How much of planet Earth is made of water? Very little, actually. Although oceans of water cover about 70 percent of Earth’s surface, these oceans are shallow compared to the Earth’s radius. The featured illustration shows what would happen if all of the water on or near the surface of the Earth were bunched up into a ball. The radius of this ball would be only about 700 kilometers, less than half the radius of the Earth’s Moon, but slightly larger than Saturn’s moon Rhea which, like many moons in our outer Solar System, is mostly water ice. The next smallest ball depicts all of Earth‘s liquid fresh water, while the tiniest ball shows the volume of all of Earth’s fresh-water lakes and rivers. How any of this water came to be on the Earth and whether any significant amount is trapped far beneath Earth‘s surface remain topics of research.
Image & info via APOD
Illustration Credit: Jack Cook, Adam Nieman, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Data source: Igor Shiklomanov
September 26, 2022 at 3:07 pm
I have been using this graphic for the last 10 years as one of the clear examples of proportion and quantity, to explain people that the climate change is a natural phenomenon, not man made…
September 26, 2022 at 5:37 pm
this is the one that triggered my skepticism, it is the cross section of the Atlantic Ocean, and you can see the depth of the ocean is not thicker than a ball point line: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ge3Tq87e-_JvcF6YaQsk7SEsRRF8rzFr/view?usp=sharing
September 26, 2022 at 6:34 pm
this other graphic, also found it many years ago, about the incidence / quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere, was an aye opener for me.