These Geography Facts Are Life-of-the-Party Material
Geography. It’s maybe not the sexiest topic you can think of, but it's kind of slept-on, especially if you consider the facts you’re about to learn from this list. If you thought that the makeup of the planet had little to offer in terms of scintillating brain food, think again. Next time you're at a cocktail party or need to liven up a dull conversation, break out these tidbits and watch the crowd swoon in awe of your knowledge.
Alaska: East or West?
Americans generally think of Alaska as a western state, and they're not wrong. It lies northwest of California, Oregon and Washington, so it’s a certifiably western mass of land. But would you be surprised to find out that it’s also the easternmost state in America, too?
Iceland Grows 5 Centimeters Each Year
Iceland is an island that sits on top of two tectonic plates: the Eurasian and the North American plates. Tectonic plates have faults that can widen over time, and because the two plates that lie under Iceland are drifting steadily apart, Iceland spreads with them each year.
Russia: The Land of Time Zones
Russia is the most geographically massive nation in the world, and its width is perhaps its most impressive geographical feature. Russia is so wide, in fact, that it sits across 11 different time zones.
Mexico City Is Sinking
If you aren't up to date on your geography-related trivia, then you may be surprised to find out the extent to which the world is in a state of physical change. Entire continents are moving, countries are expanding and Mexico City...well, it's sinking.
One Day Los Angeles and San Francisco Will Be Neighbors
Earth’s tectonic plates are always shifting and moving gradually, so much so that we can predict roughly where continents, nations, states and cities will lie within a matter of (lots of) years. The San Andreas Fault is responsible for many earthquakes that strike California, and it’s moving Californian cities steadily over time.
Russia and China Have Some Serious Borders
When you're a massive nation, you know a thing or two about sharing borders. Russia is the largest nation in the world in terms of land, while China is the third, and they’re each positioned so that they both share borders with 14 other countries.
These Three Nations Are Surrounded by Single Nations
It’s rare that a nation could be landlocked within a single other country. If a single nation shares a border with only one nation and doesn’t abut a body of water, then that essentially means that the nation is completely enveloped by the nation it shares a border with — they’re called enclaves. Think a country inside a country.
The Sargasso Sea Is the Only Sea Without Coastlines
Surely you’ve been searching for your entire life to find the sea that has no coasts. Well, your search ends today, because you've found the sole sea without a coast, and it's called the Sargasso Sea. It’s a sea located within an ocean — the Atlantic, to be specific.
There's a Supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park
Perhaps you've heard of this supervolcano — the one that’s supposed to explode and lay waste to a huge portion of the western United States? Yellowstone has had three massive eruptions (that scientists know about, at least), and they happen at an average of every 725,000 years.
Which Has More Pyramids, Sudan or Egypt?
If you picked Egypt, then you’re probably one of those people who can't spot a trick question. That’s okay. We’re here to help. The obvious answer to the question seems like it would be Egypt, which is why the answer is actually Sudan.
Australia: Home of the Largest Rock Ever
Or, at least, Australia is home to the largest rock currently known to man, and that’s saying something. There are lots of rocks in this world, and to be home to the biggest rock known to humankind is quite the feat.
Damascus: The Oldest City
There are some really old cities in this world, but when you count cities' ages based only on those that have maintained populations throughout history, Damascus takes the cake as the oldest in the world. The Syrian city has maintained a population for at least 11,000 years, a testament to its longevity and history.
Africa: Where Isn't It?
Think you know your Africa trivia? No, really, how much do you know about Africa? Did you know that Africa sits in all four hemispheres? This is pretty impressive.
And you thought that all Kentucky was known for was college basketball, horse racing and fried chicken. In all seriousness, Kentucky isn’t quite known for its caves, but it definitely should be.
Istanbul: Straddling Two Continents
Istanbul, Turkey, is a city of great history, culture and architecture. It has lasted through the age of the Ottoman Turks and endured numerous periods of tumult in the Middle East. But it also has a more unique distinction under its belt.
People Seem to Prefer the North
Can’t get enough of that sweltering humidity? Think that your summer-loving way of life is the only way to live? Hopefully you don't mind being in the minority, because the majority of humanity seemingly disagrees with your lifestyle choice.
The Pacific Ocean: Deeper Than Deep
If you're looking for the deepest point on Earth — at least the one we know about so far — you're going to have to hold your breath. That deepest point lies within the Mariana Trench, which itself lies within the Pacific Ocean. The Mariana Trench is more than 36,000 feet deep in some spots.
The Sahara Desert: Land of the...Snow?
When you think of the Sahara Desert, you think of scorching sun heating the sand. You think of camels trodding across the endless dunes. You think about what it would be like to be marooned without water in the vast desert. And you think of snow...right?
Bangkok? Not Exactly
You probably know that the capital of Thailand is called Bangkok. It's a city of exceptional history and majesty. But what if you were to find out that Bangkok is not even Bangkok's real name?
Lotta Canadian Lakes
Canada is the country with the greatest square mileage of lakes per square mile of country. In fact, 9% of Canada's land mass is covered in freshwater lakes, and about 60% of the world’s lakes are found in Canada.
New York Skyscrapers Are ZIP Code-worthy
New York is a city known for building upwards, as much of its most prized real estate is confined on an island. Some of the buildings contain so many residences, office buildings and sheer numbers of people that they become like mini-cities in and of themselves.
Two Close Islands Separated by Time
Answer this: How can two islands be 2.4 miles apart and yet traveling between the two means you’ve time-traveled 20 hours? It's a trick question. The answer revolves around the International Date Line. Figured it out yet?
Going to Canada? Start in Detroit and Head South
Some anomalies belie people’s macro-understanding of geography. For example, it’s commonly accepted that Canada lies north of the United States, right? Then how come you can drive south out of Detroit into Canada?
The Amazon Air-forest?
The Amazon rainforest is a massive source of the air that we breathe. It should be near and dear to your heart and mind, because the Amazon is responsible for producing approximately 10% of all the oxygen in the world. It’s not the 20% that people often cite, but 10% is still pretty impressive.
The Mighty Mississippi Is a Long, Winding Road
The Mississippi River is perhaps the single most important body of water for the United States of America. The river snakes through the heart of the nation, starting in Minnesota and traveling all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. Its currents are strong and its waters are wide.
Welcome to England, North Carolina
When you think of the United States, you think of it as a sovereign nation, right? That is, you assume that any piece of land that sits within U.S. borders is part and parcel of the United States, don't you?
California Has More Voting Power Than Canada
It’s rare that a nation as large as Canada is less populous than a state, but that’s the case with Canada and California. Granted, California is relatively massive for a state, and Canada has lots and lots of unpopulated wilderness that becomes uninhabitable during the winter.
The Dead Sea Is Sinking
The Dead Sea already has the distinction of having the lowest land elevation on the planet — not to mention a name that’s less than uplifting unless you’re a zombie. But if you were to ask the Dead Sea how low it can go, you may be surprised to learn that it can go much, much lower than it currently is. Just give it some time.
Walk From Alaska to Russia
Remember the Diomede Islands? Those little land masses way out in the Bering Strait that are just a couple miles apart physically but almost 20 hours apart, time-wise?
The One-woman Town
What’s the smallest population of any town in the world, if you had to guess? Well, a town in Nebraska has the lowest number of residents possible while still having residents. Monowi has a whopping population of one person.