The study of the physical processes and properties of the planet Earth. Applicable to many subjects about Earth, such as its shape, its magnetic field, and ocean currents.

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Why is there a scarcity of lithium?

One of the major impediments to the widespread adoption of electric cars is a shortage of lithium for the batteries. I read an article a while back that says that there is simply not enough lithium ...
67
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2answers
7k views

In the earth's crust, why is there far more uranium than gold?

In parts per million in the Earth's crust Uranium is around 1.8ppm and Gold 0.003ppm. Given that it takes far more energy to create Uranium than Gold, why is this?
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5answers
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Why is it cold on the sea floor if pressure heats things?

I was reading this and it says that Microsoft put a server farm at the bottom of the ocean because it's cooler there. Particularly it seems to imply that it get's colder as you go deeper, "Since ocean ...
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7answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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Why do some location on Earth have only one tidal maximum per day instead of two?

Most places in the ocean have two high tides and two low tides per "day" (~25 hours). But I remember reading that some locations only have one of each per day. This answer has some great explanations ...
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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?
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3answers
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In atomic bomb tests under ground, where does the volume of the rocks go?

Underground atomic bomb tests are done in a deep, sealed hole. Not all underground tests eject material on the surface. In this case, they are only noticeable as earthquakes, according to german ...
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4answers
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Why is Earth's climate so stable?

Earth wasn't always the only water-world in the solar system. Mars also appear to have started out wet but, as conditions changed, Mars lost its oceans. So, how has Earth managed to avoid a ...
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If the gravity at the center of the Earth is zero, why are heavy elements like iron there?

If gravity is zero at the center of the earth, why is there a core of heavy elements, such as iron? Alternate question for the opposite hypothesis: If gravity is greatest at the center of the earth,...
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Backyard experiments to falsify the Flat Earth theory [duplicate]

I recently became aware that the flat Earth theory still exists in the 21st century, and has colored the views of a friend of mine. Roughly speaking, the tenets are: The Earth is a flat disk, with ...
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4answers
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Difference between sunrise and sunset?

Other than knowing which direction is east and which direction is west, or observing for a sufficient timespan (to determine the direction of motion), is there any way of telling whether what one is ...
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3answers
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Why the distribution of elements on Earth?

I've been wondering exactly why the elements are distributed the way they are on Earth. The heavier elements have their origins in the centers of stars, or in supernovae. After the death of the stars, ...
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2answers
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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 ...
17
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3answers
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How does uranium from supernovae explosions end up in mineral veins in a planet?

The reply to a question about nucleosynthesis, that heavier than iron elements are produced in supernovae explosions, raised for me the following question which I could not answer by googling. ...
15
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3answers
1k views

Is the total energy of earth changing with time?

Many years ego, Earth was hot. Over time, it has lost energy and has become colder. Is it now in equilibrium or is its total energy changing?
15
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1answer
508 views

What is the evidence for the super-rotation of Earth's inner core?

What are the geophysical observations that support (or contradict) the hypothesis that the Earth's inner core rotates at a faster rate than the Earth's mantle? Summary of Answers: 1) Studies of ...
12
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3answers
491 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 ...
12
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1answer
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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: ...
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2answers
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Why heavy elements don't sink to the core?

If earth assembled out of space dust, how come we find heavy elements like gold, silver, uranium and bunch of others that are heavier than iron on the surface? I mean silicon (Si mass 28.084) being ...
10
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6answers
822 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 ...
10
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2answers
503 views

Where did the energy released due to gravitational binding energy of the Earth go?

The gravitational binding energy of the Earth is $2×10^{32} J $, so the same amount of energy must have been released during the Earth's history. According to this and this, the current internal ...
10
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2answers
250 views

Does the geomagnetic field rotate?

The Earth rotates about it's own axis. Do the geomagnetic field lines rotate due to this rotation or not?
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3answers
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Is there evidence to support that the Earth has a molten core?

I am told the Earth has an molten core. Is this a theory or has this been proven?
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How is it that the Earth's atmosphere is not “blown away”?

The Earth moves at a high rate of speed around the Sun, and the solar system is moving quickly around the Milky Way. How is it that the Earth's atmosphere is not “blown away”?
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Can the Earth's magnetic field 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?
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4answers
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How do we know that earth is not perfect sphere?

I've just read here that: Equatorial radius = 6378.16 kilometers. Polar radius = 6356.78 kilometers, so the difference in circumference is 71.1 kilometers. It is not a perfect sphere, but kind ...
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1answer
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What is the source of Earth's magnetic field?

