Interesting geography: 70 surprising facts. Whether you graduated from high school now or 10 years ago, there is probably a lot you don’t know about our extraordinary planet.
For example: did you know that the Pacific Ocean is shrinking every year? Or that there is a sea without shores?
Interesting & Surprising Geography Facts
These interesting geography facts will surprise you!
1. Mauna Kea is higher than Everest
Mount Everest is the tallest mountain above sea level, but when it comes to the tallest mountain on the planet, that honor goes to Mauna Kea.
Over the sea, Mauna Kea rises to 4207 meters. But if you count from its base at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, it reaches 10006 meters – 915 meters higher than Everest.
In addition, Everest is not only not the tallest mountain in the world, but also not the closest to space. Even though it has the highest altitude above sea level.
2. Iceland is growing by 5 centimeters per year
The area of Iceland, divided by North American and European tectonic plates, increases by almost 5 centimeters annually as the plates move away from each other.
As the Americas move westward, the Pacific Ocean shrinks (2-3 cm per year). Every year Asia and America are getting closer to each other.
3. There are 11 time zones in Russia (total in the world – 24)
Thus, when a Russian in one part of the country wakes up at 7 a.m., someone in another part of the country sits down to lunch.
4. Alaska is the westernmost and easternmost state in the United States
You can think of Alaska as the westernmost state in the United States, especially when looking at a map. But it is also the easternmost state.
Alaska stretches from the west to the easternmost hemisphere.
5. Mexico City is drowning
Originally built on a lake in 1325, Mexico City is currently sinking about 90 centimeters per year.
The Aztecs built an artificial island on this site, and the Spaniards created a second location on the ruins in 1521.
6. Los Angeles and San Francisco will soon become neighboring cities
The San Andreas Fault in California “swallows” almost 5 centimeters of land every year.
The fault is associated with earthquakes reaching a magnitude of 9 and causing surface displacements of the earth’s crust.
7. The Philippines consists of several thousand islands
The Philippines archipelago consists of 7641 islands – several hundred more than previously thought.
These South Pacific islands were named after King Philip II of Spain. The country’s largest island, Luzon, covers over 60 square kilometers.
8.Russia and China border on 14 countries of the world
Few facts about the geography of Russia.
Looking at the map, it would seem that Russia could swallow all of China. However, both countries share borders with 14 other countries.
Russia (including the Kaliningrad region) borders with Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, North Korea, Norway, Poland, and Ukraine.
China shares borders with Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Vietnam.
9. Three countries are landlocked and border only one country
Lesotho, San Marino, and the Vatican are the only countries completely surrounded by the territory of another state.
Lesotho is located entirely within South Africa, while San Marino and the Vatican are located in Italy.
10. The Sargasso Sea has no shores
This is the only sea in the world without shores. The Sargasso Sea is located in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is surrounded by four ocean currents, with no coastline.
11. The Yellowstone Reserve is home to the only supervolcano on Earth
The caldera is considered a dormant supervolcano. It has erupted with great force several times over the past 2 million years.
- Most of the park is covered with solidified lava;
- The park is home to one of five geyser fields in the world.
The volcano “survived” three very large eruptions, fortunately for park lovers, the last one occurred 640,000 years ago.
Today the volcanic characteristics of the reserve are manifested in the form of hot springs and world-famous geysers.
12. Sudan has more ancient pyramids than Egypt
The Egyptian pyramids of Giza can be considered one of the wonders of the world, but there are almost twice as many pyramids in Sudan.
Sudan has 200-255 known pyramids built for the Kushite kingdoms of Nubia, compared with 138 Egyptian pyramids.
13. The largest rock on the planet is in Australia
Despite its name, Mount Augustus is not a mountain, but one very large cobblestone.
This rock is over 800 meters high and can be seen from a distance of 150 kilometers.
14. The oldest and continuously inhabited city in the world – Damascus
Jerusalem and Athens are considered the oldest cities in the world, but this is not entirely true.
The oldest city is Damascus, Syria. Built at least 11,000 years ago, in 2008 it was named the cultural capital of the Arab countries.
