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The Earth.

This planet is beautiful in a trillion different ways. The last perfect handiwork of God. And yet, it's a world full of gods and monsters. Overseen by angels and terrorized by demons. All kinds of unnatural things running amok amongst humanity in the darkness and on the other side of the curtain. Hate to say it but if it was just us living out normal lives like on TV...it'd be boring.
~ Steven A. Starphase

The Earth, sometimes known as the Mortal Realm, the Human World, or Midgard, is a planet created by God and many lesser creation deities that respectively supports a large variety of life, including bacteria, vegetation, and even intelligent animals.

In the history of the Earth, biodiversity has gone through long periods of expansion, occasionally punctuated by mass extinction events. Over 99% of all the species of life that ever lived on Earth are extinct. Estimates of the number of species on Earth today vary widely; most species have not been described.

Description

Humans believe the Earth to be an oblate spheroid, flattened at the poles and bulging at the equator. Modern calculation estimate the Earths width to be 12,756km at the equator and 12,714km from pole to pole and this rounded up to 13,000km.

However, it is revealed by Odin that the Earth is far larger than humankind believes. He elaborates that satellites and modern technologies can only perceive a fraction of the Earth, and that its true size is hidden by mystical barriers that create a mass illusion of the Earth being smaller than it actually is. Vast portions of the Earth are unable to be reached unless accessed through specific gateways that connect these hidden locations to the rest of the planet, remaining otherwise invisible to humankind.

Biomes

The Earth is characterized by its extensive bio diversity and it's range of environments across the globe, each of which have come to be inhabited by the Human species.

Tundra

In physical geography, a Tundra is a type of biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comesbfrom the Kildin Sámi word тӯндар ('tūndâr') meaning "uplands", "treeless mountain tract". Tundra vegetation is composed of dwarf shrubs, sedges, grasses, mosses, and lichens.

Taiga

A Taiga, generally referred to in North America as a boreal forest or snow forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces, and larches. The taiga has been called the world's largest land biome, covering most of inland Canada, Alaska, Northern United States, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Norway Estonia, some of the Scottish Highlands, some lowland/coastal areas of Iceland, areas of northern Kazakhstan, Northern Mongolia, and Northern Japan (on the island of Hokkaidō).

Woodland

A Woodland (/ˈwʊdlənd/ (listen)) is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade. Woodlands may support shrubs and herbaceous plants including grasses, sometimes transition to shrubland under drier conditions or during early stages of primary or secondary succession. Higher-density areas of trees with a largely closed canopy that provides extensive shade are often referred to as forests; lands covered with dense forest and tangled vegetation are known as Jungles.

Grassland

Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses (Poaceae). However, sedge (Cyperaceae) and rush (Juncaceae) can also be found along with variable proportions of legumes, like clover, and other herbs. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica and are found in most ecoregions of the Earth. Furthermore, grasslands are one of the largest biomes on earth and dominate the landscape worldwide, covering 31–43% of the Earth's land area. Grasslands with scattered individual trees are known as Savannahs.

Desert

A Desert is a barren area of land where little precipitation occurs and, consequently, living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to the processes of denudation. About one-third of the land surface of the Earth is arid or semi-arid. This includes much of the polar regions, where little precipitation occurs, and which are sometimes called polar deserts or "cold deserts". Deserts can be classified by the amount of precipitation that falls, by the temperature that prevails, by the causes of desertification or by their geographical location.

Deserts are formed by weathering processes as large variations in temperature between day and night puts strain on the rocks, which consequently break into pieces. Although rain seldom occurs in deserts, there are occasional downpours that can result in flash floods. Rain falling on hot rocks can cause them to shatter, and the resulting fragments and rubble strewn over the desert floor are further eroded by the wind. This picks up particles of sand and dust, which can remain airborne for extended periods – sometimes causing the formation of sand storms or dust storms. Wind-blown sand grains striking any solid object in their path can abrade the surface. Rocks are smoothed down, and the wind sorts sand into uniform deposits. The grains end up as level sheets of sand or are piled high in billowing sand dunes.

Other deserts are flat, stony plains where all the fine material has been blown away and the surface consists of a mosaic of smooth stones. These areas are known as desert pavements, and little further erosion takes place. Other desert features include rock outcrops, exposed bedrock and clays once deposited by flowing water.

