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    Earth Isn't So Much Wet As It Is Just Kinda Damp

    Written by

    Michael Byrne


    Image: Kai Schreiber/Creative Commons

    Earth gets a lot of credit as a waterworld. Maybe not so much as a fresh waterworld, but we nonetheless live on a blue planet even if we can't drink all of it (yet). 70.8 percent of Earth's surface is covered in water, and there's plenty more underneath the land parts in the form of aquifers. Things like the floods currently threatening to erase part of Colorado or the tsunami that killed thousands in Japan two years ago almost dare us to question the dominance of water on our planet.

    The folks at waitbutwhy.com took that dare and came up with some rather counterintuitive visualizations. Below is all of the water on planet Earth gathered up into a cube. One side of it is 693 miles, with a total volume of 332 million cubic miles. Turns out that Earth isn't a waterworld so much as a damp rock; water, water everywhere so let's all have a lick.

    Remember, that cube is all of Earth's water, including the salty oceans. Just fresh water and then just drinkable fresh water shrink enormously.

    That's all of the water we have. It's about the size of Rhode Island. Drilling adds a bit to the drinkable cube, and once economical desalinization arrives, we'll be able to switch to the biggest cube, but still, every living thing on the planet depends on what amounts to a splash of water. Save your flush.