I saw on Discovery channel that the source of Earth's magnetic field is the molten iron and metals in the earth's core. The spinning of these liquid metals produces the same effect as electric current ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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Why do clouds appear black?

I have noticed clouds appearing black during rain. But I don't know what makes clouds to acquire that colour. This phenomenon doesn't appear every rainfall. There has to be distinction to white ...
8
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3answers
599 views

Why does energy in earthquake waves seem to go up with the three halves power?

My question might be based on a false premise, so here's why I asked. If you look up the meaning of the moment magnitude scale for measuring earthquake size, the articles usually say that each ...
8
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3answers
22k views

Is the Earth negatively or positively charged?

The Earth carries a negative electric charge of roughly 500 thousand Coulombs. Does that mean the Earth is negatively charged?
8
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1answer
107 views

Do we have 2 minutes of extra morning?

my physics teacher told me about the refraction and its applications one of them was 2 minutes of early sunrise and after she explained this effect she concluded that days are 2 minutes longer than ...
8
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1answer
167 views

Deviation from power law distribution of earthquakes

One of the most accepted frameworks for the relationship between the magnitude and frequency of an earthquake is that of the critical phenomena. In this framework, the magnitude of events must be ...
8
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1answer
230 views

How loud would a sound have to be to be heard around the world?

I'm reading the book Cosmos by Carl Sagan, and in it he states: Striking the Earth's atmosphere, a modest cometary fragment would produce a great radiant fireball and a mighty blast wave, which ...
8
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2answers
633 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: $\...
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5answers
3k views

Why the water remains on the surface of the Earth?

What makes the water stay on the surface? Why the earth does not absorb the water in it?
7
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658 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 ...
7
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1answer
77 views

Is it possible to determine astronomically/astrophysically whether other planets have ever encountered polarity reversal?

We know of geomagnetic flip in Earth's history by studying geologic data. Given other planets in the system also possess a magnetic field leads to the assumption that such polarity reversal may not be ...
7
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1answer
2k views

What is the temperature of the clear night sky from the surface of Earth?

Before you all jump in with 2.73 K or thereabouts, this is more of an experimental question. It will obviously depend on humidity and radiation being scattered back towards the surface of the Earth. ...
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2answers
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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 ...
7
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5answers
996 views

How does water carve rock?

How does water carve rock? And more generally, how does a soft material carve a hard material? Obviously it happens, but is it a continual process (every drop of soft water carries away a minute ...
7
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1answer
571 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 ...
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5answers
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What sustains the rotation of earth's core (faster than surface)?

I recently read that the earth's core rotates faster than the surface. Well, firstly, it's easier to digest the concept of planetary bodies, stars, galaxies in rotation and/or orbital motion. But, ...
6
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2answers
835 views

Why isn't the Earth's core temperature the average of its surface temperatures?

Assuming that the earth is spherical, that its temperature is continuous, and that some other more or less realistic conditions hold, we might think that the Earth's core temperature should be about ...
6
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2answers
329 views

Why are we not affected by the radiation of the radioactive decay going inside the Earth?

I was reading the question Why has Earth's core not become solid?, and one of the answers says that The core is heated by radioactive decays of Uranium-238, Uranium-235, Thorium-232, and ...
6
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2answers
972 views

Plate tectonics and water

In a couple of places already i've read the following assertion: It is believed that plate tectonics might play an important part in maintaining the presence of water on a planet's surface one ...
6
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2answers
522 views

What is known about the Magnetic North Pole's location before 1800?

I was recently startled to find that the Earth's North Magnetic Pole is moving at upwards of 40 km per year, with an additional ~80 km daily elliptical drift about its mean position due to variations ...
6
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1answer
142 views

Amount of thermal energy in the Earth?

Does anyone know the amount of thermal energy that the Earth's mantle and core possess? I don't mean the maximum limit of electrical power we could generate with geothermal plants, but rather: if you ...
6
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2answers
163 views

Would it be possible for geophysicists/geoengineers to develop an artificial way of trapping carbon in the ocean?

There's a mechanism by which the southern ocean sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. It happens when strong winds displace a large slab of surface water, accumulating in a specific region where the ...
6
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1answer
131 views

What is “kinematic inversion” (from geophysics) in mathematical terms?

I am a mathematician working on a seismic imaging problem, and am currently (attempting to) read some geophysics papers (this one (Ruiz, Madariaga 2011) and this one (Di Carli, Francois-Holden, Peyrat,...