Earth / dates and numbers

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The Earth - Eastern Hemisphere

The earth in data and numbers provides an overview of the essential characteristics of the earth in terms of its planetoid , geographical , climatic and cultural properties, combined with a listing of the planet's geographical records .

Asteroid features

Data on the position in the solar system

The earth orbit

The Earth is the fifth largest and the sun third closest planet of the solar system . It moves in an elliptical orbit around the sun, with the point of the orbit furthest from the sun ( aphelion ) being reached around July 5th and the point closest to the sun ( perihelion ) around January 3rd. The mean value of the aphelion and perihelion distance is the major semi-axis of the ellipse and is about 149.6 million km. The sun's orbit is completed after 365.256 days ( sidereal year ).

Data on the position in the solar system
Distance to the sun Mean value ( semi-axes of the ellipse ) 149.60 million km (1 AU )
Distance to the sun Greatest distance ( aphelion ) 152.10 million km
Distance to the sun Closest distance ( perihelion ) 147.09 million km
Speed ​​of rotation Mean value (mean orbital velocity) 29.78 km / s
Circulation speed in the perihelion Maximum orbital velocity 30.29 km / s
Circulation speed in aphelion minimum orbital velocity 29.29 km / s
Duration of the sun's orbit Sidereal year 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.54 seconds
Covered track Sidereal period 939,800,765.952 km
Duration of the sun's orbit Tropical year 365 days, 5 hours, 48 ​​minutes and 45.26 seconds
Speed ​​of the earth's rotation at the equator 0.463 km / s
Duration of one earth rotation middle sidereal day 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09 seconds
Duration of one earth rotation mean sunny day 24 hours, 0 minutes and 0 seconds

Basic data of the earth

The inclination of the earth's axis

Due to the centrifugal force of the earth's rotation, the earth does not have an ideal spherical shape, but rather a flattening . The equatorial circumference is about 43 km longer than the circumference over the two poles. In addition, the earth's axis is inclined to the vertical axis of the ecliptic , which leads to climate-defining seasons .

Atmosphere of the earth

Structure of the earth's atmosphere

The earth's atmosphere comprises the troposphere (with a height between 8 km and 18 km) at the lowest level, the stratosphere (up to a height of 50 km) and mesosphere (with a height between 80 and 90 km) and in the uppermost areas the thermosphere . The layers close to the ground have a fairly uniform composition up to a height of about 90 km and form the homosphere . The transition between the earth's atmosphere and space is continuous and therefore no sharp upper limit can be drawn.

Atmosphere of the earth
Mass of the atmosphere 5.15  x  10 18 kg
medium pressure at zero level 1013.25  hPa
mean air density at zero level 1.217 kg / m³
Volume proportions of the air in the layers close to the ground (without water):
nitrogen 78.1%
oxygen 20.9%
argon 0.9%
other <0.1%

In addition, depending on the humidity , the atmosphere contains up to four percent by volume of water vapor with an average of 1.3% near the ground.

Structure and composition of the earth

Schematic structure of the earth

The interior of the earth is made up of several shells. The elements iron, oxygen, silicon and magnesium make up approx. 93% of the weight of the earth, whereby the chemical composition of the individual earth shells differs considerably. In the center is the solid core of the earth with a radius of about 1250 km, which mainly consists of iron (86.3%) and nickel (7.3%). This is followed by the outer core of the earth with a thickness of around 2200 km, which consists of iron with an admixture of 10–15% sulfur and / or oxygen. Above it arches the 2900 km thick layer of the mantle made of viscoplastic rock ( silicates and oxides), which is enclosed by the relatively thin and hard crust . This also consists of silicates and oxides, but is also enriched with elements that do not occur in the earth's mantle.

