You may think you know a little bit about rocks, but let me tell you something pal, you don’t know sh*t.
That’s why geologists sounded off on AskReddit about some of the weirdest things about our beautiful Earth that you probably didn’t know. Read on to get edumucated…
1. That’s a long trip
“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.”
2. Mountains are mostly underground
“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.”
“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.”
4. That’s a myth
“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.”
“The Pacific ocean is so huge it contains pairs of antipodes (points that are directly opposite each other).”
6. Africa is huge
“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.”
7. I did not know that…
“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.”
8. Just the tip
“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.”
9. Bet ya didn’t know
“Mining geologist here. That many gold mines have no visible gold.”
“Before studying geology I thought the earth’s mantle would be like a brown or reddish colour, but in fact it has a greenish colour due to the prevelance of the most common mineral, olivine.”
“Solar activity generates electrical currents in the Earth itself because it causes fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetosphere. These are referred to as geomagnetically induced currents and they often cause interruptions in power grids and communications networks. We generate electricity much the same way but on a lower scale. This happens either when a conductor is moved through a magnetic field or when a magnetic field moves through a conductor.”
“The Sudbury Impact was so large and energetic that magma existed there for about 100,000 years before cooling. That made the area rich in metal resources due to slow mineral separation and hydrothermal action. Not only that but the impact would have caused trees to ignite nearly 500 miles away, though trees did not exist as this happened 1.85 billion years ago.
More info in pdf form from the Minnesota Geologic Survey.”
“Hawaii was formed by what is essentially a pimple on the crust of the earth.”
“Florida was originally part of Africa. It got sutured onto North America when Pangea was formed.”
15. A much bigger lake
“My parents went to a geology lecture in Tahoe and the evidence they have there used to be a glacier holding back a much bigger lake is it broke so violently that boulders the size of houses were washed miles downstream. I drive down the 80 all the time and you can see the large granite boulders as you approach Reno.”