Mother Earth is the most Dynamic and Lively Planet of our solar system. She is also called Blue Planet or Blue Marble. The picture taken on 7 December 1972 by Apollo 17 crew gives a real appearance of Earth as from the space. The dominant blue colour shows water and reflects the eternal sky, the brown and green depict the land masses and the clouds appear white.


Mankind, being the most intelligent creature, strives to understand all the aspects of Earth, from its creation, its evolution and to its present state. Men and women, individually and team-wise, undertake all types of studies with relentless devotion, perseverance and hard work, mostly with the support of sophisticated scientific equipment and logistics. Their objective is to disseminate the findings for the welfare of all mankind. Moreover, the findings have different versions which reflect various schools of thought. Furthermore, the findings often become obsolete as a result of new discoveries. This means that knowledge always evolves and is updated frequently which finally leads to dynamism.


 It is thus conclusive that no one can claim to have all the knowledge on any particular field. Therefore, all data and information that crop up are rather complementary in nature. However, it is a well-known concept by all researchers that, if we collect all possible explanations and reports with utmost details, these represent only one tenth of the real facts. So, the following is only a small fraction of that tenth of knowledge; like a unit of sand in a beach or a drop of water in the ocean.



Shaped like a sphere, the Blue Planet has a diameter of 12,753 km and a circumference of 40,066 km at the Equator. It orbits around the Sun at 107,320 km per hour. It is estimated to weigh about 6,000 trillion tons. Its physical body is made up matter composed of various minerals and resources which are distributed in three layers: core, mantle and crust. The magma chamber at the centre is boiling with a temperature of 6000 degrees centigrade.


The Atmosphere

The Blue Marble is believed to be about 5 billion years old. At the outset, it was a ball of fire which has taken 700 million years to cool down gradually while emitting gases. It is after this phase that the atmosphere came to exist. There are other schools of thought saying that biological processes contributed to its formation. Yet, others assert that meteorites or asteroids brought gases or micro-organisms thus catalyzing the development of sustainable life on the Blue Marble.


The atmosphere is a protective layer that helps all creatures to breathe, to transpire and to grow. Its thickness is estimated to be 560 km, made up with four levels:

  1. the Troposphere-lower level 8-14.5 km with 17 to 52 0 Celsius;
  2. the Stratosphere- 2nd level 58 km with -3o Celsius;
  3. the Mesosphere-3rd level 98 km with -930 Celsius and
  4. the Thermosphere-upper level up to 600 km with 1,7270 Celsius.

The composition of the atmosphere is mainly (99.998%) made up of gases as follows:

  1. Nitrogen (N2)-78.084%;  
  2. Oxygen (O2) -20.947%; 
  3. Argon (Ar)-0.924% and 
  4. Carbon Dioxide (CO2)-0.033%.


The rest of the atmosphere, besides Water Vapour, is a collection of other gases: Neon, Helium, Krypton, Sulfur Dioxide, Methane, Hydrogen, Nitrous Oxide, Xenon, Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide, Iodine, Carbon Monoxide and Ammonia.   



A few decades ago, water: oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, icecaps, glaciers and wet lands occupied 70-71% of the surface area of the Blue Planet. But nowadays it covers 72%. This implies that there is a considerable rise in the level of oceans impacted by the global warning. It is estimated that water has a surface area of about 361,419,000 sq km. Its volume is around 1,460 teratons (Tt) of which 97% is salty; the rest, that is 3%, is fresh water- 2.4% in glaciers and ice caps, - 0.6% in rivers and lakes.



The remaining 28% of the surface area of the Blue Marble is composed of land masses: 7 continents, thousands of islands and micro islets. The total area is estimated at 148,647,000 sq km. The geological nature of the Planet has different features, ranging from flat lands to hills, mountains-highest Everest 8, 850 m, valleys, desserts and icy landscapes. The temperature also varies from -890c in Antarctica to + 57.80C in El Azizia, Libya. There are 195 countries which house, as at date, 7,189,060,000 humans. These land masses are linked by the 5 oceans which help in sustaining life.


