The most destructive tornado on record occurred in Annapolis, Missouri. In 3 hours, it tore through the town on March 18, 1925, leaving a 980-foot-wide trail of demolished buildings, uprooted trees, and overturned cars. It left 823 people dead and almost 3,000 injured.
Pollen grains are so tiny and uniform they have been used to calibrate instruments that measure in thousandths of an inch. Forget-me-not pollen grains are so small that 10,000 of them can fit on the head of a pin.
The most drought resistant tree is the baobab tree. It stores 35,900 gallons of water in its trunk for later use.
Polyp, fish, worm, plant, crab, mollusk, and plankton in symbiotic relationship (the habitual living together of organisms of different species) make up a coral reef.
The most intense hurricane to hit the Caribbean was Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. Wind gusts were measured at over 200 miles per hour.
Primitive blue-green algae grow in hot springs near Yellowstone's steaming geysers, defying scientific expectations by enduring and thriving in water temperatures as high as 160 degrees F.
Public sanitation was at an all-time low during the Middle Ages. Garbage was piled up so high outside the city of Paris during the 1400's that it interfered with the city's defenses.
The North Atlantic Deep Water Current is an oceanic "river" that carries twenty times more water than all the rivers of the world put together.
The northern and southern lights occur whenever sunspot activity is high, but the degree of sunspot activity is erratic. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when they will occur. One can usually notice increased sunspot activity when radio and television reception is disrupted.
The oak tree can take as long as 30 years to produce its first crop of acorns.
The oldest rocks in the world, the so-called St. Peter and St. Paul stones in the Atlantic Ocean, are over 4 billion years old.
The onion is a lily, botanically.
The orchid is named after the male genitalia. Its botanical family name, Orchidaceae, means "testicles" in Greek and may derive from an early notion that the orchid possessed aphrodisiac qualities.
The Pacific equatorial countercurrent flows eastward toward South America, carrying up to 40 million tons of warm water with it every second.
The paddlefish, a living fossil, has existed virtually unchanged in the Mississippi River for 230 million years, although it now weighs no more than one-third of its ancient weight. The only other part of the world in which the paddlefish is found is China.
The perennial European grass timothy, widely grown in the United States for hay, was named after Timothy Hanson, who took the seed from New York to the Carolinas in the 1720s.
The petunia and the potato are related to each other.
A "fulgerite" is fossilized lightning. It forms when a powerful lightning bolt melts the soil into a glass-like state.
A "pogonip" is a heavy winter fog containing ice crystals.
A beautiful mirage called the Fata Morgana appears in the Straits of Messina, between Sicily and Italy. It is an image of a town in the sky, but it seems more like a fairy landscape than a real town. It is believed to be a mirage of a fishing village situated along the coast.
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