Rainforest

Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy, moisture-dependent vegetation, the presence of epiphytes and lianas and the abundance of wildfire. Rainforest can be classified as tropical rainforest or temperate rainforest, but other types have been described.

Estimates vary from 40% to 75% of all biotic species are indigenous to the rainforests. There may be many millions of species of plants, insects and microorganisms still undiscovered in tropical rainforests. Tropical rainforests have been called the "jewels of the Earth" and the "world's largest pharmacy", because over one quarter of natural Medicines have been discovered there. Rainforests are also responsible for 28% of the world's oxygen turnover, sometimes misnamed oxygen production, processing it through photosynthesis from carbon dioxide and consuming it through respiration. In the Modern Age, Rainforests are rapidly disappearing due to deforestation, the resulting habitat loss and pollution of the atmosphere.

Ocean

The Ocean (also known as the Seven Seas or the World Ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth and contains 97% of Earth's water. Separate names are used to identify five different areas of the ocean: Pacific (the largest) Atlantic, Indian, Antarctic, and Arctic. The ocean is the principal component of Earth's hydrosphere, and therefore integral to life on Earth. Acting as a huge heat reservoir, the ocean influences climate and weather patterns, the carbon cycle, and the water cycle.

Life within the ocean evolved 3 billion years prior to life on land. Both the depth and the distance from shore strongly influence the biodiversity of the plants and animals across the earth; at a fundamental level, marine life affects the very nature of the planet. Marine organisms, mostly microorganisms, produce oxygen and sequester carbon. Marine life in part shape and protect shorelines, and some marine organisms even help create new land (e.g. coral building reefs).

Most life forms evolved initially in marine habitats. By volume, oceans provide about 90% of the living space on the planet. The earliest vertebrates appeared in the form of fish, which live exclusively in water. Some of these evolved into amphibians, which spend portions of their lives in water and portions on land. Other fish evolved into land mammals and subsequently returned to the ocean as seals, dolphins, or whales. Plant forms such as kelp and other algae grow in the water and are the basis for some underwater ecosystems. Plankton forms the general foundation of the ocean food chain, particularly phytoplankton which are key primary producers.

Urban Ecosystem

In ecology, Urban Ecosystems are structurally complex ecosystems created and maintained by humans. They include cities, smaller settlements and industrial areas, that are made up of buildings, paved surfaces, transport infrastructure, parks and gardens, and refuse areas. Urban ecosystems rely on large subsidies of imported water, nutrients, food and other resources. Compared to natural ecosystems, human population density is high. Urbanization has large impacts on human and environmental health, and the study of urban ecosystems has led to proposals for sustainable urban designs and approaches for developing areas that can help reduce negative impact on surrounding environment and promote human well-being.

Wildlife in urban environments is also impacted in many ways. Some urban wildlife, such as house mice, are synanthropic, ecologically associated with and even evolved to become entirely dependent on humans. Different types of urban areas support different kinds of wildlife. One general feature of bird species that adapt well to urban environments is they tend to be the species with the bigger brains, perhaps allowing them to be more adaptable to the changeable urban environment.

History

Earth is estimated to be nearly 5 billion years old, located in the Solar System of the Star known as Sol, along one of the arms of the Milky Way Galaxy. Nearly all branches of natural science have contributed to understanding of the main events of Earth's past, characterized by constant geological change and biological evolution.

Early Earth

Earth is believed to have formed around 4.54 billion years ago, approximately one-third the age of the universe, out of the accretion disk surrounding the early Sun. Much of the Earth was molten because of frequent collisions with other celestial bodies which led to an era of extreme volcanism known as the Hadean Period, including impacts with comets, asteroids, and even a wandering planet. This "giant impact" collision with the planet-sized body is thought to have been responsible for the formation of the Moon and sending the Earth into further turmoil for millions of years. This period came to an end as the Earth cooled, causing the formation of a solid crust and the emergence of liquid water on the earth's surface. Volcanic outgassing is believed to have created the primordial atmosphere and then the ocean, but this early atmosphere contained almost no oxygen.

Archean

The Archean Eon is the second era in Earth's history, representing the time from 4,000 to 2,500 million years ago. When the Archean began, the Earth's heat flow was nearly three times as high as it is today. The extra heat was the result of a mix of remnant heat from planetary accretion, from the formation of the metallic core, and from the decay of radioactive elements. When the Earth's crust had cooled enough for continents to form, the earliest known life to emerge.

