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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Gravity's Potato

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Sunday, December 21, 2014/Categories: natural history, art and design, environment

If you're like me, you probably thought gravity was a constant anywhere you stood. Think again! The force of physics, keeping us standing on the ground and not drifting off into space, is unevenly distributed around the Earth. Monitoring satellites have measured the variations in the gravitational field and created a new map of their findings. The Earth takes on more of the shape of a lumpy potato than a around ball.

Compiled by Earth scientists at a center in Germany, the Potsdam Gravity Potato, shows areas colored red, (with slightly stronger gravity) to blue areas (slightly weaker gravity). Bumps and valleys are attributed to geologic features, like the mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Himalayas, but others may relate to unusually high or low sub-surface rocky densities.

Potsdam Gravity Potato  (credit: NASA, GRACE , and DLR )

The new global gravity map looks pretty cool no matter what the shape.


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