We explain everything about the planet Earth, its origin, the emergence of life, its structure, movement and other characteristics.
We call Earth, planet Earth or simply Earth, the planet we inhabit. It is the third planet in the Solar System starting to count from the Sun, located between Venus and Mars. According to our current knowledge, it is the only one that harbors life in the entire Solar System . It is designated astronomically with the symbol .
Its name comes from the Latin Terra, a Roman deity equivalent to the Gea of ancient irrigation, associated with fertility and fertility. It was popularly known as Tellus mater or Terra mater (mother Earth), because all living beings would come from her womb.
In other languages, as in English, the name of our planet may have non-Greco-Latin connotations, such as the Earth of the Anglo-Saxons.
Since time immemorial, the human being has dreamed of knowing the limits of the Earth and going through all its corners. Ancient cultures thought it infinite, or perhaps with an ending that would be a fall into the abyss. Even today there are those who argue that the Earth is flat, that it is hollow and other conspiracy theories.
However, thanks to science and technology, we currently have beautiful images of our planet. We also know how their inner layers are composed, as well as what was before the human being appeared on its surface.
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Origin and formation of planet Earth
The Earth formed around 4550 million years ago, from the material from which the rest of the Solar System was constituted, which was initially a stellar cloud of gases and cosmic dust. The formation of the planet took between 10 and 20 million years, as its surface cooled and the cloud of gases that today is the atmosphere accumulated around it.
Eventually, through a long period of seismic activity and possibly due to the constant impact of meteors, the Earth had the necessary elements and physical conditions indispensable for the appearance of the liquid water.
Thanks to this, the hydrological cycle could begin, contributing to cool the planet more quickly to levels where life could begin. Over time, the large amount of liquid water on the surface gave our planet its blue hue when viewed from space.
Characteristics of planet Earth
Earth is the fifth planet in the Solar System in terms of size, and the only one capable of harboring life. It has a spherical shape with a slight flattening at the poles, and 12, 756 km in diameter at the height of Ecuador (an equatorial radius of 6, 378.1 kilometers).
Its mass is 5.9736 x 10 24 kilograms and its density of 5.515 g / cm 3, the highest in the Solar System. It also has a gravity acceleration of 9, 780327 m / s 2 .
Like other interior planets such as Mars and Mercury, the Earth is a rocky planet, with a solid surface and a core of liquid metal (due to the heat and pressure of its own gravity), unlike other gaseous planets such as Venus or Jupiter Its surface is divided between the gaseous atmosphere, the liquid hydrosphere and the solid geosphere.
Composition and structure of planet Earth
The land mass is composed of a diverse set of chemical elements. The most abundant elements are iron (32.1%), oxygen (30.1%), silicon (15.1%), magnesium (13.9%), sulfur (2.9%), nickel (1, 8%), calcium (1.5%) and aluminum (1.4%), leaving 1.2% for the rest of the elements.
It is estimated that iron and nickel abound in its inner layers, which would be responsible for the generation of its magnetic field or magnetosphere.
The planet is composed of concentric layers of matter that extend to the nucleus from the surface. These layers are:
Lithosphere It extends from the surface (0 kilometers deep) to about 60 kilometers inwards, being the least dense layer of all and the only one we can visit with specific physical means. It is there where the tectonic plates are, for example. The lithosphere is divided into two distinct layers:
- Bark It ranges from 0 to 35 kilometers deep, being the layer where life is located, consisting mainly of solid silicates.
- Upper mantle It ranges from 35 to 60 kilometers deep, and is composed mostly of peridototic rocks, extremely basic, from which basalts could come.
Earth mantle The mantle of the Earth goes from 35 kilometers deep, to 2890, that is, to the outer part of the nucleus. It is the widest layer of the Earth's internal structure, rich in silicates, magnesium and iron, all in semi-solid state and of variable viscosity. Inside the mantle is the inner mantle and also the asthenosphere.
- Attentive sphere . A low viscosity layer comprising the upper area of the earth's mantle, formed by silicate materials in a solid state and partially molten or partially molten, depending on its proximity to the boiling magma. Tectonic plates move above the asthenosphere. This layer ranges from 100 to 700 kilometers deep.
Core . The terrestrial nucleus is the coraz n of the planet, and is composed mostly of ferromagnetic metals (iron and nickel), divided into two stages:
- External core Extending from 2890 kilometers deep to 5100, this highly viscous liquid metal layer rests on the inner core and comprises mostly iron, with traces of lighter elements.
