Welcome to the World
We all live somewhere on Planet Earth!
The Earth. You might call it the world, the Blue Planet, or by its Latin name, Terra. Whatever you call it, we all call it home. This big blue marble is the third rock (planet) from the Sun. Our planet is the most dense and the fifth-largest of the planets in the Sol System. We also have the distinction of being the largest of the four terrestrial planets. Earth is where we “hang our hat” and exist.
The outer surface of this big blue world is divided into several rigid segments known as tectonic plates. Due to the liquid core of the planet, these plates migrate across the surface over many millions of years. As you may imagine, the movement of these plates cause earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and oceanic trench formation along their boundaries.
Sounds like a rather hostile place, doesn’t it?
On the other hand, this planet named Earth is beautiful in the extreme. There is so much to see and so many things to do. Forests and fauna plus mountains and valleys that are amazing in their beauty.
Unlike the other planets in the solar system, Earth does not take its name from an ancient Greek or Roman god. The name “Earth” goes back to the Old English word eorþe (variant spelling: eorðe), which means ground or soil, and is cognate with the German word Erde. It became erthe in Middle English. The standard astronomical symbol of the Earth consists of a cross circumscribed by a circle.
So how big is this planet we live on? Well, the surface area is about 510,072,000 km2. That’s 197,000,000 square miles. Pretty big, but not so much when compared to some other planets. Still, I wouldn’t want to try to walk around it. Of the surface, 148,940,000 km2 is land land (29.2 %) and 361,132,000 km2 is water (70.8 %). Walking on the land is fine, but the water presents more of a problem. Even as large as Earth is, travel is not a big problem. We provide information to help you plan your travel. Visit the Travel Center.
Earth is a terrestrial planet. That means it is a rocky body, rather than a gas giant like Jupiter. Earth also has the highest density, the highest surface gravity, the strongest magnetic field, and fastest rotation It is probably the only terrestrial planet with active plate tectonics. Kinda cool, huh?
We think of Earth as being round. Actually, it is an oblate spheroid. That just means it is a slightly flattened ball with a bulge in the middle. The bulge results from the rotation of the Earth. You might be thinking the Earth is flat or the bulge is big. Neither is true. The rotation causes the diameter at the equator (the bulge) to be 43 km (kilometer) larger than the pole-to-pole diameter.
A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth. They are generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, with seven regions commonly regarded as continents—they are (from largest in size to smallest): Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.
Depending on the model used, the planet Earth can have from 4 to 7 continents. The seven-continent model is usually taught in China, India, parts of Western Europe and most English-speaking countries. The six-continent (combined-America) model is used in Spanish-speaking countries and in some parts of Eastern Europe including Greece (equivalent 5 inhabited continents model (i.e. excluding Antarctica) still also found in texts).
We hope that you will find the information here of use to you as you discover this “big, green marble”.