1. Australia moves 2.7 inches a year
The tectonic plate upon which Australia sits moves at a slightly faster rate than all the others. It shifts north and rotates clockwise around 2.7 inches every year! This doesn’t cause any issues for those living down under, nobody is kicking a coffee table because the plate can’t sit still, though GPS services do require frequent updates and calibrations.
2. Ireland’s palm trees
Ireland might not be considered tropical by too many people, but the President’s homeland can bear a striking resemblance to the warmer parts of the states in a few areas! These palm tree adjacent plants were indigenous to New Zealand, but in the 1800s became somewhat of a trend across much of the UK and Ireland’s coasts. The oceanic air has helped them thrive.
3. California has more people than Canada
As of 2021, the population of Canada was approximately 38.25 million. Much of its vast and glorious “Beyond The Wall” like landmass is uninhabited, though the country is full of small fishing villages and indigenous reserves. California on the other hand is as dense as its rolls, with packed cityscapes and high migrant populations due to their agricultural industry.
4. They found Nemo and he’s so lonely
It’s not yet been conclusively proven that the fish was named after the location, which was named after a character from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, but the thematic similarities are hard to ignore. In Latin, nemo translates to “no one”, making it a fit for both a lost clownfish and the most isolated point on the entire planet.
5. The Himalayas grow annually
It isn’t a huge deal or anything, children grow annually too, but approximately 40 to 50 million years ago, the Himalayas emerged through the collision of the Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. The ongoing convergence of these plates continues to elevate the Himalayas. Mount Everest, for instance, gains about a millimeter in height each year.
6. North Carolina has land that is permanently leased to England
During WWII, the HMT Bedfordshire was hit with a torpedo off the coast of Ocracoke Island, NC. Only four men managed to reach the shore out of the ship’s entire crew, but due to war, there was no feasible way to transport the dead back to England. Land on the island was leased “in perpetuity” to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
7. Canada has more lakes than anywhere else
Canada takes pride in its vast number of lakes, taking the record for the largest number on Earth. A staggering 62% of the world’s lakes measuring 10 hectares or larger can be found within the country’s borders. Moreover, Canada, along with the United States, accounts for 18% of the planet’s fresh lake water resources.
8. France’s longest border is with Brazil
Situated on the northern coast of South America, French Guiana shares its borders with Suriname to the northwest and Brazil to the south. The length of its border with Suriname measures approximately 730 kilometers, making it the longest border for French Guiana. The second-longest border is with Belgium, spanning around 657 kilometers.
9. Alaska is both the Westernmost and Easternmost state
This isn’t some feat of quantum geography that the scientists down in Anchorage have cooked up, it’s much more boring than that, sadly. The bulk of Alaska’s landmass is in the North West of North America, but several of its islands stretch so far west that they cross into the Eastern Hemisphere. This notably makes Alaska’ ‘long as hell’, Geologists say.
10. You can have an annoyingly recursive holiday
Math types might get a kick out of a vacation to Vulcan Point, a lovely island within Main Crater Lake in the Philippines. Main Crater Lake is itself on Volcano Island, guess where the names came from. Volcano Island, funnily enough, is located within Lake Taal, which sits on the island of Luson. A lake on an island, in a lake within an island.
11. Measured from below sea level, Everest sucks
We only bother considering the height of a mountain as measured from sea level because we can’t climb underwater very well, and that’s our fault, not the mountains. Maunu Kea, a modest 13,796-foot mountain in the Pacific Ocean, would be more than 3000 feet taller than Everest if measured to its base beneath the depth. It’s all rigged, stop the steal.
12. Russia has more time zones than anywhere else
Anybody who looks at a map can tell Russia is absolutely huge. So huge, that families living on opposite sides of the country will find themselves getting up for breakfast while the other is heading to bed. Out of the 24 time zones on Earth, Russia occupies 11 of them. Though due to its overseas territories, France technically covers more.
13. The ground is swallowing Mexico City
Many great cities around the world were built on lakes. Water is essential for life, hygiene, industry, and agriculture, so setting down roots right at the source was a great idea for early settlers. As time passed from 1325 until now, building become ruins, ruins become foundations for something new, and eventually the weight and water consumption see it sinking 32 feet over 60 years.
