Planet Earth Surface Area Rotation Plates and More

About the planet Earth, surface area, volume, weight, rotations and speed, plates, shape and form, radiaton bands discussed.

ANATOMY OF EARTH

There are 6 enormous basalt plates, and numerous smaller "platelets." They are in constant slow motion, pushing against each other, and sometimes sliding beneath each other, as the Indian plate did beneath the Eurasian plate to thrust up earth's highest mountain range, the Himalayas. In 1974, FAMOUS (the French American Mid-Ocean Undersea Study) began a series of mid-Atlantic dives that proved that the North American and African plates today are being pushed apart by matter rising between them from down below, at a surface-expansion rate of a single inch per year. Geophysicist W. Jason Morgan, of Princeton University, discovered in 1971 that the movement of the plates, called "global plate tectonics," is caused by the upbubbling activity of at least 20 "pipes" of molten rock that rise from depths of 1,000 mi. or more within the earth's mantle, acting like burners on a gas stove.

Planet earth has the form of an oblate spheroid--a pear-shaped counterclockwise twirling dervish with a modest equatorial belly-bulge of 26.7 mi. Chomolungma, or "goddess-mother of the world," Tibetan Buddhists named the 29,028' highest mountain more familiarly called Mount Everest. Highest from sea level, that is. Hawaii's "Mount White," more familiarly called Mauna Kea, is 13,796' above sea level, but also goes down 3,280 fathoms to the floor of the Pacific Ocean, for a grand total of 33,476'. (Right alongside is "Mountain Long," or Mauna Loa, earth's largest mountain.) But Mount Chimborazo, in Ecuador, South America, perched right on the equator, is 20,561' high all by itself. It is also atop that 26.7-mi. terrestrial belly-bulge, and thus stretches upward or outward farther than any other height on earth.

Earth's surface comprises 196,950 sq. mi. Its volume is about 259,000,000,000 cu. mi. Earth's weight totals 6,588,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons. It's the heaviest of all the planets, the 5th largest, and the 3rd out from the sun. Its equatorial diameter is 7,926.68 mi. and, from pole to pole, 7,900 mi.

Each rotation about its axis requires 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4.09 seconds, and constitutes a sidereal (star) day. Rotational speed is about 17 1/2 mi. per minute. Average speed at which earth is journeying around the sun is 18 1/2 mi. per second. Average speed at which the entire solar system is circling within the Milky Way galaxy is 180 mi. per second. The entire Milky Way galaxy itself is meantime moving through space at 170 mi. per second.

Dr. James Van Allen in 1958 1st identified great bands of radiation, the magnetosphere, which protect life on earth from extreme solar radiation. Where they break through, near the 2 magnetic poles, the fantastic colors of the aurora borealis and the aurora australis, the "northern" and "southern" lights, make for superfireworks in the sky.

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