Hooray for mother Earth!
Although she’s given us a big scolding, and quite literally grounded us for a month and a bit, we can still take the time to celebrate the planet that we live on. Here’s two amazing features of Earth today that need some loving!
Thank the sea for the air we breathe!
I’m sure most people are aware that Earth has not always been the oxygen-rich planet (oops I meant disc) we know and love. Redbeds, sedimentary rocks coloured red due to ferrous material, and sulphur isotopes in compounds are just a small bit of geological evidence that suggest there was a time when oxygen was low.
The increase in oxygen to roughly today’s levels has been labelled the Great Oxidation Event. Mini events that contributed to the GOE were Cyanobacteria in water that evolved to produce oxygen via photosynthesis. Redbeds and the burial of carbon also point towards a great increase in oxygen.
Interestingly enough, I basically live on a giant redbed, and my area is known for its role in the GOE, but one Permian redbed which really stuns me is the Cathedral Rock in Sedona. Wendy NG took this wonderful image of the rocks near Red Rock State Park.
If you want a further read on the GOE, here’s a free article by Heinrich Holland. If you’re up for more research, I recommend this big book that goes further into more factors other than the GOE, and other planets as well.
Thank the core for protecting us!
The outer core of Earth is made of liquid metal, where the temperature of the liquid is higher the closer the liquid is to the centre of Earth. Hot liquid rises away from the centre and colder liquid sinks closer to it, causing a convection current. This repeats as the colder liquid heats up and the hotter liquid cools, creating a huge dynamo and inducing a magnetic field.
Why is that important? The charged particles that make up solar wind are harmful to life as they could cause some serious radiation poisoning in the absence of a magnetic field! Large disturbances from charged particles can cause geomagnetic storms, the most famous storm being the Carrington Event in 1859. Although a small geomagnetic storm wouldn’t affect us people, it would (and does) disturb satellites, cables and power sources.
Our own magnetic field does very well to protect us from radiation poisoning, and our little ground-based gadgets from such winds. The interaction with winds and the magnetic field also has some beautiful effects!
Energy release from collisions with charged particles and our atmosphere releases light in many colours, typically green! This makes the wonderful Aurora Borealis!
Although this is only my opinion, I firmly believe life on Earth as we know it wouldn’t exist without our magnetic field. So, I thank you Earth for protecting us!
Learn more about solar storms and the dangers to humans in outer space from solar winds here.
If you’re feeling crafty…
The Ravelry user Soile created a knitting chart for a mini-Earth, called Planeetta Maa. I’ll be knitting one as soon as my sweater is finished, and I adapted the chart slightly to include the deserts and some ice. Good knowledge of stranded colourwork is needed to complete this, along with 5 double-pointed needles and yarn.
Happy Earth Day everyone!
Psst…I found this really cool site by the bbc which shows the biggest turning points in Earth’s history.