What Would Earth Look Like Without The Oceans?

Saying that Earth has water is like, well, saying that Scrooge McDuck has money. This place has water everywhere, from the skies, to the air, to inside your body. Have you ever wondered, though, what this little blue orb in space might look like if a great cosmic Shop-Vac just sucked out all the water?

Now, obviously, this sort of doomsday would never happen, considering the actual threat facing the human race is sea level rise caused by climate change. That said, you wouldn't be the first person interested in seeing if a water-less Earth looked like Mars, and back in 2015, an image that some claimed to be depicting a dry Earth circulated through cyberspace. 

The image you've seen isn't what you think

That image looks familiar, right? It's lumpy! It's bumpy! It's shaped like a potato! It's ... not Earth without water. Not at all.

While this graphic went viral back in the mid-2010s, which convinced a lot of people that Earth was one weird lookin' pebble under all those oceans, Slate swooped in to debunk these claims. The animation originally came from a MATLAB script, packaged by Ales Bezdek, and what it actually depicts is the Earth's geoid, or gravitational field. Phony memes aside, that's actually quite interesting: what this image shows is how gravity is stronger at certain places than others, because the planet doesn't have the same density at every part of its interior. The hilarious part of all this? As Slate points out, this graphic actually shows what the Earth would look like if the entire planet were covered in water, ala Waterworld, or the exact opposite of what people say it shows. 

Never fear, though. There is a portrait of a water-free Earth out there. Coming at you in one, two, three ... 

Okay, what would it REALLY look like, then, wise guy?

... Yeah, sorry. It's disappointing. 

The above image, created by the United States Geological Survey, shows what the Earth would look like if all the water was plopped together. The big sphere is composed of all the water on the planet. The middle sphere is all the liquid freshwater. The smallest one, then, is the freshwater lakes and rivers. And yes, while you might want to scream that there's no way that Earth has so "little" water on it, the science checks out: Earth's oceans are honestly just a thin, blue blanket over an otherwise hard surface. So while water covers most of the Earth, most of the Earth isn't composed of water. Get it? 

So no, if Galactus came along and sucked up Earth's water with a big straw, the planet's fundamental shape wouldn't change. That said, the image above still has some awfully green plant life running over the continents, and it's hard to image those trees surviving on a water-less planet ... but you get the idea. Don't worry, though. Water isn't one of the (many) things the Earth is running out of