Mass percentage composition of the earth (excluding atmosphere)
iron 35.0%
oxygen 30.0%
Silicon 15.0%
magnesium 13.0%
nickel 2.4%
sulfur 1.9%
aluminum 1.1%
Calcium 1.1%
other <1.0%
Mass fraction of the composition of the earth's crust
oxygen 46.60%
Silicon 27.22%
aluminum 8.13%
iron 5.00%
Calcium 3.63%
sodium 2.83%
potassium 2.59%
magnesium 2.09%
other <1.0%

Geographical features

The surface of the earth (computer animation)

Structure of the earth's surface

The earth's surface forms the boundary layer between the earth's crust - consisting of the oceanic or continental crust - on the one hand and the atmosphere on the other. The oceanic water area accounts for a total of 70.7%, while the land area that rises above sea ​​level mainly comprises the continents with 29.3%.

The earth shows a clear division of its surface into the land hemisphere with the maximum land share and the water hemisphere , which is dominated by oceans.

Structure of the earth's surface
Total area of ​​the earth 510,000,000 km 2 100.0%
Water surface 360,570,000 km 2 70.7%
Land area 149,430,000 km 2 29.3%
Land area excluding Antarctica 135,281,639 km 2 (2011) 100.0%
Agricultural area 49,116,226 km 2 (2011) 36.31%
Forest area 40,274,680 km 2 (2011) 29.77%
other areas
(deserts, fallow land, mountains, built-up areas)
41,313,584 km 2 (2011) 30.54%
Inland waters
(lakes, rivers)
4,577,149 km 2 (2011) 3.38%


Largest peninsula Arabian Peninsula 3 million km²
Largest island in a lake Manitoulin in Lake Huron (to Canada ) 2,777 km²
Largest island in a river Ilha do Bananal in the Rio Araguaia (to Brazil ) 19,162 km²
Longest mountain range Mid-ocean ridge 7000-8000 km long

1500 km wide
6000 m high

Waters of the earth

The waters include, on the one hand, the seas , which are divided into five oceans including the secondary seas , and, on the other hand, the inland waters , which include all flowing and standing water within the continental borders.


rank location Surname Area
in km²
in km²
1 Pacific Map.png Pacific Ocean  1) 166,240,000 181,340,000
2 Atlantic map.png Atlantic Ocean  1) 84,110,000 89,758,000
3 Indian Ocean.png Indian Ocean  1) 73,430,000
4th Antarctic Ocean.png Antarctic Ocean 20,327,000
5 Arctic Map.png Arctic Ocean 12,260,000 14,090,000
1) without side seas 2) with secondary seas

The deepest sea sinks

The average sea depth is 3,800 m. That is about five times the mean altitude of the continents at 800 m (see hypsographic curve ). The deepest point of the sea floor is in the Mariana Trench, about 11,000 m below sea level.

rank Surname region Depth in  m
1 Witjastief 1 , Mariana Trench Pacific 11.034 (11.022 wire solder) 1
2 Challenger Deep , Mariana Trench Pacific 10,984 ± 25 (10,863 wire solder)
3 Trieste Deep , Mariana Trench Pacific 10,916

1 controversial measurements from 1957


Nebenmeer is a generic term for inland , Mediterranean and marginal seas .

rank location Surname Area in km²
6th Southeast asia.jpg Australasian Mediterranean 9,080,000
7th Map Caribbean Islands.png American Mediterranean 4,354,000
8th Blank map of South Europe and North Africa.svg European Mediterranean 2,500,000
9 LA2-Bering-Sea.png Bering Sea 2,160,000
10 Sea of ​​Okhotsk map with state labels.png Sea of ​​Okhotsk 1,390,000
11 Hudsonbay.png Hudson Bay 1,230,000
12 East China Sea.png East China Sea 1,200,000
13 Japan sea map German.png Japanese sea 1,010,000
14th Mer du Nord-vierge.png North Sea 580,000
15th Mer rouge1b.jpg Red Sea 450,000
16 Black Sea and Surroundings.png Black Sea 424,000
17th Overview map Ostsee.svg Baltic Sea 390,000
Persian Gulf DE.PNG Persian Gulf 240,000
Gulf of Saint Lawrence 2.jpg Gulf of Saint Lawrence 240,000
19th Golftümmler.png Gulf of California 160,000
20th IrishSeaReliefmap.png Irish Sea 100,000
Others 290,000