Life was simple throughout the Archean, mostly represented by shallow-water microbial mats called stromatolites, with the atmosphere still lacking significant quantities of oxygen. The oldest rock formations exposed on the surface of the Earth today are Archean. Archean rocks are found in Greenland, Siberia, the Canadian Shield, Montana and Wyoming (exposed parts of the Wyoming Craton), the Baltic Shield, the Rhodope Massif, Scotland, India, Brazil, western Australia, and southern Africa.

Paleozoic Era

The Paleozoic Era (from the Greek palaiós (παλαιός), "old" and zōḗ (ζωή), "life", meaning "ancient life") is the earliest of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic Eon, preceded by the Proterozoic during which oxygen came to make up a significant portion of the atmosphere.

The Paleozoic was a time of dramatic geological, climatic, and evolutionary change. Separated into several periods ushered in by the Cambrian Explosion, this era witnessed the most rapid and widespread diversification of life in Earth's history. Arthropods, molluscs, fish, amphibians, synapsids and diapsids all evolved during the Paleozoic. Life first began in the oceans but eventually transitioned onto land, and by the late Paleozoic, the Earth was dominated by various forms of organisms. Great forests of primitive plants covered the continents, many of which formed the coal beds of Europe and eastern North America.

Terrestrial animal life was well established by the Carboniferous period. Tetrapods (four limbed vertebrates), which had originated from lobe-finned fish during the preceding Devonian, diversified during the Carboniferous into early amphibian lineages including the synapsids (the group to which modern mammals belong) and reptiles during the late Carboniferous. The period is also sometimes called the Age of Amphibians, and gave rise to the legendary predators such as Snakes and Crocodiles.

Insects would undergo a major radiation during the late Carboniferous. Vast swaths of forest covered the land, which would eventually be laid down and become the coal beds characteristic of the Carboniferous stratigraphy evident today. The atmospheric content of oxygen reached its highest levels in geological history, 35% compared with 21% today, allowing terrestrial invertebrates, which breathe by diffusion of oxygen through spiracles, to grow very large.

The later half of the period experienced glaciations, low sea level, and mountain building as the continents collided to form Pangaea. The Paleozoic Era ended with the largest extinction event in the history of Earth, the Permian–Triassic extinction event. The effects of this catastrophe were so devastating that it took life on land 30 million years into the Mesozoic Era to recover.

Mesozoic

The Mesozoic Era, also called the Age of Reptiles and the Age of Conifers, is the second-to-last era of Earth's geological history, lasting from about 252 to 66 million years ago and comprising the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. It is characterized by the dominance of archosaurian reptiles, like the Dinosaurs; an abundance of conifers and ferns; a hot greenhouse climate; and the tectonic break-up of Pangaea. The Mesozoic is the middle of three eras since complex life evolved: the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic, and the Cenozoic.

The era began in the wake of the Permian–Triassic extinction event, the largest well-documented mass extinction in Earth's history, and ended with the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, another mass extinction whose victims included the non-avian dinosaurs. The Mesozoic was a time of significant tectonic, climatic, and evolutionary activity. The era witnessed the gradual rifting of the supercontinent Pangaea into separate landmasses that would move into their current positions during the next era. The climate of the Mesozoic was varied, alternating between warming and cooling periods. Overall, however, the Earth was hotter than it is today.

Dinosaurs first appeared in the Mid-Triassic, and became the dominant terrestrial vertebrates in the Late Triassic or Early Jurassic, occupying this position for about 150 or 135 million years until their demise at the end of the Cretaceous. Archaic birds appeared in the Jurassic, having evolved from a branch of theropod dinosaurs, then true toothless birds appeared in the Cretaceous. The first mammals also appeared during the Mesozoic, but would remain small—less than 15 kg (33 lb)—until the Cenozoic. The flowering plants appeared in the Early Cretaceous period and would rapidly diversify throughout the end of the era, replacing conifers and other gymnosperms as the dominant group of plants.

Cenozoic

The Cenozoic ('new life') is Earth's current geological era, representing the last 66 million years of Earth's history. It is characterized by the dominance of mammals, birds and flowering plants, a cooling and drying climate, and the current configuration of continents. It is the latest of three geological eras since complex life evolved, preceded by the Mesozoic and Paleozoic. It begins with the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, when many species, including the non-avian dinosaurs, became extinct in an event attributed by most experts to the impact of a large asteroid or other celestial body, the Chicxulub impactor. The Cenozoic is also known as the Age of Mammals, as mammals have come to dominate both hemispheres, particularly in the form of the Human species. The extinction of several animal species from the past is believed to have contributed to the current rise of of mammals.

