The simplest and most intimate object to study is our planet Earth. Despite the fact that people are trying to understand its properties for thousands of years, it still presents surprises to us. An ordinary person knows a lot about his native planet, but there are always secrets and mysteries.
Nevertheless, even in the luggage of most of us, there are several myths about the Earth, in which we firmly believe. Scientists also argue that our planet and the phenomena occurring on it are far from as unambiguous as most people think. About these myths, dedicated to the modern Earth, our story will go.
Everest is constantly growing, slowly moving up.
It turns out that fifty million years ago the Indian subcontinent decided to start moving from the equator to the north. Gradually, he crashed into Asia, which led to the emergence of the Himalayas. The highest point of this massif is Mount Everest, whose height is 8848 meters. It is logical to assume that since the subcontinent continues to squeeze into Asia, then Everest must constantly grow up. However, scientists who observe the height of the mountain, believe otherwise. Professor Giorgio Poretti of the University of Trieste discovered in 1995 that Everest did not increase his height in any way. The best instruments were used, which could only improve the accuracy of this parameter measurement. Poretti discovered that the ongoing clash between India and Asia led to the movement of Mount Everest to the northeast at a rate of 4.2 centimeters per year. Those who want to conquer the highest peak of the Earth will have to rise exactly to the same height as Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay, who made it for the first time in 1953. In this case, the highest point will be almost 3 meters north-east of the place itself.
Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
We have already spoken about Everest, but very few people know that this mountain is not the highest on the planet. There is a peak Mauna Loa, whose name in translation means “Long Mountain”. It actually represents part of the Hawaiian island. However, visually the mountain does not look as high as Everest. But this is a deceptive impression – most of Mauna Loa is hidden under water. Only the summit itself is above it. The total height of the mountain is as much as 10.2 kilometers. Thus, Mauna Loa is much higher than the famous Everest. There is a little-known record holder and his differences. Part of the mountain is half of the island, itself it is also a volcano. More precisely they say, there are a lot of them. Mauna Loa – a few shields, wide fire-breathing vents. They appear, opening the way for rapid lava from the depths of the planet. The molten mass flows out so quickly that it does not even have enough time to freeze. A million years ago, the eruption of this huge volcano was common, but even now it is still active. It is also interesting that the huge weight of the mountain literally pushed the bottom of the ocean eight kilometers into the depths. If to take into account also this, then the total height of the volcano will be more than 17 kilometers. So Mauna Loa has no rivals in the title of the highest mountain on the planet.
A tornado can be seen.
Many imagine how a tornado looks, but it’s better not to watch it, but try to hide. But how do you manage to see this phenomenon at all, because the air itself is transparent? In fact, what we observe is technically a cloud filled with drops of water, and more often dirt and debris. All this is formed inside the invisible funnel of moving air, which is the very tornado itself. And it appears in the so-called “super-cells”, sections of the storm with strong rotating ascending currents. Until now, it is not clear why this newly formed funnel extends down to the ground. It is likely that the temperature difference between the neighboring neighboring descending streams can play a role. Inside the very rotating funnel, water vapor condenses, which helps it to descend.But a tornado can lead to destruction on the ground long before the full formation of the funnel.
The clouds do not weigh anything.
Looking at the beautiful fluffy clouds that swim high in the sky, it seems that they do not weigh anything. After all, it is essentially a light haze. In fact, the clouds are quite real and considerable weight. The average cumulus cloud is saturated with drops of water and can weigh up to 500 tons. And this “behemoth” floats across the sky only because the air around is even heavier. Cumulus clouds, like us, are on the lowest layers of the atmosphere. Air molecules have a certain weight, the pressure of the air column can reach kilograms per square centimeter. The average person height of 168 centimeters and weighing 70 kilograms can withstand a pressure of 17 tons. But all this mass does not crush us because the air is not only outside, but inside us. Also, the law of Archimedes can be applied to the air. The force that pushes the cloud upward is comparable to the mass of air displacing the cloud. And all this happens near the surface of the earth, as a result, many-tonne cumulus clouds float above us exactly the same as a cruise liner over the ocean surface.
Tornadoes create only air currents.
It turns out that there are magnetic tornadoes on other planets. They were discovered by experts from NASA, whose automatic station reached Mercury. In the magnetic field of this planet, twisted tornadoes were identified, whose length was about 800 kilometers. Such movements of streams have received the name of “plasmoids”, they are formed in those places where the magnetic field of the Sun and Mercury itself collides. Scientists believe that it is this phenomenon that makes the atmosphere of the planet so delicate. A huge magnetic tornado directs the solar wind, or plasma, from the Sun down to the surface of the planet. There, electrically charged particles decompose gases that are in a bound state in the rocks. Scientists have long suspected the connection between the magnetic field of the Earth and the Sun. It is she who generates the famous northern lights. But before receiving information from Mercury, scientists did not even suspect how closely these magnetic fields are connected. There are such tornadoes on our planet, but they should not be afraid. And although magnetic phenomena occur on the Earth every eight minutes, a thick layer of the atmosphere reliably protects the inhabitants from deadly radiation.
There is no life in the stones.
