It’s that time of year again! That’s right, it’s Geography Awareness Week. The time of year when students clamor for scintillating information about our world and features that make it special. You’ve probably read our first feature, Ten Fun Facts for Geography Awareness Week, and you’ve been waiting for a brand new installment to share with your friends. Well, your wait is finally over. Get a load of these fresh facts about our world.
- The wettest city in America (that is, the city with the most annual rainfall) is Mobile, AL, with an average of 67 inches. The notoriously rainy Pacific Northwest does not appear until 24th on the wettest list, but Olympia, WA is credited with having the most rainy days in the country, averaging 63 per year. The wettest inhabited city in the world is Buenaventira, Colombia, which receives 267” of rain per year!
- Africa is the only continent located in all four hemispheres. It is, therefore, the only continent to have land on the prime meridian and the equator.
- Alaska is clearly the northernmost and westernmost US state, but it’s also the easternmost! The Alaskan Aleutian Islands just barely cross the 180 degree meridian of longitude, placing them in the Eastern Hemisphere.
- China shares its international borders with an incredible 16 nations!
Well, some will argue that it is only 14 bordering nations. China attains its title of Border Nations King only when you include Hong Kong and Macau, “Special Administrative Regions” of China that are not exactly autonomous. If you do not count those two regions as independent nations that border China (and many in Hong Kong do not feel independent), then Russia ties China, as they also have 14 bordering nations.
- The largest pyramid in the world is located in…Mexico! The Great Pyramid of Cholula is located in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico and was believed to be dedicated to the god Quetzalcoatl.
- We typically think of deserts as sand covered, barren areas with ridiculously high temperatures. But a desert is actually defined by its (lack of) rainfall amounts. The largest desert on Earth is the Antarctic Desert at 5.5 million square miles. This region averages less than two inches of rainfall per year. The largest hot desert in the world is the Sahara Desert at 3.1 million square miles.
- According to the most recent US census, 192 different languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the country. New York barely beat out Los Angeles, who came in at 185 languages. The title of most languages spoken in one country belongs to Papua New Guinea with 820! The island has been inhabited for 40,000 years, so many languages have evolved and differentiated themselves from other. Also, Papua New Guinea has many natural barriers, leaving its people very fragmented. Cultural diffusion is minimal and many of these tiny groups have retained their own languages.
- Mount Everest is the world’s tallest mountain…when measured above sea level. When measured from the sea floor, Mauna Kea in Hawaii measures at over 32,000 feet, making it over 3,000 feet higher than Everest. Mauna Kea is less than 14,000 feet high when measured from above sea level.
- The Falkland Islands house 500,000 sheep and only 3,000 people. There are numerous countries whose sheep population outnumbers the human population including New Zealand,Mongolia, and Australia.
- If you don’t like your neighbors, move to Mongolia. It is the least densely populated country in the world with four people per square mile. Monaco is the most densely populated country in the world at 49,236 people per square mile. Though, some would argue that Monaco’s reign as most densely populated country is unfair. The nebulous nature of the aforementioned Macau puts Monaco’s title in danger, as the “Special Administrative Region” of China has a population density of 55,301 per square mile.
Leave any fun geography facts that you discover in the comments section. We’ll be sure to have our third annual Geography Extravaganza next year.