How high does the high tide go? In the Bay of Fundy, Canada, the difference between high and low tides is more than 16 metres. But at several points in the world’s oceans, called the tidal nodes, the sea level doesn’t change at all.
Many of the world’s opals come from a town where the houses are underground and the umbrellas are upside down.
Lake Eyre, in the middle of the Australian Outback, is only a lake when it floods. And when that happens, people like to sail yachts on it.
Oh great, it’s raining blood again! I hope it’s just rain dust from the desert and not intercontinental cloud algae.
What’s the fastest object ever made by humans? In 1957 a 900kg steel plate may have been launched into space by a nuclear explosion, but it has since been eclipsed by far faster things.
When a location is abandoned by humans, nature returns. Sci-fi author Bruce Sterling calls these feral landscapes involuntary parks.
In 1725 Professor Beringer of the University of Würzburg dug up some extraordinary fossils: they contained the name of God written in Hebrew. A book, a court case, and the ruining of several careers ensued.
From 1996 onwards vast swathes of peat swamp in Borneo were cleared to make rice paddies. But then the swamp caught on fire.
How do you measure ocean flow? One sverdrup equals a million cubic metres of water per second. All of the world’s rivers emptying into the ocean is 1.2 sverdrups; the largest current in the world is more than a hundred times larger.
In 2005 a French helicopter pilot landed on top of Mount Everest. In 1972 another French pilot flew more than 12,000 metres up… and then his engine stopped.
There is a storm above the mouth of the Catatumbo River in Venezuela that produces endless lightning – and has been doing so consistently, year-round, for hundreds of years.
When the Apollo 11 astronauts arrived back on Earth, no-one knew whether they were contaminated with secret space viruses or not – so the astronauts stayed in an Airstream trailer under quarantine for three weeks.
A strange honeycomb pattern appears on sea ridges around the world. We think that it is created by living creatures, but no-one has ever seen one. Oh, and there are fossils of the patterns going back 500 million years.
The glacier Okjökull in Iceland died in 2014.
We’ve all heard of the Dead Sea, so salty that people naturally float in it. But the Gaet’ale Pond in Ethiopia is saltier, and the Don Juan Pond in Antarctica is so salty that it doesn’t freeze, even at -50°C.