150 votes
Accepted

What place on Earth is closest to the Sun?

This is an interesting question, but it lacks a key factor that is crucial to the answer: TIME. The point on Earth closest to the Sun varies through time, so the question can be asked about any ...
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83 votes

Are there any saltwater rivers on Earth?

The water in any river draining the sea is infinitely recycle-able (from rain replenishment), whereas the salt from any terrestrial source is not. So salty rivers, if any, won't exist permanently. ...
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50 votes
Accepted

What is the line crossing the Pacific Ocean that is shown on maps?

It's the international date line and marks the boundary between the time zones that are +12 and -12 hours from UTC / Greenwich. It should follow the +/-180 degree meridian line, but zigs and zags to ...
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  • 745
45 votes

Is there any river that does not discharge into larger body of water?

The Okavango River is a good example of this. It drains into a swampy delta in the middle of the Kalahari desert: The Okavango Delta, CC BY Justin Hall.
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39 votes

What is the line crossing the Pacific Ocean that is shown on maps?

Mkennedy's answer is right at identifying that line as the international date line and explaining how it works. However, I'd like to add on the main weird points of the line. North to south: In the ...
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  • 829
35 votes

Is there any river that does not discharge into larger body of water?

The Colorado River frequently fails to reach the Gulf of California, mostly due to diversion to agricultural and metropolitan uses upstream. This National Geographic post from 2014 elaborates on the ...
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  • 2,822
34 votes

Are there any saltwater rivers on Earth?

The already accepted answer is already covering the "real" answer as far as I'm concerned, and while you won't find many (any?) saline rivers in the traditional sense, we do have underwater &...
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31 votes

What is the deepest we have ever gone into the Earth?

Probably a bit over 4 km, in this South African mine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mponeng_Gold_Mine But as the link mentions, the mine operators go to considerable lengths to reduce the mine ...
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  • 1,658
31 votes
Accepted

How do oases form in the middle of the desert?

Oasis are places where aquifers are connected to the surface. The source of the water in the aquifer however can be hundreds of miles away in areas that do get significant rainfall. The trick is ...
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  • 6,464
28 votes

Are there any saltwater rivers on Earth?

The Pecos River in Texas, USA may arguably fit the description of a "saltwater river". A point of argument is what is considered to be "saltwater". For comparison, here are some ...
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28 votes
Accepted

Where is the calmest place on Earth?

The main resistance that winds have to their movements comes from the topography and surface obstacles. Therefore, as a general rule the closer to the surface the less wind you will find. But I guess ...
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28 votes

Is there any river that does not discharge into larger body of water?

The concepts you are looking for are two categories of drainage basins, endhoreic basins and cryptorheic basins. Endhoreic basins are drainage basins that do not drain to the oceans, either above ...
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  • 20.2k
26 votes

Is there any river that does not discharge into larger body of water?

There are rivers that don't flow into seas or lakes if you consider influent rivers. Which are rivers that loose water to the ground (seeps into aquifers). For example "big lost river" of ...
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24 votes

Are there any saltwater rivers on Earth?

Water from the Caspian sea, with a salinity of 1.2%, is constantly flowing into Garabogazköl, where the water eventually evaporates and leaves the salt behind. Of course, the situation is not ...
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22 votes
Accepted

Does gravity differ from place to place on Earth

There is an entire field of Geophysics called gravimetry dedicated to measuring the magnitude of the gravitational field. First, we should distinguish between weight (a force) and gravity (an ...
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  • 14.7k
20 votes
Accepted

Why is there a line of volcanoes along the northwest coast of North America?

The Cascades (the volcanic range that Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Ranier are a part of) are "arc volcanoes" (a.k.a. "a volcanic arc", etc). Volcanic arcs form at a regular distance (and fairly regular ...
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  • 1,276
19 votes
Accepted

What percent of volcanoes are glaciated?

21.7%, by my calculations (338 / 1556 holocene-active volcanoes). I calculated perennial snow by combining 6 weeks of MOD10A2 data from winter and summer weeks in 2014 to figure out which pixels had ...
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  • 2,563
19 votes

What is the deepest we have ever gone into the Earth?

Since you termed it based on sea level, the gold mines in South Africa are not the deepest, they begin at an elevation of ~1500 m, meaning their 4 km depth is only 2.5 km below sea level. The Kidd ...
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  • 291
19 votes

Other than tectonic activity, what can reshape a world's surface?

Erosion is a powerful but slow and time consuming process that can make dramatic changes. The best example of this is the Grand Canyon. Carved by a river over at least 17 million years, 5000 to 10,000 ...
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  • 20.7k
18 votes

How much distance does $0.001^\circ$ in latitude or longitude represent?

I don't understand the last sentence about decimal places, but I can tell you about the relationship between lat, long and distance. Over two centuries ago, the meter was defined as one ten-millionth ...
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  • 1,177
18 votes
Accepted

How to quickly or easily prove the world is spherical?

To answer my own question based on the useful comments here, my favorite methods were: The earth's shadow cast on the moon during an eclipse. It is easy to observe and the flat earth counter argument ...
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  • 361
18 votes

How to quickly or easily prove the world is spherical?

I'm sorry that this answer will be unsatisfactory and, strictly spoken, off topic, but I want to give it anyway. The answer is: You can't. Don't waste your time. Your relative has developed a ...
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18 votes

Are there any saltwater rivers on Earth?

Here in New York City we have a salt "river". It is called the "East River" and it separates part of Long Island (Brooklyn and Queens) from the island of Manhattan and the mainland (The Bronx). ...
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  • 297
18 votes

Other than tectonic activity, what can reshape a world's surface?

Asteroid strikes. Anything from a smallish crater to re-liquefying the surface of the planet.
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17 votes
Accepted

What is this weird looking structure in Ethiopian desert?

Zoom in for the clues. The lines are not radiating out from the village, but from the cattle kraals. These kraals are irregular enclosures built of acacia thorn, agave and other thorny bushes. The ...
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17 votes
Accepted

How did the Ural mountains form?

The Ural mountains are one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth. They started forming about 300 Ma ago by the subduction of the oceanic crust once attached to the Kazakhstania plate under the ...
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17 votes

Other than tectonic activity, what can reshape a world's surface?

Glaciers come to mind. Their movements over hundreds or thousands of years can abrade rock and debris from their substrate to create landforms such as cirques [enclosed valleys from which the ...
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  • 2,491
16 votes
Accepted

Are there known ore deposits under cities?

One example of an ore deposit that runs under a city is the banded iron formation ore in Kiruna. In this case the ore has been mined outside of the city since the turn of the previous century. The ore ...
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15 votes
Accepted

What were the tallest mountain ranges in Earth's geological past?

Factors determining the maximum possible height of mountains include the rate of uplift versus the rate of erosion[a] and rock strength. Rock strength is controlled by the type and internal structure ...
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  • 2,826
15 votes

In the northern hemisphere only, what percentage of the surface is land?

I get 40.4% With a workflow using a tiny bit of Python. After Polygorial‘s comment I am adding (Updated on Feb 17, 2021) point zero to state more explicitly that this method requires a map like the ...
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  • 649

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