What a Wonderful World; Nurturer of our families, Bosom of mysteries; explored for centuries, so well known while yet so unknown.

We have barely scratched the surface.

The lowest spot in North America is Death Valley, California. I have stood on this spot and looked up at the marker on the adjacent mountain denoting SEA LEVEL, high over my head. It is a curious experience and recommended. Badwater, Death Valley, is 282 feet below sea level.1

The lowest place in the Western Hemisphere is Laguna Del Carbon, Argentina at 344 feet below sea level. The lowest place in the Southern Hemisphere is Lake Assal, Djibouti, at 509 feet below sea level. The lowest place in the world is Dead Sea, Israel/Jordan, at 1360 feet below sea level. I have not, as yet, had the adventure of visiting these sites.2

The deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal in Russia.3 It’s bottom is about 3983 feet below sea level, and about 5387 feet below its surface. It contains 20% of Earth’s un-iced fresh water, more than North America’s Great Lakes combined. The deepest ocean is the Pacific Mariana Trench, approximately 36,200 feet deep below sea level.4 The water pressure at that depth is about 8 tons per square inch.5

The deepest man-made hole is the result of a scientific exploration of the earth’s crust. The Kola Superdeep Borehole6 is in Northwestern Russia, near to Finland and the Arctic Circle. It reached a depth of 40,230 feet, 7.6 miles. A tool or stone dropped down that hole would take about 4 minutes to reach the bottom.

The earth is thought to be composed of four main layers, the crust, the mantle, a molten outer core, and solid inner core. The center of the 760 mile thick inner core is about 3960 miles below sea level, 521 times deeper than the Kola Superdeep Borehole, the center of the Earth.

The tallest man made structure is the Burj Khalifa at 2722 feet.7 The highest mountain is Everest at 29,032 feet, about 5.5 miles high. The highest manned flight, so far, is to the moon, about 225,000 miles. The highest or furthest man-made vehicle flight is Voyager 1, presently traveling about 38,000 miles per hour, about 14.3 billion miles above earth, almost 1 light-hour from earth. 8 (The footnote links to the JPL website featuring live updates for Voyagers 1 and 2.)

The first experiments with electromagnetic transmission occurred in the era of Marconi, a little over a century ago; and, therefore, those transmissions, traveling at the speed of light, will have reached more than 100 light years from home. Our home galaxy, The Milky Way, is 100 thousand light years across. There are considered to be 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe.9

Between that expanse above our heads, and the depths beneath our feet, is this surface upon which we stand, our feet barely leaving a print. But here we walk, and talk, and eat and drink. Here our arts flourish and combine, our cultures become self-aware and grow and meet other cultures. These clash and combine in kaleidoscopic revelations. Here we make love and give birth, make war and destroy, build empires and watch empires crumble.


  1. World Atlas, What Is The Lowest Place On Earth?
  2. World Atlas, What Is The Lowest Place On Earth?
  3. World Atlas, The Deepest Lakes in the World
  4. NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, How Deep is the Ocean
  5. The Mariana Trench, Oceanography
  6. Wikipedia, Kola Superdeep Borehole
  7. wikipedia, List of Tallest Buildings and Structures
  8. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Voyager
  9. Hubble Reveals Observable Universe Contains 10 Times More Galaxies Than Previously Thought