People often go to deserted rocky islands to be alone. Only a few in the desert, and deep in the cave, still feel the presence of someone alive nearby. The rocks themselves have no eyes and ears, but there live tiny life forms, endoliths. A stone that is lifeless for a man for these organisms is a native home. Endoliths are natural extremophiles that live without problems under extreme conditions. Such organisms are found even in the earth at a depth of three kilometers. Survival occurs due to water seeping down through the earth’s cracks. And some of their endolites feed on rocks in direct acid. For this, microorganisms secrete acid, which allows us to split off a little stone meal. When it comes to the question of how deep life in general can lie deep in the earth’s interior, the main limiting criterion is temperature. From the center of the planet is warm, at a depth of 5 kilometers below the surface it can reach 125 degrees. Does anyone else live deeper, scientists still can not find out. The study of extremophiles shows that at this temperature they are deprived of the opportunity to reproduce. So this depth, even for them, can be limiting.
The surface of the Earth is motionless.
Even a peaceful and calm Switzerland rises and falls almost every quarter of a meter every day. Our Earth does not just give food to many forms of life, but it also “breathes” itself, due to its flexibility. That is why the Mauna Loa volcano could so deeply pierce the ocean floor.However, such elasticity means that the surface can be affected by large space bodies – the Moon and the Sun. True, such interaction will not be as noticeable as with the sea. On the surface there are no shores that would measure the ebbs and tides. Nevertheless, some parts of the earth’s crust rise, and then slowly and imperceptibly descend. Such an effect would be logical to observe on large plains where there are no ridges and mountains hindering this. That’s only for the Moon and the Sun, even the Alps are insignificant. And such “earth tides” raise and lower even this mountainous region daily.
Cyclones can dance.
Often a tornado is confused with cyclones, but in fact the latter are low-pressure areas with winds blowing along the spiral. In the northern hemisphere, the spiral turns counter-clockwise, and in the southern hemisphere it spins clockwise. A cyclone generally can be not only a hurricane, but any other kind of low pressure system, if there is a corresponding wind direction. Japanese meteorologist Sakuhei Fujiwara was able to find out that when two cyclones are close enough to each other, they begin to “dance” around some common point. The effect was called the scientist who discovered him. It is noted if the cyclones met approximately equal strength. In the other case, a weaker vortex will be absorbed by the strong one. The most famous and most destructive example of such a “dance” occurred in 2012. Typically, the hurricanes of the Caribbean and the Atlantic meet with strong western winds, which push them away from the shores of North America. Hurricane Sandy was doomed to live this life, but suddenly he turned and came back to the United States and Canada. Superstorm hit on America, and all because there was another area of low pressure. In this system, the winds are already weakened, and the hurricane from the Caribbean has already subsided. But being close, two storms merged into one. Unfortunately, this happened on the shore, which resulted in profuse destruction with the help of wind and raging water.
Major earthquakes occur rapidly and unexpectedly.
Earthquakes occur with the movement of rocks along faults. But they are different. Sometimes it’s just an insignificant crack, then the earthquake itself will be small. Otherwise, the fault line may be located at the junction of two tectonic plates. These huge arrays possess enormous energy and their collision is fraught with catastrophic consequences. Before a major earthquake occurs, seismic shocks occur. Scientists were very surprised when they learned that huge plates can move relative to each other without any shocks at all. This was learned after installing very sensitive seismic equipment on the border of the San Andreas fault near California. There, the Pacific and North American plates slip past each other. Similar devices were installed along the Alpine fault near New Zealand. There, the Pacific plate slides along the Australian Continental. Near that fault in the past there were several large earthquakes, but in the central part everything was unnaturally quiet. Scientists began to closely monitor this area, believing that it has hidden energy reserves, capable, breaking out, to create a catastrophe of a planetary scale. And there was a kind of seismic tremor. It represents a whole series of small earthquakes, each of which lasts about half an hour. And something similar was recorded near the San Andreas Fault, although in this case the scientists are not entirely sure about the applicability of the term “tremor”. It may well be that this is how energy accumulates before the next shock. On the other hand, this can gradually reduce the accumulated energy, reducing the intensity of the future cataclysm. And it will certainly happen, when in this zone the movement of plates will begin again.
In Yellowstone, an eruption of the super volcano is about to occur.
Yellowstone National Park is the site of concentration of geysers. There are many hot springs and boiling mud boilers. And some of the samples of this turbulent underground activity appeared here already at the beginning of this century. Then archaeologists came up with the term “super volcano,” and Yellowstone himself became the number one in this category. Experts predict a possible rapid explosion of the entire park. That’s just in the near future it’s unlikely to happen. Recent research has shown that there are many magmas under Yellowstone, but it is in such a form that it can not simply be erupted. True, in the history of mankind there have not yet been eruptions of super volcanoes, so it is not clear what signs will precede it and how to identify them altogether. It is believed that the main eruption must be preceded by many earthquakes and other natural disasters. But in fact often volcanoes wake up absolutely unexpectedly and without an occasion. Who knows, maybe from the super-volcano should expect the same? There is another candidate on the planet for the title of super volcano – the Chilean volcano Laguna del Mol. There are no eruptions on it, and there are no signs, like Yellowstone, here. But the volcano swells every year at 24-28 centimeters, and why it happens – remains another mystery.