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Environment Trivia

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The hottest day ever in Canada was July 5, 1937, when the mercury soared to 45 Celsius (113 F) in Midale and Yellowgrass, Saskatchewan. But that's downright chilly compared to the United States, where the temperature hit 56.7 Celsius (135 F) on July 10, 1913, at Death Valley, California, and Al'azizyah, Libya, where thermometers reached 58 C (137 F), on September 13, 1922.

Mudpots are thermal areas where water-saturated sediment, similar to clay, is affected by super-heated steam below. Rising steam forces its way upwards through the mud and groundwater, sending explosive showers of mud up into the air.

The jet streams blow from the west with such a power that eastbound airliners fly across North America about an hour faster than airliners flying westward.

Nationwide, U.S. experts say there are too few honeybees. This is cause for alarm, as honeybees are the natural pollinators of all vine crops as well as certain nuts, some citrus, and backyard apples. Up to 90 percent of feral bees have been killed off in the northeast United States.

The Joshua tree is the only tree that grows in California's Mojave Desert.

Nauru, a small island country in the Central Pacific once had one of the highest per capita incomes in the world based on "guano," a phosphate-rich bird-poop. During the nineteenth century, Peru also did well selling guano to countries in Europe who bought it to fertilize their fields.

The junk mail that Americans receive in one day could produce enough energy to heat 250,000 homes.

Nearly 65 percent of America's aluminum cans are recycled.

Next to wood, coal is the oldest of fuels. The Chinese mined it as long ago as 1000 B.C., and used it to smelt iron and copper.

Ninety percent of all volcanic activity occurs in the oceans. In 1993, scientists located the largest known concentration of active volcanoes on the sea floor in the South Pacific. This area, the size of New York state, hosts 1,133 volcanic cones and sea mounts. Two or three could erupt at any moment.

The kauri of New Zealand and northeastern Australia can reach a height of 36 meters. With a diameter of more than 3 meters for the first 30 meters, it is one of the largest trees for wood volume in the world.

The largest known volcanic eruption occurred in Yellowstone Park when some 10,000 cubic kilometers of ejecta were spewed into the atmosphere. By comparison, Mount St. Helens coughed up about one cubic kilometer of debris.

The largest snowflake on record measured 8 inches in width.

No one has ever discovered two snowflakes with exactly the same crystal pattern.

The largest water eddy in the world is the Sargasso Sea, a huge, slowly revolving area of water in the mid-Atlantic Ocean between the Azores and the West Indies.

No one yet has a definite answer as to how exactly Devils Tower was formed. Many geologists believe that Devils Tower was formed by the forcible entry of molten rock into or between other rock formations of igneous material.

The leaves of a raffia palm can reach up to 65 feet in length. That's close to the length of a regulation size tennis court.

No true mosses grow in salt water.

The letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z aren't included in the official list of names for hurricanes because of the scarcity of names beginning with those letters.

No truly freshwater fishes have reached Bermuda or could survive there, for all of the ponds are brackish and the streams are temporary.

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