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The United States of America is the third largest country – by surface area – in the world. Still, while this land mass possesses an area of almost 10 million square kilometers, it falls short of the moon’s surface area.
But what if we take the crust thickness into account? How does that affect the volume of the USA versus the moon? Continue reading to discover the answer, along with the terrain of each body and some statistics that will put the magnitude of their sizes into perspective.
How Big Is The United States Of America?
The United States Of America has a total surface area of 9,833,516 sq. km, which makes it the third largest country in the world. It has twice the surface area as the whole of the European Union, and it is larger than the 107 smallest countries in the world combined.
The largest state in the USA is Alaska, possessing a surface area of 1,070,000 sq km; Texas and California follow at 430,000 sq km and 260,000 sq km, respectively.
These areas represent a flat two-dimensional area, but if we want to compare the size of the USA and the moon, then we need to know the volume.
Earth’s crust ranges from around 5 to 70 km in thickness. Generally, this crust is thicker under the continental land, which averages 40 km. Taking this average and multiplying it by the surface area of the USA, we can calculate that the rough volume of the USA is around 393,340,640 cubic kilometers.
This might sound like a lot, but it still falls short of the moon’s 21.9 billion cubic kilometers of volume. Even if we take Earth’s crust at its thickest (70 km), the total volume of the USA is still less than the moon.
The actual crust will vary as the USA is a diverse country with dramatic variances in terrain. This country’s three most significant mountain ranges are the Appalachians, the Rockies, and the Sierra Nevada.
How Big Is The Moon?
The moon has a surface area of 37,936,695 sq. km, which is about five times the area of Australia. While this celestial body may appear to be a perfect sphere, it is an oblate spheroid which means that the diameter is slightly less when you measure it pole to pole instead of across the equator.
The moon’s volume, when we look at its entire body, is 21,971,669,064 cubic kilometers. The crust is thicker than the Earth’s crust, which is pretty significant if you’re comparing the size of these two bodies. The moon’s crust is between 60 and 100 kilometers thick.
Even if we take the moon’s crust at its thinnest, the total area tops two billion cubic kilometers, which is significantly bigger than the volume of the USA.
Viewing the moon, you can see the mix of dark lunar plains and bright mountainous highlands. Early observations led scientists to believe that the dark areas could represent water, but we have since discovered that there is no water on this airless surface.
Earth mountains are created through tectonic or volcanic action. In comparison, the moon’s mountainous ranges formed almost exclusively from the impact of crater collisions.
There are three significant mountain ranges on the moon: the Montes Caucasus and Montes Apenninus create a barrier between the Sea of Serenity and the Sea of Showers. And in the northwest, the Plato crater is encased by the Montes Alpes (lunar Alps).
What Continents Are Bigger Than The Moon?
Australia has a bigger diameter than the moon when you compare the east-to-west measurement of 4,000 km with the moon’s diameter of 3,400 km. Still, Australia is a flat land mass, and the moon is a three-dimensional oblate spheroid, so ultimately the moon possesses five times the surface area of Australia.
The only continent with a larger surface area than the moon is Asia. The Earth’s largest continent has roughly 44,500,000 sq km surface area, compared to the moon’s 37,800,000 sq km.
Taking the “land mass,” i.e., the surface area multiplied by the average depth of crust, the moon still wins over Asia, and when you compare the complete volume of the two, the moon wins. The surface area of Asia may be greater than the moon’s, but no continent is truly bigger than this celestial body.
The United States of America is an impressively sized country; still, it is nowhere near the size of our moon, which has almost four times the surface area and somewhere between 5 to 50 times the volume depending on whether you compare the average crust depth or the moon’s body as a whole.
(78) How Big Is USA Actually? – YouTube
How big is moon and how far is it? Let’s put facts into perspective | Business Standard News (business-standard.com)
By the Numbers | Earth’s Moon – NASA Solar System Exploration