How Much Does the Earth Weigh?

Since the earth is suspended in space, it cannot be put on a scale and weighed.

But scientists can estimate its total weight by estimating the weight of each of its parts, the crust, or solid rock, the mantle, also solid rock, and the core, a liquid, because of the great heat at the center.

These add up to an estimated 6.6 sextillion tons. To see what that number looks like, we’d have to write two 6s, followed by twenty zeros, or 6,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons.

Some people believe that the earth’s weight increases by 100,000 pounds each year from dust and meteoric material falling from the sky, from the residue of burning fuel, and from salt from the ocean spray.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    I would think that earth’s atmosphere should also be included in the estimate. Although the atmosphere is a small part of the total weight, it is a part of the planet and it is simple enough to estimate. Also, I don’t see how residue of burning fuel and salt from ocean spray would increase the weight of the earth…..both of those things originate from earth and would be included in the original estimate.

  2. Zac Hendricks says

    I remember it being 6 sextillion, 570 quantillion tons when I was in grammer school. Now it seems that it has been updated to 6 sextillion, 585 quintillion tons.

    It appears, gentlemen and ladies, that we have cumulatively gained 15 quintillion tons.

    Personally, I charge McDonalds for this aggregate weight gain.

  3. Anonymous says

    i think your wrong about mcdonalds because i am a child ho love mcdonalds and i am only 75 pounds for age 9.

  4. DZL says

    i just recently found out about this weight issue. didnt know sextillion was a mesurement….crazy

  5. Suman boddukuru says

    I think the earth weight increses along with the human beings activities ? but not sure about those activities can any ?

  6. Sudheer says

    I also agree with this comment. I would say, Earth weight Decreases/increases only if something goes out from this planet or comes in to this planet.

  7. Rob Shelley says

    This is exactly right as mass only changes form, it is never destroyed. The best estimate is that the Earth increases in weight by some 50,000 tonnes each year as a result of interstella matter, bits of meteor and asteroids, and stella dust falling to the ground.

    This “weight gain” is offset by the relatively small amount of junk (but still too much) we humans put into orbit although most of it falls back in time.

  8. service says

    Hmmmn, so pumping a VERY TINY fraction of 6,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons in the form petro emmisions back up the the surface (atmosphere) will cause the whole world’s climate change huh?

  9. Maks says

    Firstly WEIGHT is measured in Newtons and not in tonnes/kilogrammes
    Secondly, the earth’s weight is relatively small. It’s the mass multiplied by the acceleration towards the sun (or the gravitational attraction force of the sun) which is much less that the earth’s own 9.81ms^-2 :)

  10. jordyn says

    This is exactly right as mass only changes form, it is never destroyed. The best estimate is that the Earth increases in weight by some 50,000 tonnes each year as a result of interstella matter, bits of meteor and asteroids, and stella dust falling to the ground.

    This “weight gain” is offset by the relatively small amount of junk (but still too much) we humans put into orbit although most of it falls back in time.
    :)

  11. jordyn says

    hahahaha im just to good :)
    These add up to an estimated 6.6 sextillion tons! To see what that number looks like, we’d have to write two 6s, followed by twenty Os, or 6,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons!

  12. blahblah says

    That’s a normal weight. A bit on the high side, actually, but normal.

  13. Charles says

    Mass is a quality held by matter and energy. Every nuclear device converts a bit of matter into energy.

    Matter can, in quantum physics be both created and destroyed (though mostly we see it converted into energy and dissipated.

    Fuel residue = fuel + atmosphere, ocean spray = ocean-water. So long as you’re not separating out the atmospheric or ocean mass neither changes the mass of the Earth itself.

    The mass of the ocean is increasing by ~1 TeraTonne per year (20 yr average), and the rate is increasing by ~39.5 GigaTonnes per year by land ice sheets melting.

    Last space dust estimates were over 400 tonnes per year-200,000Kg and may be higher as we have recently discovered that more and large rocks hit us than previously thought.

  14. Charles says

    As with many things, qualities of the matter pumped into the atmosphere determines the effect.

    Just as a couple grams of ingested salt won’t kill you and the same few grams ingested as either sodium or chlorine will easily kill you.

    Atmospheric gases are incredibly effective because they tend to act more as a catalyst than an active ingredient–the gas doesn’t get used up but remains, doing it’s thing, year after year.

    This is how the most virulent poisons kill (e.g. abrin, ricin) in microgram amounts . Most poisons have much higher lethal doses because the material is actually bonded to your cells and thus gets used up in the process of poisoning.

  15. tony says

    carbon dioxide gets used by plants to make sugars, and the plants in turn release oxygen, we breath in oxygen to use in our metabolic system to burn sugars that plants create, creating carbon dioxide, which we breath out and the cycle continues. in fact plants like the fact that we release so much CO2 they will grow faster and produce much fruits and veggies, animals like this as more plants mean more food for the herbivores, more food for them mean more of them there would be a increase of herbivores, then the carnivores would like it as there would be more food for them to eat. then of course the plants sucking in the CO2 would produce much more oxygen which we breath in. then the animals die giving nutrients back to the plants than they will use them to produce much more produce.

    oh and not to metion the CO2 level was much higher during roman times than it is now and polars bears were alive then climate change doesnt afect the plant as much much as people think does and is just a excuse to regulate ours lives further than ever before

  16. balldog says

    look the mass of the earth carnt increse unless another mass from space comes to earth because evrything on earth shod be added to the mass of the earth so no matter were on earth that mass gose wether it be in burning fossal fules of from the spray of the see

  17. Darren says

    Weight gain or loss may not seem like a problem for concern. What about weight redistribution. Millions of tonnes of heavy liquid oil are removed from beneath the earth surface and vaporized every day. This may not change the particle weight ratio… But what are the long term affects on the earth’s rotation and balance. Climate change might prove to be less about the ozone layer and gases and more about weight redistribution and shifting balance. Too late to put all of the oil back after we find out we made a big mistake and have caused the earth to loose its balance and drift closer to the sun.

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