Damascus has over 125 monuments that indicate different periods of its history.
Today the city is home to 1.7 million people.
15. Africa spans all four hemispheres
It is the only continent in the world that is located in all four hemispheres – north, south, east, and west.
Africa covers almost 20 million square kilometers and occupies 6% of the total surface of the Earth.
Africa has 54 countries, the largest of which is Algeria.
16. Kentucky has more caves than any other place on Earth.
The Kentucky cave system is about 600 kilometers long – and that’s just what has been explored.
Scientists believe there are at least another 300 kilometers of unexplored caves!
17. Istanbul is the only major city located on two continents
Istanbul is located in Europe and Asia. The Bosphorus Strait runs through the middle of the city. The more populated European side serves as a commercial and historical center.
Istanbul has a 2000-year history, at various times it was the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires.
18. Alaska has the largest cities in America
New York and Los Angeles may be more populous than any city in Alaska, but based on area, Alaska is home to the largest cities in the United States.
Sitka is home to no more than 10,000 people, but the city covers over 4,000 square kilometers (New York, by comparison, covers only 500 square kilometers).
Juneau, with a population of over 31,000, has an area of 4,500 square kilometers. Tiny Wrangel, with a population of just over 2,300, covers an area of over 4,000 square kilometers.
19. The vast majority of the world’s population is in the north
The northern hemisphere is home to 90% of the world’s population.
Today, 7.3 billion people live on Earth. However, 6.57 billion people live north of the equator in North America, Europe, most of Africa and Asia, and even parts of South America.
20. The deepest place on Earth is in the Pacific Ocean
The Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean is the deepest place on the planet. Its depth is almost 11,000 meters.
21. The Trans-Siberian Railway of Russia crosses 16 large rivers
If you want to take a train and travel all over Russia, you need to set aside seven days and cross all 11 time zones.
The railway crosses 16 of the largest rivers in Russia, including the Volga.
22. It’s snowing in the Sahara
Interesting facts about geography cannot do without mentioning the largest desert in the world.
With temperatures reaching 58 degrees Celsius, the Sahara Desert in North Africa rarely gets cold enough for snow. But he happens there!
The Sahara temperature averages 30 degrees, but in the evenings it drops to about 13 degrees.
In January 2018, snow fell for the third time in the Sahara in 40 years – before that in 2016 and 1979. This is such interesting geography.
23. Flying over the Great Barrier Reef, you will see the heart
The Great Barrier Reef, which spans 2,000 kilometers along Australia’s coastline, has a heart-shaped reef – and is very visible from above.
The reef is only 20 meters in diameter and is part of the Hardy Reef in Whitsundays.
24. The largest concentration of lakes is in Canada
Nine percent of Canada’s area is freshwater lakes. There are 31,752 of them in the country.
These lakes are also impressive in size; Canada’s 561 lakes are over 100 square kilometers.
25. 42 buildings in New York have their own zip codes
New York is known for its stunning skyscrapers – and some are so epic they have their own zip codes.
The Empire State Building, MetLife Building, Woolworth Building, and Chrysler Building are some of the buildings that boast this distinction.
26. There are 2 islands 4 kilometers apart and 20 hours apart
The Diomede Islands are located between the USA and Russia.
Big Diomede (Ratmanov Island) is located in Russia, and Small Diomede (Kruzenstern Island) is in America.
The islands are only 4 kilometers from each other, but the time difference between them is 20 hours. Therefore, Big Diomede is often called the Island of Tomorrow, and Little Diomede is often called the Island of Yesterday.
An amazing fact about the geography of the world!
27. The Earth Has Enough Gold
The gold rush is over, but perhaps only temporarily. There is enough gold in the core of the planet to cover the entire Earth with a half-meter layer.
28. Water covers most of the planet, but mostly it cannot be used by humans
71% of the Earth is covered by water, but only 0.007% of it can be used by humans.
How come? Only 2.5% is freshwater. In addition, of this freshwater, only 1% is readily available, while the rest is found in glaciers and snowfields.
