“We tend to think of ourselves as a weird, tiny little human being on a very large, powerful planet, and therefore clearly irrelevant to anything that might affect the planet at a planetary scale, In some ways that’s true. But if you step back and look at the planet in total, you see how richly interconnected and intertwined all the actual systems are.” – Kathryn Sullivan, NASA Astronaut
It is true that the earth is a very awe inspiring planet. It has so many natural wonders that stretch our minds to very lengthy proportions. But even with all its beauty and majesty, Earth is also pretty weird. Aside from the fact that it’s the only planet known (so far) to support life, it has a bunch of inherent quirks, from geophysical weirdness to the landscapes adorning its surface to the organisms it supports. And the more we learn about Earth’s peculiarities, the more we grow to appreciate and treasure its many wonders—starting with the air we breathe.
Here are some of the weirdest things about this gas-shrouded ball of water and rock we call home.
The Planet’s Poles Flip
We all know that North is, well, north—somewhere above Alaska—and south is down near the middle of Antarctica. That will always be true for the planet’s geographic poles, but it’s only intermittently true for the planet’s magnetic poles. Over the past 20 million years, the magnetic poles have flip-flopped every several hundred thousand years or so, which means that if you had a compass in hand about ….. Readmore….