Largest natural lakes

Caspian Sea
rank Surname region Area
in km²
1 Caspian Sea Azerbaijan - Russia - Kazakhstan - Turkmenistan - Iran 386,400
2 Lake Superior USA / Canada 82,414
3 Lake Victoria Kenya - Tanzania - Uganda 68,894

For reservoirs see: List of the largest reservoirs on earth

The deepest lakes

rank Surname region Depth in  m
1 Baikal lake Russia 1642
2 Lake Tanganyika Tanzania - DR Congo - Zambia - Burundi 1470
3 Caspian Sea Azerbaijan - Russia - Kazakhstan - Turkmenistan - Iran 1025

The longest rivers

rank flow continent Length
in km
1 Amazon South America 6992
2 Nile Africa 6852
3 Yangtze River Asia 6380

The highest waterfalls

rank waterfall Region / country height
1 Angel somersault Venezuela 979 m
2 Tugela Falls South Africa 948 m
3 Yumbilla Peru 870 m

Land masses of the earth


The surface of the earth measures 510 million km². The share of the land area is around 148.9 million km² (29%). The country is spread over continents and islands.

Depending on the method of counting, a distinction is made between up to seven continents: Asia , Africa , North America , South America , Antarctica , Australia / Oceania and Europe (Europe, as the large western peninsula of Asia, has probably never been an independent unit in the context of plate tectonics).

The categorical demarcation between Australia as the smallest continent and Greenland as the largest island was only established purely conventionally.

rank location continent surface
1 Location of Eurasia.svg Eurasia
(excluding the polar islands)
54.5 million km²
2 Location of America.svg America
(excluding polar regions)
38.3 million km²
3 Location of Africa.svg Africa 29.3 million km²
4th LocationAntarctica.png Antarctic 13.2 million km²
5 Location of Australia.svg Oceania 7.7 million km²

Islands of the earth

rank location island Area in km²
1 Grønland + grid.png Greenland 2,130,800
2 Map of New Guinea.png New Guinea 785.753
3 Borneo politisch.png Borneo 743.330

The deepest depressions

Dead Sea
rank Surname region Depth in  m
sea ​​level
1 Bentley subglacial moat Antarctica 2496
2 Shores of the Dead Sea Israel , West Bank , Jordan 420
3 Shores of the Sea of ​​Galilee Israel , Syria 212

The highest elevations (mountains) above sea level

Mount Everest
rank mountain Mountains / land Height in
1 Mount Everest Himalaya / China , Nepal 8848
2 K2 Karakoram / Pakistan 8611
3 Kangchenjunga Himalaya / India , Nepal 8586

The highest point on the equatorial line is on the southern flank of the Cayambe in Ecuador .

The highest volcanoes

rank Name 1) Mountains / State Height in  m
sea ​​level
1 Nevado Ojos del Salado Andes / Argentina , Chile 6893
2 Tupungato Andes / Chile 6550
3 Guallatiri Andes / Chile 6071

The largest deserts

rank Desert (region) Area in km²
1 Antarctica ( Antarctica ) 13,200,000
2 Sahara ( North Africa ) 8,700,000
3 Greenland 2,160,000

Climatic features

The seasons


Earth's climate belt

The temperature extremes measured on earth are −89.2 ° C (measured on July 21, 1983 in the Vostok station in Antarctica at an altitude of 3420 meters) and +56.7 ° C (measured on July 10, 1913 in Death Valley at 54 m below sea level ).

The mean temperature near the ground is 15 ° C. The speed of sound at this temperature is about 340 m / s in the air at sea level.