14. Australia is wider than the moon
Scientists have confirmed that as strange as it sounds, both Australia and the moon are real places. Not only that but at a whopping 2,500 miles wide, the land down under has an even bigger wingspan than our very own celestial buddy. Our moon’s mean diameter is only 2,159 miles wide, meaning in the future, pub crawls will be much quicker.
15. Anchorage is pretty much in the middle of everywhere
Another huge win for the Anchorage community, featuring twice on a list of geography facts. While most cities primarily photographed in snow give off an impression of being “in the middle of nowhere”, the second-largest Alaskan city is a key trading post for the entire world. It’s thought to be the only place within 10 hours of the three biggest global markets.
16. Over half the world’s people live around Myanmar
Within 2,500 miles of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, reside more than 50% of the planet’s population. The initial boom would have been the result of excellent crop cultivation conditions, but geopolitical tension and lack of appropriate healthcare mean the population is under threat regardless.
17. North Korea to Norway
This might sound like some kind of cross-global trek, maybe a layover in Dubai, then one in Stockholm, back to Dubai, then if there’s time they might make a stop in Oslo. In reality, there is only one country separating the two. Okay, it’s Russia and it’s massive, and flights average around $2000 and do take around 15 hours, but still, that’s amazing.
18. Papua New Geniuses
This relatively small island nation off the north coast of Australia holds the world record for the most spoken dialects of any country. Many of the 840 languages spoken come from the many tribal communities that call the main landmass its islands home, who were isolated from each other by the terrain.
19. Could we glamorize the Earth by covering it in gold?
Absolutely yes we could, thank you for asking. The surface area of the Earth is around 510 million kilometers squared, and at present, we seem to be nearing the limit of the planet’s currently attainable Gold supply. However, there is still an awful lot deep within the Earth’s core, enough to coat the surface in a one-and-a-half-foot layer of the stuff.
21. There’s a sea without a coast
Roughly in the center of the North Atlantic Ocean roars the Sargasso Sea. It’s the only one of its kind, with its own tidal swells and water currents that don’t touch land anywhere in its entire body. It gets its name from a kind of seaweed native to the seafloor.
22. Only one continent takes up all four hemispheres
It’s not a hard guess, since there are only so many of them and some are much, much bigger than others. Hold the drum roll, the answer is Africa. It takes up about 12 million square miles of the Earth’s surface and has landed in each of the four quadrants of the globe.
23. There has been snow in the deserts
The driest place on the planet, the Atacama Desert, is one of many that very rarely receives snow. The Sahara Desert has seen snow three times in recorded history, once in 2018, 2016, and 1979. The frigid nighttime air often reaches -4 degrees Celsius, causing the precious bit of atmospheric water to freeze.
24. Most of the world’s freshwater is frozen
Antarctica is an enormous desert of ice and snow. It seems almost terrifying to most ordinary people, the idea of willingly heading out into the tundra with the polar bears and The Thing(s?). Yet it remains an area of vital scientific importance for measuring our impact on the climate, and is also home to 90% of all the world’s freshwater, trapped within the ice sheets.
25. You can walk from the US to Russia, sometimes
You shouldn’t, for many reasons. Theoretically though, if you were up in Little Diomede, Alaska, during a particularly chilly winter, you could walk across the frozen patch of sea to Big Diomede, a Russian territory. Nobody lives there, it’s mostly used to monitor weather patterns and hosts a military base, so again, don’t do it.
26. The North Pole is always moving
Due to the fact the Arctic is a giant collection of ice sheets, the North Pole is constantly drifting and bobbing around. This doesn’t interfere with compasses or navigation systems too much, since the Magnetic North Pole is more relevant to that, and we keep that in Canada so nobody steals it.
27. The world’s shortest flight
At under a minute long, weather permitting, you can take the shortest possible commercial flight from Westray to Papa Westray in Scotland. Both are part of the Orkney Isles, a chain of 80 islands of which around 30 are populated. Sounds quite cozy taking a minute-long flight to go out for dinner one night.
