The Earth is a splendid, vast and quixotic mystery. We as the Earth's humble inhabitants know next to nothing about her in the grand scheme of it all. Even those who study this planet as their source of career will tell you they only will ever chip away at the surface of what's happening. Somethings we may find fascinating to know, others... we could probably do without being aware of.
Redditor u/Sickzaur reached out to uncover some Earthly facts, asking... Geologists, geographers, and other Earth enthusiasts, what are some weird things about Earth that most people don't know?
Take me to the Sahara...
Scientist didn't know how the Amazon forest got enough phosphor to stay fertile. It turns out it gets it from the Sahara desert. The phosphor travels the Atlantic ocean and a great part of the South American continent to keep the forest alive.
Roots run deep...
You know how icebergs are mostly under the water?
Mountains work the same way. They have roots that go deep into the mantle. Scientists noticed this when they were measuring the gravity and it wasn't what they predicted.
Follow the map!
On a map, most people think the Netherlands and France don't border.
But they do, in the Caribbean.
San Andreas so easy...
The San Andreas Fault can't produce tsunamis despite what movies with the Rock may tell you.
The SA Fault is a transform fault which can only move laterally and is not capable of vertical displacement like a subduction zone fault would be able to. Subduction zones make up much of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The San Andreas Fault is not capable of producing an earthquake more powerful than an 8.0 on the Moment Magnitude scale. So an earthquake such as the Tohuku or Indian Ocean (9.0+) is not possible according to earthquake scientists.
Not a girl's best friend.
Diamonds aren't forever, if you want a gem that will truly last forever look into zircons. Zircons are the honeybadgers of the gem world, they simply don't give a crap. They're hardy little gems, that can undergo multiple orogenic cycles and still maintain their original crystal lattice structures. Very helpful in dating very very old rocks.
Source: am geophysicist.
I prefer the Atlantic...
The Pacific ocean is so huge it contains pairs of antipodes (points that are directly opposite each other).
Kiss the rain down in Africa...
It's probably more common to know this now, but Africa is waaaaaaaaaay bigger than it looks on most maps. The Mercator projection map is the one that most people are familiar with, and it vastly under represents the size of some areas of the world, while making others look a lot bigger. Russia is much smaller than it looks on a map, and Africa is monstrously big when you really look at it.
This picture shows a bunch of different countries in relation to Africa's true size.
View from the top...
A "tel" (like in Tel Aviv). is a hill that's not just a hill. It's a hill made from human garbage, built up over millennia. So there was once a village, and as it grew, houses were built on the rubble of old houses. Garbage pits (for ceramic and stuff) were filled in and built upon. This happened so many times over centuries, that hills developed. It's sort of amazing to think of a big hill, with a city on it, and if you dug straight down from the top of that hill, you'd hit layer upon layer of former civilizations.
Here's an interesting way to think about the Earth's history: look at the geologic time scale and stretch your arms out to your sides away form each other. Your left fingers represent the formation of the Earth. The entire "Precambrian" (or Proterozoic & Archean Eons) represent everything in between your left finger tips to your right wrist. That's 89% of the entire history of the Earth, a time when life didn't exist or was rather primitive. Then, life diversified like crazy starting from your right wrist to the base of your fingers (aka the Paleozoic Era). Then, the Mesozoic Era, or the age of dinosaurs, was across the first two segments of your fingers. Then, the Cenozoic Era, or the age of mammals (aka today), is the last third segment of your finger. Humanity is the very tip of your right fingernail and can be erased by one swipe of a nail file.