Nature fast facts
In 1999, there were four consecutive full moons making two blue moons (on January 2 and 31, March 2 and 31.) The only other time it happened in the 20th century was in 1915 (on January 1 and 31, March 1 and 31.)
28% of Africa is wilderness – the percentage of North America that is wilderness is 38%.
Very small clouds that look like they have been broken off of bigger clouds are called scuds.
The amount of tropical rain forest cut down each year is an area the size of Tennessee.
-40 degrees Celsius is equal to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lightning travels between clouds, from clouds to earth or from the ground upwards.
Cloud-to-ground lightning. Img Wikipedia.
Lightning strikes men about 7 times more often than it does women.
9 out of 10 lightning strike victims survive.
Winds that blow toward the equator curve west.
Hurricanes, tornadoes and bigger bodies of water always go clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. This directional spinning has to do with the rotation of the earth and is called the Coriolis force.
Luke Howard used Latin words to categorize clouds in 1803.
Mt. Vernon Washington grows more tulips than the entire country of Holland.
The US state of Maryland has no natural lakes.
The Amazon rain forest produces half the world’s oxygen supply.
South Africa’s Western Cape is more botanically diverse than the richest tropical rainforest in South America, including the Amazon.
The smallest desert in the world is the Red desert in Port Edward area, South Africa.
The Hudson River along the island of Manhattan flows in either direction depending upon the tide.
Sunbeams that shine down through the clouds are called crepuscular rays.
On a dewy morning, if you look at your shadow in the grass, the dew drops shine light back to your eye, creating a halo called a heilgenschein (German for halo).
Kudzu is not indigenous to the South, but in that climate it can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) a day.
The Fort George Point in Belize City was formed by the silt runoff of Hurricane Hattie.
There is a quarter pound of salt in a gallon of sea water.
Tsunamis travel as fast as jet planes.
A volcano has enough power to shoot ash as high as 50 km into the atmosphere.
An earthquake on December 16, 1811 caused parts of the Mississippi River to flow backwards.
In 10 minutes, a hurricane releases more energy than all the world’s nuclear weapons combined.
Florida has more tornados per square mile than any other state.
One gallon of used motor oil can ruin approximately one million gallons of fresh water.
The average home creates more pollution than does the average car.
10 of the tributaries flowing into the Amazon river are as big as the Mississippi river.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is 1,250 miles (2,000 km) long.
Dirty snow melts faster than clean snow.
It snows more in the Grand Canyon than it does in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On average, a Western family uses about 18,000 gallons of water just to do its laundry.
The winter of 1932 in the United States was so cold that Niagara falls froze completely solid.
The warmest temperature ever recorded on Antarctica was 3 degrees F.
Diamonds mined in Brazil are generally harder than those found in Africa.
Ears of corn always have an even number of rows of kernels.
The saguaro cactus, found in south-western United States, starts growing branches when it is 75 years old.
The bark of an older redwood tree is fireproof.
A fully grown redwood tree expels more than 2 tons of water through its leaves in a day.
Oak trees do not have acorns until they are 50 years old or older.
Oak trees can live 200 or more years.
An olive tree can live up to 1,500 years.
Oak trees are struck by lightning more than any other tree.
Bamboo plants can grow up to 36 inches (90 cm) in a day.
More than 900 million trees are cut down every year to meet the demand of American pulp mills and paper.
The average temperature at 40,000 feet above sea level is -60 F.
The tallest waterfalls in the world are Angel Falls in Venezuela. At 3,212 ft (979 m), they are 19 times taller than the Niagara Falls, or 3 times taller than the Empire State Building.
Although the Angel Falls are much taller than the Niagara Falls, the latter are much wider, and they both pour about the same amount of water over their edges – about 748 million gallons (2,8 billion litres) per second.
Moist air holds heat better than dry air.
People fleeing desertification are called Okies. It is derived from the dust bowl migrants from Oklahoma and the Plains during the 1920s.
A drought lasting two decades or longer is classified as a megadrought (mega-drought). Starting in the 9th century, the Sierra Nevada suffered a 200-year megadrought. The African Sahel region has suffered multiple megadroughts throughout history, with the most recent lasting from approximately 1400 AD to 1750 AD.
There are more than 50,000 earthquakes throughout the world every year.
Each unit on the Richter Scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times larger than a preceding number and an energy release factor of 31.6. An earthquake measuring 6 on the Richter Scale is almost 32 times more powerful than a 5. 2 is the smallest that can be felt unaided. Though the scale goes to 10, 9 is estimated to be the point of total tectonic destruction.
The living does not outnumber the dead: since the creation about 60 billion people have died.