28. You could fit everyone on Earth in Texas
Without at all going into any of the implications this exercise would cause, you could indeed fit all 7.8 billion people on this blue marble into the lone-star state. With an area of 268,597 square miles, Texas would suddenly find itself with a shortage of chicken-fried steak.
29. There is a piece of Africa beneath the US
Sometime between 300 and 180 million years ago, when the world’s landmass was concentrated on the single supercontinent of Pangaea, Africa, and North America were fused by the earth. Located just off the coast of Alabama was a piece of what is now the continent of Africa, dragged away as the land separated.
30. Only one capital city in the US has no McDonalds
A blessing or a curse depending on how hungry you are, there is only a single state capital across the country that exists sans Micky D’s. That capital is Montpelier, the Autumnal wonderland of Vermont. This could be explained by its size, as it’s also the smallest state capital.
31. Who produces the most rice?
As established, the cultivation of rice, one of the most calorie-dense grains in the world, led to a prosperous agrarian beginning in much of Asia. China by far produces the most rice on Earth, but Thailand has them beat when it comes to exports. An enormous 28.3% of the world’s rice is supplied by them.
32. Mongolia has the lowest population density
While the Mongol Empire took hold of the largest land empire the world has ever known, and certain warlords were known for being extraordinarily fertile, current-day Mongolia is sparsely populated. The majority of the country’s terrain is unsuited for farming and is instead home to nomadic herding communities.
33. The Vatican City is the smallest country in the world
This is a relatively recent development for the home of the world-famous Popemobile. It began construction in the fourth century A.D. on the site of St. Paul’s grave and has seen a varying amount of importance to the Catholic Church over the millennia. It was only in 1929 that the Italian government allowed the Vatican to exist as a sovereign nation.
34. How the Great Barrier Reef came to be
The Australian state of Queensland is home to one of the most amazing sights in the marine world. At around 133,000 square miles, the coral polyps settled in the area sometime after the last ice age, and began secreting their calcium shells to build the vast network of living minerals we know today.
35. Is sea foam good for parties?
Foam makes a great addition to any party if you’re 21 and your frat says it’s a deal breaker. While sea foam is cheap and plentiful at certain times of the year, it’s not what you want shooting out of a cannon and landing in your red solo party cup. It consists of dead organic matter like algae that has been churned by the ocean.
36. Sweden has over a quarter of a million islands
Sweden is famous for its absolutely picturesque islands, and you’d need a solid hard drive to store pictures of them all. Its huge coastline is home to roughly 267,570 islands, more than Finland, Canada, and Indonesia combined. Gotland, Öland, and Utö are some of the most famous, and beautiful.
37. Canada has Earth’s highest vertical drop
Mt Thor on Nunavut, Canada, is home to a truly terrifying precipice. At over 4000 feet high, the sheer face of the cliff would be like a mile-long slide that took you about 20 seconds to complete. You probably wouldn’t feel like riding it again shortly, imagine the walk back up.
38. The world’s least-visited country
In a world where flights are cheap and airport beers are tasty, people are vacationing like never before. Somewhere few people, around 160 a year, end up visiting is Nauru. A small nation in Oceania just north of Australia, this island isn’t inhospitable or dangerous there are tons of classic island amenities for the five families a year that go.
39. Who has touched both the Marianas Trench and outer space?
Yeah, believe it or not, there is at least one person who both braced the cold, beautiful, and unforgiving vastness of space and the crushing depths of the Earth’s ocean. Kathy Sullivan, a former astronaut turned geologist, was the first American woman to perform a spacewalk, and the first woman to see the over 10,000-meter depths of the sea.
40. There is not a single river in Saudi Arabia
While its population and economy remain a driving force behind the global financial market, the country itself is incredibly sparsely populated. Huge swaths of its surface are dry deserts, with not a single river in the entire country. Water is a precious resource in the desert, after all.
20. Geography has five core pillars
The Association of American Geographers has established the five central themes of the study of Geography as follows (and in no particular order): location, movement, place, human-environment interaction, and region. These encompass everything from coastal erosion to the impacts of climate change and beyond.