- Inner core The true center of the Earth is a nucleus of solid metal, which rotates with an angular velocity slightly higher than the rest of the planet, and which is responsible for the generation of its magnetosphere. It has a radius of approximately 1255 kilometers and its composition is believed to be 70% iron and 30% nickel, along with very small portions of other heavy metals such as iridium, lead and titanium .
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Earth planet movements
The Earth periodically executes two main types of movements:
- Rotation A rotating movement on its own axis, which exposes its surface to the sun intermittently and is the cause of day and night.
- Translation. This is the displacement of the planet along its solar orbit, describing more or less an ellipse as a trajectory. Every time we celebrate a year, one more round of the planet around the Sun is fulfilled.
On the other hand, the axis of rotation of the Earth is inclined at approximately 23.5 degrees. It is because of this inclination that each hemisphere receives the sun's rays every six months more directly (thus causing the change of the climatic seasons).
There are two other types of movements that, although we cannot perceive in our daily experience, are scientifically proven:
- Precession It is a very slight movement of the earth's axis. Every 25, 776 years the inclination of the axis is modified enough that the stations are reversed.
- Nutation It is a slight oscillation of the axis of rotation. It is due to the effect of the combination of the gravity forces of the Earth, the Moon and the Sun.
Magnetic Field of Planet Earth
Our planet possesses a magnetosphere, arising from the movement of its metallic nucleus. This magnetic field has protected us from early times of the damaging solar wind . If this protection did not exist, the forces of the Sun would have destroyed the atmosphere millions of years ago.
It is also the magnetic north according to which compasses and migratory animals are oriented in their kilometric movements.
The earth's magnet extends beyond the ionosphere, about 500 km high, completely enveloping our planet. At the poles its proximity to the Earth is greater, and its effects can be seen as the famous northern and southern lights .
Appearance of life on planet Earth
Life appeared during Precmbric, that is, the first and longest geological period of our planet. It goes back to the very beginning of the planet, in the midst of a torrential volcanic and electrical activity, about 4, 000 million years ago .
At some remote moment, certain particular chemical conditions, thanks to the presence of liquid water on the planet, allowed the creation of self-replicating molecules, which were growing in complexity and in abundance, until giving rise to the formation of the first cells about 3800 to 3500 million years ago.
These first organisms undertook an evolutionary career from the diversification of the so-called LUCA ( Last Universal Common Ancestor ), the first ancestor common to all life forms existing today. Thus, the basic energy processes that changed the world were born.
For example, photosynthesis filled the atmosphere of oxygen and led to the subsequent appearance of breathing . All this under the protection of the ozone layer of the atmosphere, without which ultraviolet radiation would have made the molecular preservation of DNA very difficult, and without that, life as we now understand it.
The Moon is the only natural satellite on our planet . Its origin dates back to the periods of the Earth's formation itself, with which it shares some geochemical similarities. It has 1738 kilometers of radius and a period of rotation identical to that of its translation in orbit around the Earth. Therefore, we always see the same side of the Moon.
The Moon has a mass of 7, 349 x 10 22 kg, 1/81 of the Earth's mass, the largest satellite in the Solar System being in proportion to its ruling planet. His attraction to our planet triggers the phenomenon of the tides, which suggests that he played some kind of role in the climatic circuits that facilitated the appearance of life .
The theory accepted on its origin is called The Great Impact . It implies the existence of a protoplanet called Tea, whose orbit coincided with the Earth enough to eventually collide with each other, merging and leaving behind a trail of debris that Over the coming years they gave rise to the Moon.
Our planet is part of the Solar System, which is the star system of bodies orbiting the Sun, on concentric elliptical paths, on each of which is one of the eight planets (in order of proximity to the Sun ): Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, J piter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
In addition, around the Sun orbits a belt of asteroids that separates them into two groups: inner planets (the first four) and outer planets (the last four), and there a set of trans-Neptunian objects (among them the ancient planet Pluto), in the so-called Oort Cloud and the Kuiper Belt.
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The Milky Way is the galaxy in which our Solar System is located . It is a barred spiral galaxy, which gathers the mass of 10 12 times the Sun, in a diameter estimated to be 10, 000 light years, equivalent to a trillion and a half kilometers.
Its name comes from Greek mythology, and in Latin means "Way of milk", referring to the breastfeeding of the hero Hercules by the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus. Our Solar System is located in one of the galaxy's arms, in the Orion Constellation, about 28, 000 light years from the galactic center.
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