Thursday, May 10, 2012

All the World's Water Would Form a Sphere Only 860 Miles Wide

I really like the old post I did based off the Google Earth image below.  The picture shows the Pacific Ocean upside down.  Pondering on this image forces one to rethink their mental map and concept of the world's geography.

Now the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has given us a new geographical tidbit which forces us yet again to reexamine the world. 

The image is based off the USGS study which states that despite the fact 70 percent of the world's surface is water, all the water in the world would form a sphere stretching only 860 miles (1,385 kilometers).  The USGS states that this equals the distance from Salt Lake City, Utah to Topeka, Kansas.  For our European readers this is almost exactly the distance between London and Zagreb, Croatia.

Now for the truly mind blowing fact.  USGS estimates that freshwater comprises only 2.5 percent of all water, so I calculate that all the world's fresh water would form a sphere stretching only 21.5 miles (34.6 kilometers)!  That is shorter than some people's commute.


Jason said...

A sphere with a diameter of 21.5 miles would have a volume of 5204 cubic miles. Wikipedia puts the volume of the great lakes at 5439 cubic miles, so something appears a little off there.

Catholicgauze said...

Interesting. I'll look into this and provide an update. Thank you.