Highest air temperature Death Valley +56.7 ° C (on July 10, 1913)
Lowest air temperature Vostok , Antarctica −89.2 ° C (on July 21, 1983)
Most rainy place Cherrapunji , India 26,470 mm within 12 months
The place with the lowest rainfall Arica , Chile Average of 0.8 mm per year

Cultural characteristics


Country with the poorest population Vatican city 829 inhabitants (March 2011)
Country with the smallest area Vatican city 0.44 km²
Country with the lowest population density Greenland 0.026 inhabitants / km² (2013)
Longest border between two countries USA / Canada 8890 km
Longest coast in a country Canada approx. 200,000 km


See the full list of countries in the world

The largest countries in terms of area

rank location country Area in km²
1 LocationRussia.svg RussiaRussia Russia 17,098,242
2 LocationCanada.svg CanadaCanada Canada 9,984,670
3 LocationUSA.svg United StatesUnited States United States 9,826,675

The most populous countries

rank country Population
in millions
1 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 1380
2 IndiaIndia India 1314
3 United StatesUnited States United States 326

Countries with the greatest population density

rank country Inhabitants / km²
1 MonacoMonaco Monaco 15,250
2 SingaporeSingapore Singapore 6,744
3 Vatican cityVatican Vatican city 1,884

(cf. Germany 230 inhabitants / km²)

Metropolitan areas with the most inhabitants

rank Surname Population in millions
(as of 2009)
1 Tokyo Metropolitan Area , Japan 36-43
2 Jabodetabek , Indonesia 26-28
3 Shanghai , China 24-26

The highest cities

rank city Country (region) Height in m
1 La Rinconada Peru 5099
2 Wenzhuan China ( Tibet ) 5019
3 El Aguilar Argentina 4895

Most spoken languages

rank language Distribution area (selection) Speakers in millions of which as mother tongue
1 English Great Britain , Ireland , USA , Australia , New Zealand , Ghana , South Africa , Canada , Jamaica , Kenya , Cameroon , Gambia , Belize 1500 375
2 Standard Chinese North, East and Central China 1100 982
3 Hindi India 650 460

The spread of religions

rank distribution religion Main distribution areas Followers
(in millions)
1 Christianity percentage by country (2008) .png Christianity Europe , Oceania , parts of Africa , North and South America 2200
2 Islam percentage by country.png Islam Europe , Middle East , North Africa , Indonesia 1387
3 Hindu distribution.png Hinduism India , Indonesia , Nepal 1050


Highest natural cold water geyser Geyser Andernach near Andernach , Germany 60 m
Highest navigable lake Lake Titicaca , Peru , Bolivia 3812  m
Deepest cave (level difference) Voronya (also: Krubera Cave ), Georgia 2191 m
Narrowest strait Euripos Canal , Evia , Greece 40 m
Biggest gorge Dihang Gorges , Tibet ( People's Republic of China ) approx. 500 km long, approx. 21 km wide (?), max. 6000 m deep.
Biggest cave Mammoth Cave , United States of America 590 km corridor length
Largest cave room Sarawak Chamber , Malaysia 600 m × 400 m × 100 m (L / W / H)
Largest monolith Mount Augustus , Australia 92 km²
Largest coral reef Great Barrier Reef , Australia approx. 2000 km long, 260,000 km²
Largest atoll (excluding dry land, submarine) Saya de Malha Bank , western Indian Ocean approx. 35,000 km²
Largest atoll (by area / circumference / diameter) Great Chagos Bank, Chagos Islands 12,642 km²
Largest tidal range Bay of Fundy , Canada over 16 m
Largest ice cave Eisriesenwelt in Werfen , Austria approx. 42 km corridor length

Individual evidence

  1. NASA (NSSDC): Earth Fact Sheet
  2. [1] (PDF; 76 kB)
  3. Lexicon of Geosciences: Erdkern
  4. [2]
  5. [3]
  6. a b c d e according to FAOSTAT - FAOSTAT
  7. a b c d e Global Weather & Climate Extremes at , accessed on December 22, 2013.


See also