Ice Ages

The Ice Ages, also known as the Quaternary glaciation or the Pleistocene glaciation, is an alternating series of glacial and interglacial periods that began 2.58 million years ago. It is during the Quaternary glaciation that ice sheets appeared. During glacial periods these ice sheets expand, and during interglacial periods they contract. Since the end of the last glacial period, the only surviving ice sheets are the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Other ice sheets, such as the Laurentide Ice Sheet, formed during glacial periods, had completely melted and disappeared during interglacials.

The major effects of the Quaternary glaciation have been the erosion of land and the deposition of material, both over large parts of the continents; the modification of river systems; the creation of millions of lakes, including the development of pluvial lakes far from the ice margins; changes in sea level; the isostatic adjustment of the Earth's crust; flooding; and abnormal winds. The ice sheets themselves, by raising the albedo (the extent to which the radiant energy of the Sun is reflected from Earth) created significant feedback to further cool the climate. These effects have shaped entire environments on land and in the oceans, and in their associated biological communities.

During the Ice ages, both marine and continental faunas became larger, and mammals such as Mammoths, Mastodons, Diprotodon, Smilodon, tiger, lion, Aurochs, short-faced bears, and giant sloths ruled over the land. Isolated landmasses such as Australia, Madagascar, New Zealand and islands in the Pacific saw the evolution of large birds.

With each advance of the ice, large areas of the continents became totally depopulated, and plants and animals retreating southwards in front of the advancing glacier faced tremendous stress. The most severe stress resulted from drastic climatic changes, reduced living space, and curtailed food supply. A major extinction event of large mammals, including the last of the Primal Apes, marks the end of this epoch, as does the emergence of modern Humans.

Neolithic

The Neolithic, also known as the Stone Age, was a broad prehistoric period during which humanity discovered the use of stones to create tools with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted for roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 4,000 BCE and 2,000 BCE, with the advent of metalworking.

During most of the Neolithic age of Eurasia, people lived in small tribes composed of multiple bands or lineages. The domestication of large animals (c. 8000 BC) resulted in a dramatic increase in social inequality in most of the areas where it occurred; possession of livestock allowed competition between households and resulted in inherited inequalities of wealth. Neolithic pastoralists who controlled large herds gradually acquired more livestock, and this made economic inequalities more pronounced.

A significant and far-reaching shift in human subsistence and lifestyle was brought about in areas where crop farming and cultivation were first developed; eventually the previous reliance on an essentially nomadic hunter-gatherer subsistence technique was first supplemented, and then increasingly replaced by, a reliance upon the foods produced from cultivated lands. These developments are also believed to have greatly encouraged the growth of settlements, since it may be supposed that the increased need to spend more time and labor in tending crop fields required more localized dwellings. This trend would continue into the Bronze Age, eventually giving rise to permanently settled farming towns, and later cities and states whose larger populations could be sustained by the increased productivity from cultivated lands.

Anthropocene

The Anthropocene is a proposed geological epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change. The Anthropocene is characterized by the industrialization of human society and the rise of manufacturing. The Industrial Revolution is considered by some to mark the beginning of the Anthropocene, and was accompanied with a great deal of changes on the social structure, the main change being a transition from farm work to factory related activities.

This resulted in the creation of a class structure that differentiated the commoners from the well off and the working category. It distorted the family system as most people moved into cities and left the farm areas, consequently playing a major role in the transmission of diseases. The place of women in the society then shifted from being home cares to employed workers hence reducing the number of children per household. Furthermore industrialization contributed to increased cases of child labor and thereafter education systems.

Since the mid 20th century, Humanity has experienced a period of dramatic growth and continuous technological advancements which has come to be known as the Great Acceleration. As of yet, it is unclear what the conclusion will be to this era of human proliferation, with some believing this growth to be unsustainable and prone to collapse, while others believe this progress is doomed to end with the emergence of a technological singularity that does not yield to human authority and instead enacts its own vision upon the world.

Gods of the Earth

Over the ages, humans have come to worship various Earth Deities who either rule over the planet as gods, or are themselves embodiments of the earth which may manifest either as life giving motherly figures or destructive beasts.

