In Australia, termites build towers 6 metres high and 30 metres wide. Ten tonnes of mud are collected bit by bit by millions of insects. Soilder termite guard the mud castle, where the queen lays her eggs and is fed by worker termites.
The Continental Shelf
The sea around most continents is only about 180m (590ft) deep- that is deep enough to cover all the skyscrapers in the City of London except the Natwest Tower and Canary Wharf.
The fastest flashes moves at 140,000km per second
87,000 miles per second – fast enough to go three times round the Equator in one second, but of course lightning does not travel that far. The longest flashes of lightning are about 30km(19 miles) from the ground.
The final verdict
Though the 800-year-old Patitpaban temple looks no different from the thousand-odd temples on and around Bhubaneswar, it is in fact very special. Come Sunday evening the temple takes on the mantle of a Jana Adalat or people’s court where people gather to seek justice. The judge is 65-year-old Harihar Sahoo, a respected senior citizen of the locality. Though Sahoo has no legal qualification, he has settled over 400 disputes in the last five years. Most of these are civil disputes over property and land. All without a murmur or protest usually accepts his judgement. The adalat is extremely popular firstly because one can get speedy justice and also because anyone can lodge complaints by paying a processing fee of Rs 20 only. In fact, it may soon become a bi-weekly affair.
The largest desert in the world
The Sahara Desert is the largest desert in the world. It is bigger than the four next largest deserts put together. It is as vast as the whole of the United States of America including most of Alaska and nearly as big as the whole of Europe.
The lowest dry land in the world
It is the shore of the Dead Sea between Israel and Jordan. It is 400m (1,312ft) below the sea level. If there was a flight of stairs to take you back up to the sea level you would have to climb 2000 steps.
The Ocean Floor
Don’t fall off the continental Shelf! It ends abruptly some distance from the coast. The ground then drops down the continental slope to the ocean floor about 3,600m (11,812 ft) below. You could sink two Ben Nevis’s on the ocean floor and still have 1,000m (3,281ft) of clear water above them.
The Panamanian butterfly has ultrasonic ears
The Panamanian butterfly (Malacosoma Heliconiaria) has ultrasonic ears on its wings that allow it to hear and avoid bats!
The tallest cacti are the giant Saguaros
They grow up to 18m (59 ft) tall, about the height of a six-storey building
The world softest, lightest wood is balsa
which weighs only half as much as cork. The balsa tree, from South America, grows quickly, reaching a height of 70 feet in only seven years. Balsa wood was used for building rafts for centuries.