Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Water, water everywhere

When you look at a photo of Earth what is most noticeable is that our planet is blue. Not red like Mars or cloud covered like Venus. Our home is 71% covered in water and the oceans are rather deep. And so we may think, there's a lot of water, but that's not actually true.

If you collected all the water on the Earth into a sphere (oceans, icecaps, atmosphere, everything) the water sphere would have a diameter of 1,385 kilometers (about 860 miles), and span the distance from Salt Lake City, Utah to Topeka, Kansas. It would have a volume of about 1,386 million cubic kilometers (roughly 332,500,000 cubic miles). And again this sounds big but a picture tells the real story:

Wow that looks small. How can we possibly fill the oceans from such a small drop? The answer is height. The water bubble is 860 miles high in the artist rendering. The deepest part of the ocean is just under 7 miles. The oceans are but a thin sheet of water compared to the water sphere.

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