physics of the Earth and its environment in space. Its subjects include the shape of the Earth, its gravitational and magnetic fields, the dynamics of the Earth as a whole and of its component parts, the Earth's internal structure, the generation of magmas, the hydrological cycle including snow and ...

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41
votes
7answers
3k views

Why is the Earth so fat?

I made a naive calculation of the height of Earth's equatorial bulge and found that it should be about 10km. The true height is about 20km. My question is: why is there this discrepancy? The ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does the sky change color?

Why the sky is blue during the day, red during sunrise/set and black during the night?
5
votes
3answers
5k views

Can the Earth's magnetic be used to generate electricity?

Since the Earth has a magnetic field, can it, in theory, be run through a conductive metal coil to create electricity?
10
votes
6answers
661 views

Tsunami dampening mechanisms

Encouraged by the zeitgeist let me ask the following: Is it feasible (now or in the future) to build systems a certain distance of a vulnerable coastline which can serve to dampen a tsunami before it ...
12
votes
3answers
249 views

Radio-dating and the age of the earth

I understand there are a few radio-dating methods to determine the age of the earth, uranium-lead to name one (maybe not the best though). The ratio Pb206 + Pb207 to U allows you to find when the ...
2
votes
3answers
261 views

Why does the wind direction vary locally?

If the air is flowing with the earth, as it rotates, how do we feel a breeze and strong winds at times, as everyone has experienced, the wind shifts as if from many directions.
0
votes
3answers
825 views

No uncertainty for standard gravitational acceleration?

The other day I asked about the uncertainty of light, and this issue triggered me to start looking into other physical constants and try to understand why other constants have no uncertainty. One of ...
-3
votes
4answers
1k views

Electro Magnetic Waves can cause matter displacement?

After watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1jIjx0XF_U The experience is made with a speaker that generates a sound wave or mechanic wave. Can you use this to establish a link to ...
110
votes
15answers
32k views

How do I explain to a 6 year old why people on the other side of the Earth don't fall off? [closed]

Today a friend's 6 year old sister asked me the question "why don't people on the other side of the earth fall off?". I tried to explain that the Earth is a huge sphere and there's a special force ...
25
votes
3answers
2k views

Why has Earth's core not become solid?

The Earth is billions of years old, yet its core has not yet cooled down and become solid. Will this happen in the foreseeable future?
12
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the net charge of the Earth?

This question arose in a seminar today about the solar wind... This is my vagueish understanding of the problem - please correct if you see errors! The 'classical' picture of atmospheric electricity ...
7
votes
2answers
259 views

rotational oblateness

I am trying to compute the amount of oblateness that is caused by planetary rotation. I picture the force of gravity added to the centrifugal force caused by the rotation of the planet as follows: ...
7
votes
2answers
634 views

Is the total mass of Earth's atmosphere essentially constant in time?

Per a few questions and comments on this site such as Huge buildings affect earth's rotation? I wonder, is the mass of the Earth's atmosphere roughly constant? We're burning an incredible amount ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What would happen if the Earth was tidally locked with the Sun?

I'm thinking of writing a short story set on a version of Earth that is tidally locked to the Sun. I'm not exactly sure how to research the topic. Here's a number of questions about what would happen: ...
7
votes
4answers
537 views

Can a small change in the Earth temperature give rise to large-scale climate changes?

Earth's atmosphere is a chaotic system. In such systems arbitrarily small changes the conditions can give rise to very large effects. There are many rumors about the physical and large scale ...
5
votes
2answers
465 views

How does Earth's interior dynamo work?

I'm interested in getting a basic physical understanding of how Earth's magnetic field is generated. I understand that it's a "dynamo" type of effect, driven by convection currents in the molten outer ...
5
votes
1answer
325 views

Why are cold thunderstorms rare?

FYI: I imagine the physics of thunderstorms involves wind stripping electrons from condensed water cells (raindrops or snowflakes). Like a Van De Graaff generator, sort of; I'm also using Wilson's ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Physics of tsunami: the relationship between wavelength, sea depth and the height of the water

If I understand correctly, when an earthquake occurs, energy will be transferred to the water, resulting in water waves. As the waves reach seashore, because the sea depth is getting shallower and ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How long does it take an iceberg to melt in the ocean?

This is a quantitative question. The problem is inspired by this event: On August 5, 2010, an enormous chunk of ice, roughly 97 square miles (251 square kilometers) in size, broke off the Petermann ...
1
vote
1answer
425 views

What is the deepest man-made underground tunnel? [closed]

What is the deepest tunnel in the Earth's surface? I have meet numbers, around 300km. What is the main problem to make tunnel more deeper? What is the problem with 1000km?