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Environment Trivia

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While it snows heavily in Minneapolis, snowfall is greater in the Grand Canyon.

The core of a upward lightning stroke is only a few inches across but can carry a current of 100,000 amperes, enough to run nearly 8,000 electric toasters at the same time.

The deadliest plant in the world is the castor bean plant. It is estimated that the protein, ricin, found in the castor bean plant is 6,000 times more poisonous than cyanide.

The deadliest volcanic eruption of the 20th century was on May 8, 1902, when Mount Pelee on Martinique erupted and killed 30,000 people. Most of the deaths were caused by hot ash flows. By the time the eruption ended, 15% of the island's population was dead.

The discovery of garnet often indicates that diamonds are nearby.

The Douglas fir, also known as Douglas spruce, is neither a fir nor a spruce, but a pinetree.

The edelweiss, the Austrian flower made famous in a song from the film The Sound of Music, is endangered.

The energy released by a hurricane each day would, if converted to electricity, keep the entire United States supplied with electrical power for up to three years.

Wind barriers such as hedges give protection downwind for a distance of up to ten times the height of the barrier.

With its intense, narcotic perfume, lilac, especially white lilac, is considered an unlucky plant in certain parts of the British Isles. It is among the least welcomed flowers for hospital patients, though some people believe that lilac blossoms with five petals brings luck to those who find them.

Without any greenhouse effect, Earth would be cold and lifeless with an average temperature of 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

In November, there is a stretch of warm dry weather with a little wind and usually a bit of haze in the air. In the United States, it is called “Indian Summer.” In England, France, and Italy, it is referred to as “St. Martin's Summer.”

In one day, a full-grown oak tree expels 7 tons of water through its leaves.

In one night, the World Trade Center in New York uses more electricity than the entire city of Troy, New York.

In one year, Americans generate enough hazardous waste to fill the New Orleans Superdome 1,500 times over.

In one year, the average tree gives off enough oxygen to allow four people to breathe for a year.

In the King James translation of the Bible, there are more than 1,700 references to gems and precious stones.

In the Navajo culture, turquoise symbolizes hozho, a state in which harmony, beauty, health, and well-being predominate.

In the Netherlands, marijuana is not officially legal, but people are able to buy grass, hashish, loose joints, smoking paraphernalia, and seeds in registered "coffee shops." Magic mushrooms are also available. Despite such easy access, only about 5 percent of the population indulges.

In the southwestern United States, lichens form stable crusts that protect desert soils from erosion. Unfortunately, these crusts are quite fragile. They take decades to recover after being crushed by livestock or off-road vehicles.

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