Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. The following dozen facts reveal how fascinating our world is as we discover unusual information about its geography.
As the largest country in the world, Russia spans 11 time zones. At one end we can be sipping coffee at 7 a.m. while at the other enjoying a Vodka martini at 6 p.m.
Vatican City — the ecclesiastical capital and home to the biggest church in the world — covers just over 100 acres (one-eighth the size of Central Park), making it the smallest country in the world.
China, the third-largest country in terms of area, shares the same number of land neighbours as Russia: 14. Bordering China are India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Bhutan, and Nepal.
Africa is the only continent that covers four hemispheres.
As its own continent and completely surrounded by water, Australia might seem to be the country with the longest coastline. However, that honour goes to Canada, with 152,100 miles of coastline, compared to Australia’s modest 16,000 miles. In fact, Australia ranks seventh on the list of the world’s longest coastlines, after Indonesia, Greenland, Russia, Philippines, and Japan.
Beluga whales patrol Arctic and sub-Arctic waters above the 50th parallel. Northern Manitoba’s Hudson Bay coastline is home to the world’s largest population of beluga whales. More than 57,000 gather in the region between mid-June to mid-September.
Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.
In 1950 Canada and the U.S. jointly opened a weather station in Alert. Located in Nunavut Territory (established in 1999), Canada, Alert is the northern most permanently inhabited settlement in the world.
In the 1920s a journalist covering the horse races in New York City overheard stable hands say they were going to work at the event in “The Big Apple.” This name got picked up after the writer used it in a a newspaper column. Another theory says touring jazz musicians in the 1930s called towns and cities “apples.” To play New York City meant to play the big time, hence they called it “The Big Apple.” Whatever the origin of the City’s nickname, a tourist campaign in the 1970s immortalized it.
Mount Everest is called the world’s highest mountain because it has the highest elevation above sea level. It also claims the highest altitude with its peak 8,850 m (29,035 ft) above sea level. No other mountain on Earth has a higher altitude. However, some mountains might be considered taller (with taller being the total vertical distance between their base and their summit).
Despite being in Nevada and nearly 300 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Reno is roughly 86 miles farther west than the coastal city of Los Angeles.
Vulcan Point in the Philippines is the world’s largest island that’s within a lake, on an island that’s within a lake, on an island. The most bizarre fact, perhaps? •
P.S. Please share your favourite facts about our wondrous world in the comments below.