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Weird But True! -- Geography

Posted by on May. 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM
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2 moms liked this

Here my kids thought it might be fun to add in some of the weird, but true Geographical Facts they've learned this year!

Add some of your own!

  Articles / Kicbuttmama's Crazy Lapbooks / Kickbuttmama's Home Education
Albert Einstein -- 
   "Everybody is a Genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid." 

by on May. 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM
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by on May. 30, 2013 at 5:50 PM

1. The second Longest geographical name that is accepted in the world is “Taumatawhakatangihangak oauauotamateaturipukaka pikimaungahoronukupokaiwhe nua kitanatahu” (85 letters) which is a hill in New Zealand – it is a maori phrase which translates to “place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as land-eater, played his flute to his loved one”. It was the longest until recently (though the Guinness Book of Records still regards it as the longest); it has most likely now been supplanted by Krung thep maha nakorn amorn ratana kosin­mahintar ayutthay amaha dilok phop noppa ratrajathani burirom udom rajaniwes­mahasat harn amorn phimarn avatarn sathit sakkattiya visanukamprasit in Thailand (163 letters).

2. Lesotho, Vatican City, and San Marino are the only countries completely surrounded by one other country. Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa, and Vatican City, and San Marino are both completely surrounded by Italy.

3. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll llantysiliogogogoch is the longest village name in the world (and third longest geographical name). it is located in Wales, and yes there are four l’s in a row!

4. The Shortest place name is ‘Å’ it is located in both Sweden and Norway. In Scandinavian languages, ‘Å’ means “river”. The image above is one of the newly replaces road signs for the area – they are frequently stolen for their novelty value.

5. The Vatican city is the smallest country in the world at only .2 square miles. That is smaller than the average city! The largest country is (surprise surprise) Russia.

6. The largest city in the world – based on surface area, is Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia which is 263,953 km squared.

7. The hottest temperature recorded on earth is El Azizia Libya at 136 F, the coldest was -134 degrees fahrenheit in Vostok Antarctica. The hottest average temp is in western Australia, it is 96 degrees year round on average.

8. San Marino claims to be the world’s oldest constitutional republic – it was founded in 301 by a Christian stonemason fleeing persecution under Emperor Diocletian. Its constitution of 1600 is the oldest written constitution in the world. San Marino is pictured above.

9. Though Mt. Everest is the highest altitude in terms of sea level on the planet, Mount Chimborazo is the closest to the moon. The Marianas Trench is the lowest place on earth.

10. Alaska is the most Northern, Eastern, AND Western state in all of America. It is the only state that enters the “Eastern Hemisphere” making it also the most eastern lying and western lying state.

by on May. 30, 2013 at 5:51 PM

11. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is the Longest mountain chain on earth (at 40 thousand kilometers). It is located along the middle of the Atlantic. Iceland is the only part of this chain that is above water. The Andes form the longest exposed mountain range at 7,000 kilometers.

12. Mount Circeo on Cape Circaeum on the western coast of Italy was once called Aeaea (5 vowels in a row with no consonants). It was believed in mythology to be the home of the witch Circe. Two other vowel-only geographic locations are the town of Aiea in Hawaii, and Eiao – one of the Marquise Islands.

13. Glaciers store between 70% and 80% of all the freshwater on the planet. 99% of those glaciers are in the Arctic and Antarctic.

14. In 1811 and 1812, three earthquakes measuring around 8 on the richter scale, caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards. These earthquakes also created Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee.

15. The deepest hole ever drilled by man is the Kola Superdeep Borehole, in Russia. It reached a depth of 12,261 meters (about 40,226 feet or 7.62 miles). It was drilled for scientific research and gave up some unexpected discoveries, one of which was a huge deposit of hydrogen – so massive that the mud coming from the hole was “boiling” with it. The borehole is pictured above.

by on May. 30, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Many years ago I heard the astonishing bit of trivia that Reno, Nevada is actually west of Los Angeles. It doesn’t seem possible until you actually look carefully at a map, but in fact Reno is about 80 miles closer to the International Dateline than is LA. I’ve always remembered this odd fact, and when I look at the world atlas hanging on the wall in front of my work area I occasionally stumble upon other nuggets that seem hard to believe on the surface, but are undeniably true when you look closely.

I think many of us keep a simplistic version of a world map stored in our brains, but sometimes it’s a little too simple. The best example might be the notion that Europe lies directly east of the United States. Thanks to the Gulf Stream ocean currents, the climate of the Eastern U.S. is very similar to the climate of Western Europe, so it seems logical they must be similar distances from the Equator. But only the southernmost corners of Europe actually line up with the United States, and the majority of it is directly east of Canada. And it turns out that places don’t have to be across oceans to be in places some of us might find unexpected.

by on May. 30, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Here are 'Another" 20 world geography facts that you might find surprising or interesting:

1. Portland, Oregon, where it rarely snows, is about 130 miles farther north than Toronto, and over 200 miles farther north than Boston.

2. On France’s southern Mediterranean coast, Cannes, the sunny summer playground of the rich, which is sometimes incorrectly called ‘tropical’, is about 10 miles farther north than Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

3. Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Cape Town, and Sydney are each thousands of miles apart and are known for having unusually pleasant year-round climates, and they are all almost identical distances from the Equator.

4. San Francisco and Melbourne, Australia are both known for mild and fast-changing climates, and they are identical distances from the Equator.

5. Estcourt Station with a population of 4 is in the northernmost tip of Maine, and it sounds like it’s probably snowed-in all winter, and yet London, England is still almost 300 miles farther north.

