We all know and accept that the world is a strange place. Humans have enough crazy in them to fascinate anyone for centuries. However, there are some facts about the natural world that would have us reeling.
Below is a list of some weird facts and details that may surprise you. It’s useful to gain knowledge about them, as you never know when they might come in handy.
#1: The Hottest Place on Earth
Before you start complaining about the weather, remember that Al-Aziza in Libya has the highest temperatures recorded. This means that for 90 years, Al-Aziza held the record for being the hottest place on earth.
The highest temperatures recorded at this place were around 58 degrees Celsius. This makes it 136 Fahrenheit! So go and thank your stars that you don’t have to deal with such temperatures!
However, this information was taken in 1922 and has since been deemed inaccurate. Now, the hottest place in the world is said to be Death Valley, California. An apt name indeed, given that the temperatures there could reach 56.7 degrees Celsius or 134 Fahrenheit. Makes you want to go and try frying an egg on the sidewalk there, doesn’t it?
#2: The Coldest Place on Earth
Let’s cool down by talking about the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica. On July 21, 1983, this place was recognized as having the lowest temperatures on earth.
The highest temperature that this Russian research station reached was a mere 12.3 Celsius. That is much lower than any air conditioning can go! The lowest temperature was a chilling -89.2 Celsius.
The station itself is built not on direct ground, but on ice. Almost four kilometers of it, to be precise. Needless to say, this area is not very heavily inhabited. It has a total of 30 people during the summer, and only 18 in winter.
If you want to visit this freezing place, though, you’re out of luck. They don’t allow any visitors! Smart move, as you need months of training to visit that cold an area.
#3: The Magnetic Poles of the Earth
You may think that the South Pole is always south, and the North Pole is north, right? At least, that’s what you compass tells you.
What many don’t know is that magnetic poles actually swap places every few hundred thousand years! For some time then, your compass needle would point to the north when it’s actually pointing southwards!
On average, this switch happens every 450 thousand years. The next swap is only under 2000 years away! However, even if it was closer, we don’t really need to worry. This phenomenon doesn’t really affect our lives on earth. Some religious or superstitious people may say that this is a sign of doomsday, though.
#4: The Tallest Mountain is in Hawaii
We’ve always heard and read that Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. However, this is not really true. If you look at it from a technical point of view, Muana Kea in Hawaii is almost one kilometer taller than Everest.
The catch here is that Muana Kea is the tallest mountain if you measure from the base to the top. The actual base is the one below sea level.
Everest is about 29,035 feet above sea level, while Muana Kea is mostly underwater. Its peak towers a ‘mere’ 4205 meters above the sea. Plus, Muana Kea is actually an inactive volcano that was formed over a million years ago. That’s a nice tidbit of knowledge for the next geological conversation!
#5: The Largest Meteorite
The Hoba Meteorite is the largest ever discovered on earth. It was previously buried in the ground but was discovered in 1920 by a farmer plowing his field. The place was Namibia, Africa. Its name comes from the name of the farm it was discovered on, Hoba West.
The meteorite weighs a whopping 66 tons and is the largest one to be found yet. The most amazing thing about it is probably that it didn’t break upon impact. Perhaps its shape has something to do with this. It is flat at the top and the bottom, which would make for easy entry into the ground.
Its weight and size make the Hoba meteorite the largest piece of iron discovered near the ground. It’s also a nice squarish shape, about nine feet in length and width. Its thickness is about three feet.
This meteorite is estimated to have come to earth around 80,000 years ago. Plus, it weighs so much that its location is not changed. However, many pieces of it have been removed by scientists or vandals. So you may not find the whole thing there even if you do go to see it.
#6: Speed of a T-Rex
The popular Jurassic Park movies made us think that no one could escape for a Tyrannosaurus Rex. However, chances are that a human just might escape the terrifying creature if they ever experienced it.
Scientists have now estimated the speed of the T-Rex as being between 15-25 miles per hour. This is certainly much slower than a car, and may even be beaten by a human. Of course, the human would have to be in top shape, probably an athlete.
All in all, we know that Usain Bolt, with a speed of 28 miles/hour, is safe from any T-Rex resurrections. However, even if we are slower than that, we just may be able to run long enough to tire it out.
#7: The Deepest Part
The ocean is a mostly unexplored area, but humans have gone to very deep parts of it. The deepest area ever discovered is the Mariana Trench.
This is located in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Japan. It is more than 10,000 meters below the sea. That makes it more than ten kilometers down!
The specific area is known as the Challenger Deep, named after the Challenger that discovered it. In an ironic twist, the director of Titanic, James Cameron, has reached this place. He holds the record to the deepest solo descent to 10.898 meters in the Mariana Trench.
#8: The Driest Place on Earth
Imagine Antarctica without ice and snow. The McMurdo Dry Valleys are just that! These are some snow-free valleys within the continent of Antarctica. The low humidity and lack of rain make this the driest place on earth. There is also no ice due to the impediment of the surrounding mountains.
The only sights here are loose gravel, glacial tills, and granite rock. There may also be a few pools of water, but they are three times saltier than the sea.
Hence, this place is an impressive and scary desert. Only bacteria seem to survive within the rock. There has been no rain here for over 2 million years! Plus, the expert opinion is that the conditions here are the most similar thing we have to Mars!
#9: Oldest Fossils
The world’s oldest fossils are not those of any plant or animal, but bacteria. These are a very lucky find since an untrained eye would only see patterns where there are bacteria fossils.
