The Earth is our only home in the universe. But what do we really know about the blue planet? Humankind has a restless spirit and since the dawn of man, people were looking at the stars. However, we do sometimes forget that the knowledge about or planet is as interesting and exciting as the knowledge about the distant galaxies. But no one is perfect and it is not possible to know everything. There are many historical misconceptions about planets and the Earth is no exception. It´s common that people believe in long disproved ideas about our planet. The following list of common misconceptions about our planet is not meant to ridicule those who believe in them but rather to give them a chance to correct their opinion. And if you think that you are immune to believe in misconception, you can be sure that you are wrong…
Image Credit: BBC
10. Seasons on Earth are caused by changing distance from the Sun
Image Credit: Bay Arts Alliance
One of the very common of planets misconceptions connected to the Earth is the idea that the distance of the Earth from the Sun is responsible for changing seasons. The truth is that the Earth-Sun distance is not 100% constant throughout the year because the Earth´s orbit is not a perfect circle but the effect of it is marginal. The true reason for the changing seasons is in Earth´s axis tilt. Because of it, both hemispheres are being hit by Sun´s rays more directly in different time and it leads to changing seasons.
9. A volcano eruption is always a violent event.
Image Credit: American Preppers Network
Catastrophic movies and school soda/vinegar experiments create a misconception about the typical volcano eruption. It´s not always a violent explosion with lava flying kilometers from the volcano. It depends on levels of gas and silica inside a volcano. Sometimes, the actual eruption has a form of a slow flow of magma through the cracks on sides of a volcano.
8. The Mount Everest is still on the rise
Image Credit: Everestian
Until the 1990s, it was a common knowledge that Mount Everest – the tallest peak on Earth – is still rising. This idea is still widely spread and it deserves to be on our list of misconceptions about our planet. In 1995, better measurements were done by an Italian professor Giorgio Poretti from the University of Trieste. He learned that Everest is moving northeast at a rate of 42 millimeters (1.6 in) a year. Therefore, it is shifting sideways, not up.
7. Rocks are dead
Image Credit: That´s Funny
Rocky desert is a symbol of dead or better say of absence of life in any of its form. But even the piece of rock contains a lot of life inside. Endoliths, extremophile organisms, live inside of rocks. These little guys are pretty tough as they were found even 3 kilometers under the ground.
6. Mars is larger than Earth
Image Credit: Reference
Maybe it is because of its name of Roman God of war that Mars is a big planet. Or maybe it is because Mars is closer to gas giant planets than Earth. Nevertheless, the only relevant thing is that the idea of Mars being bigger than Earth is false. In fact, the diameter of Mars is only about 53% of that of Earth. But it is very common among planets misconceptions.
5. Within water cycle, it evaporate from water bodies surfaces only
Image Credit: NASA
This is quite interesting among misconceptions about our planet. We can say that vast majority of people would name only seas, lakes and rivers when talking about evaporation within Earth´s water cycle. However, the water evaporates from plants, animals and the ground as well and these sources should be included in every complete diagram of Earth´s water cycle.
4. Periods of Earth movements
Image Credit: Lerne Sefe
Earth rotation period of 24 hours and a one-year period of Earth´s orbit around the Sun are close enough to be considered true in most of the common conversation occasions but it is useful to know that these numbers are not really precise. The Earth rotates on average in a period of 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4 seconds and it goes around the Sun in 365.2422 days.
3. Compass always points towards the north
As the north magnetic pole is located 700 miles south of north geographic pole, the needle of compass shows some deflection of the true north position (except positions in which both poles are in one line). It is called the magnetic declination.
2. Sahara is the largest desert on Earth
Image Credit: Britannica
Ask the question about the largest desert on Earth to ten people and nine people will tell you that it is African Sahara. And one of the biggest misconceptions about our planet is born. The truth is that the largest desert on Earth is Antarctica. Suprised? You are not alone…
1. Flat Earth myth – a misconception about a misconception
Image Credit: TruthTheory
To the top of our list, we have placed one very special misconception. Since the ancient Greeks, people knew that the Earth is round. However, for some reason, it is widely thought that people believed in a flat Earth during the middle ages. This image is the biggest among historical misconceptions about planets and Earth. When Columbus argued with scholars about his journeys, it was not about the round Earth, every educated person knew that it is true. The question was the distance of India from Europe in western direction – and Columbus was not the one who was right. In this sense, he was just lucky there was another continent that saved his expedition…
Did you learn something new from this list? If so, we are glad. If not, what about reading our list of Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Space?