Day, we present a few fun facts about the planet you may not have known about before:

FIVE: The Earth is not perfect.

We're not trying to start a religious debate here on par with the likes of those during the days of Columbus, but the fact remains that though we talk about Earth as a sphere and though it looks perfect in shape when we see it in innumerable pictures of the planet from space, due to something called "equatorial bulge," the home on which we live is actually not a sphere. Or, at least, it's not a "perfect" one.

If the Earth is not a perfect sphere, then what shape is it? It's what the Week refers to as an oblate spheroid. This means that, due to Earth having an equatorial diameter that is greater than the distance between its two poles, it is "flattened" somewhat at these poles. This means that, sorry, folks, the Earth is not as perfect a place as you'd thought.  

FOUR: There's gold in them thar oceans!

That's right: the oceans on planet Earth are teeming with gold. No wonder there are still treasure salvagers well into the 21st century. Most folks know that the Earth is made up of 71 percent water, but what they might not know is that there are also nearly 20 million tons of gold in those same waters.

THREE: We still have 90 percent of Earth's oceans to explore.

You'd think with so much gold in the oceans that nearly cover the Earth, we'd have spent the last few centuries getting to know all of the unseen waters pretty well. Truth be told, we're still only about 10 percent of the way there.

TWO: Talc is really soft!

"Why do you think we use it to powder ourselves?" the Week asks rather rhetorically. Light-heartedness (pun intended) aside, talc is the softest known mineral on Earth.

ONE: Gravity depends on where you are.

Since the Earth is always spinning and since we have that equatorial bulge, as constant as gravity is, it also depends somewhat on where you're standing on the planet.

"Gravity changes across the surface of the Earth — so dieters might want to avoid the poles, where you weigh 0.5 percent more than at the equator," the Week says.

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