Wednesday, February 23, 2011

There's An Abandoned Bus On Top Of Mount St. Elias

It's nearly impossible for us flat-landers to really visualize how big a truly big mountain is. St. Elias mountain is the tallest mountain from base to summit at 18,009 ft from its base at sea level to its summit (Yes Hawaiians, I know you have a bigger one, but most of it is under water). My goal for this post is to graphically, and possibly painfully, help you visualize how big this is.

Now when I hear about big things, I usually try to visualize them with calculating how many football fields it makes. Luckily, St. Elias actually has a football field up there on the west side of the mountain somewhere around 11,000 ft. Are you having trouble seeing it in the picture? Here's a zoom-in of the football field:

At first glance, it looks like a field goal on the west side of the field would cause the ball to fall all the way to the Pacific Ocean, but I urge you to look closer. You've got another football field and a half before the edge, so unless you can kick 165 yards, you should be good.

If you've ever watched a famous movie about Alaska, it's one of the following: Balto, That one chick flick that I never saw, That one with the crazy guy who lived with the bears, or That one with the crazy guy who found an abandoned bus in the middle of no where, then died from eating a poisonous plant. Well, that one with the abandoned bus is called "Into The Wild." Christopher McCandless supposedly died in the abandoned bus near Denali National Park. Well, I've been near Denali National Park and I never saw no abandoned bus (except for the tour bus that was attacked by a pack of rabid wolves and turned into an exhibit designed to scare little children). Here are some biking directions from Sarah Palin's house to the supposed site of the abandoned bus. No, I believe Christopher McCandless actually died on top of mount St. Elias. His bus is there too. What? You can't see the bus on the picture I put at the top? Here's a zoom-in to prove to you that there's an abandoned school bus at the top of St. Elias:

That would be a normal sized yellow school bus at the top of St. Elias (click on it for full-size). That's quite the feat to have driven a school bus to the top of St. Elias. Look at how tiny that bus is compared to the mountain!

Now imagine being a dust mite--a baby dust mite that's approximately 4.5 times smaller than a normal sized dust mite. Here's a nice picture of a dust mite.

Now zoom out 3,132x.

That would be a dust mite on my right cheek wrinkle. The closed eyes indicate that I was about to sneeze because the dust mite had just made dust. Anyways, that dust mite is 3,132 times shorter than me. And I'm 3,132 times shorter than mount St. Elias.

And finally, to beat a dead horse: According to global warming scientists, and assuming conservation of mass is invalid, the Earth's sea level will reach the summit of St. Elias in the year 20,020. That means we could replay the time between Jesus and today 10 times before the sea level reaches the summit.

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