The age of these fossils would astound you. They are, on average, around 3.5 billion years old! There are, in fact, various claims about the oldest fossils discovered.
The ones discovered in Australia are about 3.45 billion years old. The ones from Canada are 3.77 billion years old. Whichever the case, we’re sure they must look amazing when put under a microscope!
#10: Earth’s Atmosphere
We may look up at the sky and think how far it is, but it actually extends much further than that. The Carmen Line, which is the sky we know, is only 62 km away from the earth. It is what separates the earth from space.
However, there are four more layers to the atmosphere on top of the Carmen Line. They become larger and thinner the higher you go.
The last one is called the exosphere, which starts at 700 km above sea level and extends to 10,000 km. it is made up of nothing but low levels of helium and hydrogen. This is where most satellites end up. They are still in the Earth’s gravitational pull and as far as they can go without floating off into space.
#11: Lowest Land Point
The lowest land point is known as the Dead Sea. Most of us have heard of this place. The Dead Sea borders Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. It lies around 430 meters below sea level.
The water in the Dead Sea is a whopping 9.6 times saltier than normal seawater. This obviously makes it impossible for any plant or animal life to survive within it. The good part? You can float in it without having to worry about swimming or being attacked by sharks, jellyfish, etc.
In fact, the Dead Sea is a popular tourist spot. Its minerals are also used for beauty and health purposes. In a way, one can say that it is the first natural spa and health resort in the world.
#12: Oldest Religious Structure
We’ve heard about Stonehenge and the pyramids, but few of us know about Göbekli Tepe. This place is a mountain sanctuary of sorts. Located in Turkey, it is probably the oldest religious construction in existence. At least, the oldest one discovered by the modern world.
Its estimated age is over 10,000 years. The religion practiced here, however, is not known. It is older than the pyramid and 6000 years old than Stonehenge.
What makes this an even more curious place are its T-shaped pillars. Much like the pyramids, their construction is still a mystery.
#13: Number of species
If you ever studied biology, you may think you know a lot of species. However, mankind, in general, has only scratched the tip of the iceberg where identifying species is concerned. In fact, many may die out before we even come close to discovering them.
There are an estimated 5-10 million species in the world. However, humans have only discovered and named ten to fifteen percent of them. This makes the number of discovered species about 1.2 million.
Plus, only 10% of the ocean has been explored. There’s still a lot more to discover, and very little time.
#14: The Smallest Mammal
There are several ways to measure the smallest mammal; length, weight, height, etc. In length, however, Kitti’s Hog-nosed bat takes the prize.
This tiny ‘bumblebee bat’ only measure around 1.1 to 1.3 inches in length. It is approximately two grams in weight. In the latter measurement, a certain kind of shrew is the smallest around.
Needless to say, this bat is the smallest kind of bat discovered up until now. It was discovered in some caves in Thailand and Burma in the 1907s.
Today, only a few thousand of these tiny creatures remain. The main reasons for this are deforestation and vandalism of their habitat by tourists.
#15: Two Auroras
We have been blessed with no less than two kinds of auroras in the world. Basically, an aurora is a colorful display of lights in the sky at night. This is caused by charged particles from the sun making it into the atmosphere. Since there are different gases clashing in the atmosphere, auroras have a range of beautiful colors.
The first and most common form of these are the Northern Lights. These are also known as the Aurora Borealis. One can see them in northern areas, such as northern Canada and Europe. The best places for viewing them are probably Iceland and Norway.
The second type is the Southern Lights or the Aurora Astrolis. One would have to travel to Antarctica to have a good chance of seeing them. However, they are also sometimes visible in parts of Australia or New Zealand.
Both kinds of auroras are basically identical. They are a sight worth seeing, so do grab a chance if you get it!
#16: Lakes can Explode
One wouldn’t think that bodies of water could kill you if you’re not in them. However, these lakes have proven us wrong.
In Cameroon, 37 people lost their lives while walking to work. They were passing by a lake when it exploded and covered them in a gas cloud. This cloud was mostly made up of carbon dioxide. It turned out that the lake was on top of the volcanic earth. An unfortunate incident and a scary phenomenon.
#17: The Earth Isn’t Round
We all have seen globes and even seen how the earth looks like from the moon. However, the idea that the earth is completely round is not really accurate.
No, we’re not refuting Galileo here. All we’re saying is that when you view earth from a specific angle, it presents a haphazard shape.
In fact, there is a huge bulge on one side of the earth, just near the equator. The pictures of a perfectly round earth are probably taken from a different angle. The bulge is about twenty miles upward.
#18: The Largest Thing Alive
Many people think that the blue whale is the largest living thing. It is, however, only the largest living animal. Since we agree that plants and fungi are also living, we need to look at a certain mushroom.
There is a huge mushroom in existence that dwarfs even whales, let alone people. It grows above ground but goes on far into the underground. One of the largest to date hails from Oregon. While its size was impressive, its reach underground spanned an astounding 2,200 acres.
#19: The Amount of Salt
There have been many fables trying to explain the existence of salt in the ocean. In fact, this saltish taste comes from the rocks by sea.
When it rains, the rainwater’s acid breaks down the rocks a little at a time. This spreads their salt into the water.
We’re not talking about a tiny amount of salt here, either. If all the water evaporated the remaining layer of salt would be hundreds of feet thick!
These amazing facts about the world could make for a very interesting study. Once you start exploring into these little-known matters, you’d never be bored!