Around 36 million years ago, an asteroid smashed into what is now the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. New research suggests that, for a brief time, the temperature at the point of impact exceeded 4,300 degrees F (2,370 C), making it the hottest temperature known to have occurred on Earth.
When you think about what makes a planet special, maybe you think about its size, its composition, how far it is from the Sun, and maybe how large its collection of apples is. You are probably not thinking about its density. But maybe you should be.
Four and a half billion years ago, some dust from a cloud orbiting around a star coalesced into a rocky planet. But unlike most of the dusty balls in our solar system, this one was special—it was just the right distance away from the star that one day after the surface had cooled, water could exist as a liquid, rather…
Earth runs on massive amounts of heat, enough to melt iron in the core and create our magnetic field, enough to power the constant movement of plate tectonics. Where all this heat comes from is a mystery...but we're getting closer.
The inner core of our planet is roughly as big as the Moon, and we can only guess what's going on deep inside our planet. We might now have an answer...and it's even more volatile and weird than we thought.
Earth's continents are constantly changing, moving and rearranging themselves over millions of years - affecting Earth's climate and biology. Every few hundred million years, the continents combine to create massive, world-spanning supercontinents. Here's the past and future of Earth's supercontinets.
Nearly a mile underground, there's an entire ecosystem carving out a rather alien existence in the deepest layer of Earth's crust. These bacteria are totally unlike their brethren nearer the surface, and there might be even stranger bacteria further down.