10 myths about the Earth that we learned at school and assumed were facts.
Each and every of one of us attended, or is maybe still attending, school. Some people were better students, some not, however, the one thing we all have in common is that our hard working teachers managed to program into our brains copious general facts.
Numerous facts which we have unquestioningly considered to be true simply because our “teacher told us”! Nevertheless, when we make the effort to question some of them, we uncover amazing and very interesting new revelations.
We prepared a list of facts and myths about the Earth, which will not only reveal to you the other side of our planet, but also will most definitely surprise you, making you shout: “But I though it wasn’t like that!”.
So, let’s uncover our main delusions about the past and the present.
Myth #1: Qomolangma (Mount Everest) is the tallest mountain peak on Earth
This is not exactly true. Technically, the highest mountain peak in the world is the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Kea. This volcano rises a total of 10203 meters above its base. But because the largest section of it is located under the water.
Mountain Everest is still considered to be the tallest mountain, as its peak is located higher than the peak of Mauna Kea, even though ironically the height of Everest is lower than the height of this dormant volcano from Hawaii.
Myth #2: Sahara is the largest desert on the planet
Let’s dot the i’s and cross the t’s. The Sahara is the largest “subtropical” desert. It boasts a really impressive size of 8.6 million square kilometers, which takes up 30% of the entire territory of Africa, and covers an area larger than the size of Brazil.
However, the Polar Desert of Antarctica occupies more space than the Sahara does, and in some regions of it there have been no precipitations for more than 2 million years. Thus, Antarctica should actually be considered the largest desert on Earth.
Myth #3: The Great Wall of China is the only man-made object that can be seen from outer space
That is not true. The Great Wall of China was really indeed an ambitious project, however, it’s pretty narrow (just about 6.5 meters in width), and thus it can’t actually be clearly seen from space. Occasionally one can distinguish some kind of silhouette of it, and even then, only in perfect conditions.
Myth #4: A lightning bolt never strikes the same place twice
Does that sound familiar? Of course it does! That well known statement has even been considered a proverb. However, the spire of the Empire State Building is ready to refute this “fact”. Lightning bolts strike it more than 20 times a year!
Myth #5: Angel Falls waterfall in Venezuela is the highest waterfall in the world
Yes, but only if you add “on land”. Technically, the largest water cascade is the Danish Strait cataract. It’s concealed under the water and has a height of more than 3.5 thousand meters. Yes, you got it right; the world’s oceans contain rivers, lakes and waterfalls. It’s pretty hard to see or evaluate them, but they still do exist.
Myth #6: It’s impossible to break a diamond
They say that the diamond deserves its name. Translated from the Ancient Greek, it means “unbreakable”. This material is indeed incredibly hard and dense, and it can be used to cut glass. However, one sharp hit with a hammer will completely smash a diamond to smithereens.
Myth #7: All plants use their roots to absorb water
We should really say “the majority”, but definitely not “all”. For example, the Welwítschia Mirabilis that grows in the Namib Desert absorbs water through its leaves, which then transport it to its roots.
Myth #8: The water system of the Nile is the longest on Earth
We likely all recall this fact from the 5th grade. But researchers from Brazil decided to actually measure the respective lengths of the Amazon and the Nile. They discovered that the Amazon is in fact the longest. According to their calculations the total length of the Nile is 6852 km, while the length of the Amazon is 6992 km. So now you know too!
Myth #9: The UK is the rainiest country in Europe
You will be surprised, but the rainiest country is actually Italy. The capital of the UK usually receives around 500mm of precipitation each year, but Rome receives 750mm and Genoa receives more than 1000mm! This misconception is easily assumed because Italy experiences its rainy season during the fall and the winter, while the UK is rainy throughout the entire year, thus people wrongly assume that since it’s raining everyday in the UK it must automatically receive the most rain.
Myth #10: Water is a current conductor
It’s not actually the water, but the minerals in it that can conduct a current. Distilled water is not a conductor.
And also, don’t forget to tell your kids this fun fact: clouds only appear weightless, but in reality they contain a lot of water drops and may have a total weight of up to 500 tonnes.
Image credit: pixabay.com