Here’s some geography trivia with which to dazzle and amaze your friends:
• More than half the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska.
• The Amazon rainforest produces more than 20 per cent the world’s oxygen supply. The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that, if you were over 160 kilometres at sea, off the mouth of the river, you could dip fresh water out of the ocean.
The volume of water in the Amazon river is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all the rivers in the United States .
• Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country. Ninety per cent of the world’s ice covers Antarctica. This ice also represents 70 per cent of all the fresh water in the world.
As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert. The average yearly total precipitation is about five centimetres (two inches). Although covered with ice (all but 0.4 per cent of it), Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.
• Brazil got its name from the tree of the same name, not the other way around.
• Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined.
• Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.
• Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, carries the designation M-1, and is so named because it was the first road paved with concrete anywhere.
• Damascus, Syria, was flourishing about two thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.
• Istanbul (formerly, Constantinople) Turkey, is the only city in the world located on two continents — Europe and Asia.
• The full name of the city of Los Angeles is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula. But just call it L.A.
• The term “The Big Apple” was coined by touring jazz musicians of the 1930s who used the slang expression “'apple” for any town or city. Therefore, to play New York City was to play in the big time; thus, The Big Apple.
• There are more Irish in New York City than in Dublin, Ireland; more Italians than in Rome, Italy; and more Jews than in Tel Aviv, Israel.
More weird and wonderful geographic trivia:
• The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia at just 1.75 square miles.
• The first city to reach a population of one million people was Rome, Italy, in 133 BC. And, there is a city called Rome on every continent.
• Siberia contains more than 25 per cent of the world’s forests.
• The actual smallest sovereign entity in the world is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (S.M.O.M.). It is located in the city of Rome, Italy, has an area of two tennis courts, and in 2001 had a population of 80, which is 20 less than the Vatican. It is a sovereign entity under international law, as is the Vatican.
• In the Sahara Desert, there is a town named Tidikelt which did not receive a drop of rain for 10 years. Technically, though, as mentioned earlier, the driest place on Earth is in the valleys of the Antarctic near Ross Island. There has been no rainfall there for two million years.
• Chances that a road is unpaved in the U.S.A. is one per cent. In Canada, it’s 75 per cent.
• The deepest hole ever made in the world is in Texas. It is as deep as 20 Empire State Buildings, but only 7.5 centimetres (three inches) wide.
• The U.S. Interstate Highway System originally required that one-mile in every five must be straight. These straight sections were planned to be usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.
• The water of Angel Falls — the world’s highest — in Venezuela drops 979.017 metres (3,212 feet). It’s 15 times higher than Niagara Falls.