Biblical Account

According to the Bible, the Earth was intended by God to be the pinnacle of Creation and a symbol of his dominance over the forces of Chaos. However, due to the sins of mankind the Earth became tainted by corruption, transforming the harmony in nature into a viscous cycle between predator and prey, death and survival. Now the Earth serves as the battleground between Angels and Demons for the eternal souls of mankind.

Shortly after humans were banished from the Garden of Eden, Cain murdered his brother Abel out of rage and jealousy. The Earth again became cursed, this time with Abel's very blood. The emergence of the first murder committed by Adam and Eve's first born, would later spread throughout the land and infect those who possess a darkness within their hearts.

Eventually, the descendants of Adam and Eve became so numerous and sinful that God sent down a deluge known as the Great Flood, sparring only Noah a swell a few other faithful humans and 2 members of each animal species, because they had sought refuge in Noah's Ark as God had commanded. The Flood lasted for 30 days and 30 nights, during which the Earth was sent into turmoil and upheaval that shook it to its very core. When the waters finally retreated, the landscape of the Earth was completely transformed, and a new beginning for life on Earth commenced.

Aztec Account

According to the Aztecs, in the beginning the universe was just a giant empty Void hovering over primordial ocean that was home to the Primordials. Of the three reptilian brothers, Cipactli was the least enthusiastic about the arrival of gods into the cosmos. Whenever the deities made anything, it would fall into the ocean and Cipactli would devour it completely.

The gods were forced to come up with a plan that involved Tezcatlipoca luring Cipactli to the surface by using his leg as bait. This resulted in the deity losing the limb in the process, but in turn the four gods attacked and killed Cipactli, afterwards turning his body into the Earth. However Cipactli isn't fully dead, so the gods have vowed to offer him blood sacrifices continually least he return to wreck havoc upon the gods once again.

Greek Account

In Greek Mythology, Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life: the primal Mother Earth goddess. She is the immediate parent of Ouranos (the sky), from whose sexual union she bore the Titans (themselves parents of many of the Olympian gods) and the Giants, and of Pontus (the sea), from whose union she bore the primordial sea gods. Gaia conceived further offspring with Ouranos, first the giant one-eyed Cyclopes: Brontes ("Thunder"), Steropes ("Lightning") and Arges ("Bright"); then the Hecatonchires: Cottus, Briareos and Gyges, each with a hundred arms and fifty heads.

As each of the Cyclopes and Hecatonchires were born, Ouranos hid them in a secret place within Gaia, causing her great pain. So Gaia devised a plan. She created a grey flint sickle. And Cronus used the sickle to castrate his father Ouranos as he approached Gaia to have intercourse with her. From Ouranos' spilled blood, Gaia produced the Erinyes, the Giants and the Meliae. From the foam of Ouranos in the sea came forth Aphrodite.

Nations of the Earth

Over 7.3 billion humans live on Earth and depend on its biosphere and minerals for their survival. Humanity has developed diverse societies and cultures; politically, the world is divided into about 200 sovereign states.

Ancient

  • Lemuria: Ancient continent-empire in the Indian Ocean.
  • Mu: Ancient continent-empire in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Atlantis: Ancient island-empire in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Ancient Egypt: Ancient empire ruled by a Pharaoh in North Africa.
  • Babylon: Ancient state located in central-southern Mesopotamia.
  • Israel: State of the Jewish people of God, which was ruled by Jewish kings like Solomon.
  • Avalon: Enigmatic kingdom of fairies which is ruled by Oberon.
  • Vainola: Ancient pre-Finnish nation ruled by Vainamoinen.
  • Pohjola: Ancient pre-Finnish nation ruled by Louhi.
  • Roman Empire: Ancient Mediterranean Empire.
  • Persian Empire: Ancient Iranian Empire.
  • Aztec Empire: Ancient Aztec Empire ruled by the Mexica.

Modern

  • United States: North American nations, and one of the great powers on Earth.
  • Russia: The Russian Federation and one of the great powers on Earth.
  • Japan: One of the great powers on Earth.
  • Britain: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland created and once ruled by Albion.
  • India: The 2nd most populated country in the world, home of the longest practiced religion of Hinduism, which possesses the most gods of any pantheon.
  • Zothique: Future continent known through the words of Clark Ashton Smith.
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