While some scientists say that Earth is under the threat of Global Warming, others claim that we are in face of Global Cooling. In order to understand these, the holistic approach should be applied. As mentioned in the first paragraph, 700 million years were required for the 5 billion years old Earth to cool down. Without this process, life on the surface, that is, in water and on land could not have started.


However, the centre of the Blue Planet is that part which is still boiling with magma at a rate of 6000 degrees centigrade. It has a dynamic importance for the natural well-being of the Planet.


The Core has two layers:

  1. the inner one is found 5,150 to 6, 378 km from the surface. It is made up of a solid mass of iron and nickel. It is under massive pressure reaching 6,000ocentigrade and
  2. the outer core is 2,260 km thick and is found at the depth of 2,890 km to 5,150 km from the surface. It is hot and the iron and nickel elements are in liquid state. This part is radio-active which causes convection currents just like the energy in a dynamo. It is this part which is responsible for the magnetic field of the Mother Earth and also for her rotation on the axis.


The Mantle, which is the second layer of Earth, has three sub layers:

  1. the lower mantle is found between 650 km to 2, 890 km from the surface. It probably contains mainly silicon, magnesium oxygen and some iron, calcium and aluminum;
  2. the transition layer found  between 400 km to 650 km contains calcium, aluminum and garnet. It shelters basaltic magma which can rise when hot and
  3. the upper mantle is at the depth of 10 to 400 km. It has solid rocks like olivine and pyroxene, part of which may be molten. When the heat from the centre of the earth escapes upwards, then it causes the formation of mountains and also makes the Tectonic plates to move.


The top layer of Earth is called the Crust. It is 10 km thick in oceans and is 75 km thick on the continents like the Himalayas. The oceanic crust is not flat. It is mountainous and its landscape is constantly changing because of marine volcanic activities. There is a network of 40,000 km of volcanic sites in the ocean. Marine eruptions build about 17 sq km of oceanic crust on ocean floors per year. As a result of such processes basaltic masses transform into islands like Hawaii and Iceland. The Upper most layer of the Crust found on the continents is made up of solid and crystalline rocks.


Summarily speaking, we can say that all life is sustained by 5 elements- air, water, earth, fire and matter. These elements are in perfect harmony whose impact makes livelihood stable and peaceful. Given, that nature generates her forces for such harmony of life, she has her own laws. But, whenever the elements- air, water, fire, earth and matter express their energy in excess, the harmony is disrupted. Yet, this is natural. It is at such conjunction that all creatures fall at risks. So, man describes such situations as natural disasters-cyclones, floods, droughts, fires, landslides, Tsunamis, earthquakes, snow storms, etc.


 In fact, man is the most vulnerable creature, despite being the most intelligent one and paradoxically pretending to be powerful. It is universally recognized that man is the greatest predator. Man is responsible for the over exploitation of nature and of resources; example there is less than 2% of natural forest in the whole Mother Mauritius; many wet lands, which are natural organs for processing water, have been filled or destroyed  for infrastructural purposes; the population density is among the highest-603 per square kilometre. Man-made disasters are also prevalent, like the oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.


One feature worthwhile noting, is that, all life: plant kingdom, animal kingdom and human civilization, has started around water: rivers, lakes, seas and oceans. Until nowadays, these areas, both urban and rural, are still over populated. These are definitely disaster risk zones, namely by impacts of floods and water related cataclysms. In 2011 alone, 106 million people were affected by floods. In Mauritius floods have killed 4 persons on 26 March 2008 and 11 on 30 March 2013.   


Therefore, the rulers and policy makers of countries should harness their subjects with education and strategic work plans in view of providing Protection and Security against all type of disasters. In short, all adaptation and resilience actions should be 'Country-Driven' and be 'People-Centred'.


Mother Earth is the most dynamic and lively Planet in the solar system. She should never be blamed for the occurrence of natural events, just like the PM and his followers use to accuse after the authorities fail to adopt the Early Warning Systems (EWS).


P.KANHYE. First Uploaded:                           02 November 2013.

Re-uploaded: 11.50 am THURSDAY 12 DECEMBER 2019.

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