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Earth (also the worldUnknown extension tag "ref", in Greek: Γαῖα{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} Gaia,Unknown extension tag "ref" or in Latin: Terra<ref>Oxford English Dictionary), 1st ed. "terra, n." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 1911.</ref>) is the third planet from the Sun, the densest planet in the Solar System, the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets, and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. The earliest life on Earth arose at least 3.5 billion years ago.<ref name="Origin1">Schopf, JW, Kudryavtsev, AB, Czaja, AD, and Tripathi, AB. (2007). Evidence of Archean life: Stromatolites and microfossils. Precambrian Research 158:141–155.</ref><ref name="Origin2">Schopf, JW (2006). Fossil evidence of Archaean life. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 29;361(1470) 869-85.</ref><ref name="RavenJohnson2002">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Earlier physical evidences of life include graphite, a biogenic substance, in 3.7 billion-year-old metasedimentary rocks discovered in southwestern Greenland,<ref name="NG-20131208">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> as well as, "remains of biotic life" found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia.<ref name="AP-20151019">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref><ref name="PNAS-20151014-pdf">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }} Early edition, published online before print.</ref> Earth's biodiversity has expanded continually except when interrupted by mass extinctions.<ref name="SahneyBentonFerry2010">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> Although scholars estimate that over 99 percent of all species of life (over five billion)<ref name="Book-Biology">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> that ever lived on Earth are extinct,<ref name="StearnsStearns2000">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref name="NYT-20141108-MJN">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> there are still an estimated 10–14 million extant species,<ref name=science_241_4872_1441/><ref name="MillerSpoolman2012">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described.<ref name="PLoS-20110823">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> Over 7.3 billion humans<ref name=PopCounter/> live on Earth and depend on its biosphere and minerals for their survival. Earth's human population is divided among about two hundred sovereign states which interact through diplomacy, conflict, travel, trade and communication media.

According to evidence from radiometric dating and other sources, Earth was formed about 4.54 billion years ago.<ref name="USGS1997">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }} </ref><ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> Within its first billion years,<ref name="age_earth1"/> life appeared in its oceans and began to affect its atmosphere and surface, promoting the proliferation of aerobic as well as anaerobic organisms. Since then, the combination of Earth's distance from the Sun, its physical properties and its geological history have allowed life to thrive and evolve.

Earth's lithosphere is divided into several rigid tectonic plates that migrate across the surface over periods of many millions of years. Seventy-one percent of Earth's surface is covered with water,<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> with the remainder consisting of continents and islands that together have many lakes and other sources of water that contribute to the hydrosphere. Earth's polar regions are mostly covered with ice, including the Antarctic ice sheet and the sea ice of the polar ice packs. Earth's interior remains active with a solid iron inner core, a liquid outer core that generates the magnetic field, and a convecting mantle that drives plate tectonics.

Earth gravitationally interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon. During one orbit around the Sun, Earth rotates about its own axis 366.26 times, creating 365.26 solar days or one sidereal year.<ref group="n" name="sidereal_solar"/> Earth's axis of rotation is tilted 23.4° away from the perpendicular of its orbital plane, producing seasonal variations on the planet's surface with a period of one tropical year (365.24 solar days).<ref name=yoder1995/> The Moon is Earth's only permanent natural satellite. Its gravitational interaction with Earth causes ocean tides, stabilizes the orientation of Earth's rotational axis, and gradually slows Earth's rotational rate.


Earth sections
Intro  Chronology  Name and etymology  Orbit and rotation  Habitability  Moon  Asteroids and artificial satellites  Cultural and historical viewpoint  See also  Notes  References  Further reading  External links  

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