29. The most distant place on Earth – point Nemo
Officially called the “oceanic pole of inaccessibility”, Cape Nemo is located 1,500 kilometers from any land in any direction.
“Nemo” in translation from Latin means “nobody”. The people closest to Cape Nemo are the astronauts on the International Space Station.
30.20% of the planet’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon
How important is the Amazon rainforest in South America? Think about it: over 20% of the oxygen is produced by this forest.
31. A drop of water will take 90 days to swim the entire length of the Mississippi
The Mississippi is the longest river in North America. A drop of water from its northernmost source (in Minnesota) will reach the Gulf of Mexico in 90 days.
32. There is a piece of land in North Carolina that belongs to England
Along North Carolina, in the small town of Ocraccock, the island was officially leased to England.
When the British ship Bedfordshire was sunk by a German torpedo, all 37 sailors on board were killed. However, four bodies were washed ashore and buried in the cemetery, which was permanently leased to the British so that the sailors remained in their homeland.
33. Continents move faster during tectonic plate fluctuations
Continents move about 2.5 centimeters a year, but when tectonic plates wobble, scientists have found they can move 20 times faster.
In these moments, they fly away as quickly as your nails grow.
34. California is larger than Canada (by population)
The population of Canada as of 2019 is 37.5 million. The population of California in 2019 is 39.75 million.
At the same time, California is 250,000 square kilometers, and Canada – more than 15,000,000 square kilometers.
35. Australia’s Red Mountain is bigger than you think
Uluru, the famous red rock of central Australia, rises 300 meters above the desert and is 3.5 kilometers long and 2.2 kilometers wide.
36. The Dead Sea Drowns
The Dead Sea is 350 meters below sea level and is constantly sinking. The researchers found that the surface level of the salty sea drops by more than 1 meter per year.
37. You can’t drown in the Dead Sea
Because the Dead Sea contains 8-9 times more salt than the rest of the world’s oceans and seas.
38. You can walk to Russia from Alaska
Only 4 kilometers separate the Russian island of Big Diomede from the island of Alaska, Small Diomede.
In winter, the water separating the two islands freezes over, allowing travel from one place to another.
39. The shortest city names have one letter
The word for river in Scandinavian is Å, and there are villages with this name in Norway and Sweden. In Sweden, there is a village called “Ö”
There is a village in France called “Y”.
40. A city in Nebraska has one resident
The only city in the world with a population of “one person” – Mondovi, USA.
41. Longest country name – 56 characters
The official name of Great Britain is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
42. There are 7000 Caribbean islands
A total of 26 island states of the Caribbean are inhabited. But there are 7,000 islands per 1.5 million square kilometers, which together make up the Caribbean.
43. The world’s largest war memorial is the road
When Australian soldiers returned from World War I, they were offered work to build a road along the Australian coast.
By the time construction was completed in 1932, the Great Ocean Road stretched for 220 kilometers. The road was dedicated to soldiers killed in the war, making it the world’s largest war memorial.
44. New York is located in all directions from the city of Stamford.
Amazing geography! Drive, walk, crawl from Stamford, Connecticut, in any direction, and you will find yourself in New York State.
The only option is to head along the narrow path to the northeast.
45. There are 840 languages in one country
Do you think learning a second language is difficult? Try 840. This is the number of languages currently spoken in Papua New Guinea.
46. Only 2 countries in South America do not border Brazil
Brazil is so large that it covers over 5,000,000 square kilometers of South America. Only Ecuador and Chile (both on the west coast) are separated from Brazil by other countries.
47. The lowest temperature ever -89.2 ° C
In 1983, the Soviet Vostok station recorded a soil temperature in Antarctica of -89.2 ° C.
48. Highest temperature 56.7 ° C
In 1913, the World Meteorological Organization recorded an earth temperature of 56.7 ° C in California in Death Valley.
49. Snow in Hawaii
Volcanoes in Hawaii are quite high. Therefore, although the coastlines are filled with palm trees and at a tropical pace, snow can be seen in the mountains.
Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Haleakala, all on the Big Island, are over 3 kilometers high and are covered in snow in winter. Moreover, “Mauna Kea” means “White Mountain” because of the snow cover.
The amazing world of geography includes more than just snow in the Sahara.
50. Brazil has over 300 indigenous tribes
This is almost 900,000 people.
51. Lions became extinct in 26 countries in Africa
The kings of the jungle once roamed all the countries of Africa. An estimated 23,000 to 39,000 lions remain on the continent today, and there are no more lions in 26 countries in Africa.
52. The Australian Alps have more snow than the Swiss
Due to its proximity to the coast, the Australian Alps receive more snow each year than landlocked Switzerland.
53. The largest sandy island in the world is also located in Australia
Fraser Island, naturally made of sand, is over 100 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide.
54. India is home to the world’s tallest cricket field
Cricket is extremely popular in India. To provide students with a field dedicated to sports, the Chale Military School has built a cricket ground. The highest in the world.
Founded in 1893, Chail Cricket Ground is over 2 kilometers above sea level.
55. Peru has floating islands on Lake Uros
High in Peru, Lake Titicaca is home to a tribe of people who live on islands of floating reeds. They even have a football field built on reeds!
The floating city of Puno was originally built on reeds, so it could easily get away from any danger.
56. The shortest plane flight in the world lasts 57 seconds
You can do the shortest commercial by traveling between Westray and Pope Westray in Scotland. These are islands that are 2.5 kilometers apart.
57. The world’s longest flight lasts 19 hours
The world’s longest commercial flight is from Newark, New Jersey to Singapore. In 19 hours the plane flies over 15,000 kilometers.
58. Russia has the highest mountain in Europe
The highest peak in Europe is in Russia, this is Elbrus. Its height is 5642 meters above sea level.
59. Russia also has the coldest settlement on Earth
In 1924, a record low temperature of -71 degrees Celsius was recorded in Oymyakon.
60. Ethiopia has the hottest place on Earth
At the opposite end of the weather, spectrum is Dallol, Ethiopia, the hottest habitat on the planet. Average temperatures there reach 41 degrees Celsius.
61. Mausinram in India is the wettest place on Earth
This village receives an average of 2 meters of rainfall every year.
62. There are valleys in which precipitation does not fall at all
At the bottom of the globe, the Dry Valleys of Antarctica have not had a drop of rain or snow for nearly 2 million years. Scientists attribute this to the gravitational attraction of the Earth.
63. Yuma is the sunniest place
Yuma, USA, receives an average of over 4,000 hours of sunshine per year: 11 hours a day in winter and 13 hours in summer.
64. Portugal is on three continents
Portugal, located in western Europe, has two land areas that are located on three different continents. The Madeira archipelago is closer to Africa than to Europe, and the Azores archipelago is closer to North America.
Truly, geography is an interesting science!
65. The Middle East imports sand from Australia
There may be a lot of sand in the Middle East, but it is not suitable for construction. This is why countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates import sand from Australia.
66. The Caribbean Sea Is The Deepest
The depth of the Cayman Trench reaches 9000 meters, it is located between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica.
67. Hurricanes hit China more often than any other country
Since 1970, China has been hit by 172 hurricanes. The largest typhoon, Rammasun in 2014 – wind speeds reached 250 kilometers per hour.
68. Mexicans caused an earthquake in 2018
During the 2018 FIFA World Cup game, seismologists in Mexico City recorded small earthquakes when the Mexican soccer team scored a goal against Germany, the reigning world champion.
69. The most dangerous animals in Australia are horses
Australia has terrible animals that can kill anyone. Among them are spiders, sharks, and poisonous snakes.
However, most of the deaths are from horses (including ponies and donkeys). Followed by cows and dogs.
70. In 14 countries the forest occupies less than 1% of the territory (in 3 countries it does not exist at all)
In 2013, the World Bank reviewed the landmass available in each country for forests. Unfortunately, in 14 countries less than 1% of the land is allocated for trees, and in 25 countries less than 3%.
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