Heavy things come with surprises. Just when you think you have seen it all about heavy things, you get shocked by something else that is even heavier.
The earth itself, coming in at 5.972 x 10^24 kg is the heaviest object around us.
That’s because it contains everything else including us humans from light featherweight to the obese.
So, exactly what contributes to making this planet so heavy?
Among Living Things
The credit for the heaviest animal on land goes to the African bush elephant which weighs from 5,200 to 8.000 kg.
Of course, there are other excruciatingly heavy elephants like the Asian elephant and the African forest elephant but these have no choice but to gracefully bow to the African bush elephant.
The heaviest animal on the earth (when both land and water are considered) is the Antarctic blue whale.
It weighs 181 metric tones (400,000 pounds) which takes 33 elephants to make. This extraordinary weight makes it a guzzler of food at 17,500 kgs of krill each day.
It also easily shatters other records like having the largest heart (weighing 180 kg) which is the size of a small car.
The Antarctic blue whale isn’t just the heaviest animal but it is also the heaviest animal of all time, beating even the famed dinosaurs.
The heaviest living thing or organism in the world is the Pando. This is a grove (forest of trees) that came from just one seed.
Located in Fishlake National Park, in Utah, it weighs 5.87 million metric tonnes (13 million pounds) in total.
However, Pando which has been growing for a record 80,000 years is faced with imminent death thanks to cattle and mule deer feeding on its saplings.
The Great Wall of China weighs about 53 billion metric tonnes (116 billion pounds).
This makes it the heaviest manmade object standing today. This structure dates from the 13 or 14th centuries. It runs for 21,196 km.
Even though the Great Wall of China has maintained its lead as the heaviest manmade heaviest object for now well over centuries, experts fear that it faces competition from another unlikely contender—a rapidly growing mountain of electronic waste. This waste that’s being dumped at almost 57 million tonnes per year.
Of course, since heavy things can be too heavy to be nudged by people, you must be wondering what’s the heaviest thing ever moved by man all in one piece.
That would have to be the Natural Gas Drilling Platform. At 1.1 metric tons and standing at 471.8 meters, it’s both the tallest and heaviest object people have moved.
It took 10 tugboats, 280 km, and about a week to move it to its location off the coast of Norway.
But this feat was aided by technology. When it comes to using bare hands, a 1,841 metric ship was pulled by rope by not people but by one man named Simon Ford.
With 157 people on board, he pulled the ship for 7.6 meters only to collapse afterward and suffer breathing problems.
Heavy Things from The Past
Before we move on, we should mention heavy things that existed in the past but are no longer here to blow their horn about it.
Among living things, dinosaurs easily come to mind. These largely extinct creatures (they are survived by birds) were reptiles that literally roamed the earth like kings.
Their sizes were quite enormous defying the imagination. Argentinosaurus came in at a whopping 77 tonnes.
This easily puts the elephant to shame and 17 of them would have to team up to equal the weight of just one Argentinosaurus.
This long-necked creature with an equally long tail was a native of Argentina of South America. It was also the longest animal at 40 meters.
It All Starts With the Elements
The reason anything is heavy is ultimately because of which elements it is made from and in what quantities.
Planet Earth falls into a category of planets called terrestrial planets.
That makes it contain heavy elements that tend to be solid unlike non-terrestrial planets like Jupiter which is made of lighter elements like gas.
Among the naturally occurring 91 elements on earth, uranium is the heaviest.
However, the heaviest manmade element is Darmstadtium, which is even heavier than uranium.
While uranium has an atomic mass of 238, Darmstadtium has an atomic mass of 281.
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