6. The 49th Parallel, which makes up the long and straight US/Canada border in the west, is about 120 miles north of Estcourt Station, Maine.

7. Glasgow is about 280 miles north of London. Keep going another 250 miles north for Stockholm, another 370 miles north to reach Reykjavik, and 413 miles north to reach Hammerfest, Norway, which is almost 5,000 miles north of the Equator.

8. The entire country of England, with over 50 million residents, is a wee bit smaller than the state of Louisiana.

9. If you combine England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, then together they are a bit smallerthan the deceptively large state of Michigan.

10. France is about 30% larger than the state of California.

by on May. 30, 2013 at 5:55 PM

11. Crescent City, California is about 15 miles south of the Oregon border, but it’s about 10 miles farther north than Newport, Rhode Island. In other words, you can still be in California and be farthernorth than coastal Rhode Island.

12. Madrid, with summers so blazing hot that most people take a long break from work every afternoon, is about 10 miles farther north than Salt Lake City, Utah.

13. About two-thirds of Africa is in the Northern Hemisphere.

14. Rome, which is located in the center of Italy, is located at the exact same latitude as Chicago.

15. Tehran, Iran, with its scorching summers, is located on the exact same latitude as relatively mild Tokyo, Japan.

16. About 90% of the world’s population lives in the Northern Hemisphere.

17. The incredibly remote island of Tahiti is slightly east of Anchorage, Alaska, which is slightly east of Hawaii. In other words, Hawaii is closer to the 180° longitude the International Date Line is based on than is Tahiti.

18. If you are trying to get a handle on the climate of India it helps to know its northern border is the same as the northern border of Mexico in Tijuana, and the southern border is about the same as the southern border of Panama.

19. Sunny and just-barely-tropical Rio de Janeiro is about 25 miles farther from the equator than Hong Kong.

20. Scientists recently discovered that Florida and Hudson Bay in Canada are getting about 1 inch closer every 36 years. Pass the SPF-30, eh?

by on May. 30, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Iceland is the world's oldest functioning democracy

Mongolia is the largest landlocked country

Because heat expands the metal, the Eiffel Tower always leans away from the Sun

There are 1,792 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower

In Calama, a town in the Atacama Desert of Chile, it has never rained

The only man-made structure visible from space is the Great Wall of China

Birth-control campaigns in Egypt in the late 1970s failed because village women ended up wearing the pills in lockets, as talismans

Niagara Falls has moved about ten miles upstream in the last 10,000 years. The falls are eroding at the rate of 5 feet per year

The Sahara desert is expanding half a mile south every year

The Channel between England and France grows about 300 millimeters each year

The Hudson River along the island of Manhattan flows in either direction depending on the tide.

There is now an ATM at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, which has a winter population of 200 people

The Australian term for extras in cricket are 'sundries'

In early Rome, March 1 was New Year's Day. Later, the ancient Romans made January 1 the beginning of the year

Ancient Persians gave New Year's gifts of eggs, symbolizing productivity

Due to precipitation, for a few weeks K2 is bigger than Mt Everest

Vietnamese currency consists only of paper money; no coins

Canada declared national beauty contests canceled as of 1992, claiming they were degrading to women

There are more Rolls Royce cars in Hong Kong than anywhere else in the world

Until 1896, India was the only source for diamonds to the world

It snowed in the Sahara Desert in February of 1979

Australia's national anthem is called Advance Australia Fair

The only nation whose name begins with an A, but doesn't end in an A is Afghanistan

The Atlantic Ocean gets wider by a little more than one inch every year

The world's only city whose name consists solely of vowels is Aiea, in Hawaii, USA.

Soldiers in the Netherlands are not required to salute officers

Los Angeles' full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula" . In English this means 'The City of Angels'

The Netherlands has built 800 miles of massive dikes and sea walls to hold back the sea. If it wasn't for these walls, 40% of the country would be flooded.

Big Ben is actually the name of the largest bell inside the London clock tower, not of the clock itself.

In 1867 the United States paid Russia only $7.2 million (2 cents an acre) for Alaska

Every year in France there is a "Thieves Fair" where people are encouraged to try to steal things from the stalls

The world's longest street is in Canada. Toronto's Yonge Street runs 1,190 miles

by on May. 30, 2013 at 5:57 PM

In the kingdom of Bhutan, all citizens officially become a year older on New Year's Day

Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, was born in the ancient southeastern Turkish town of Lycia early in the fourth century

Belgium is the only country that has never imposed censorship for adult films

The Nullarbor Plain of Australia covers 100,000 square miles without a tree.

Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country

Australia is the only continent on earth without an active volcano.

In Turkey, in the 16th and 17th centuries, anyone caught drinking coffee was put to death

There are twice as many kangaroos in Australia as there are people.

There are no public toilets in Peru

Mickey Mouse is known as "Topolino" in Italy

The oldest national flag still in existence, that of Denmark, dates back to the 13th century

Nepal is the only country that doesn't have a rectangular or square flag

In 1949, the temperature in part of Portugal soared to 158 degrees F for a couple of minutes. No one knows why

Nauru is the only country in the world with no official capital

Windmills always turn counter-clockwise. Except for the windmills in Ireland

It was once against the law to slam your car door in a city in Switzerland

In 1980, Bhutan was the only country in the world with no telephones

There is a hotel in Sweden built entirely out of ice; it is rebuilt every year.

In the great fire of London in 1666 half of London was burnt down but only 6 people were injured.

The longest fence in the world is in Australia and it runs for over 3,436 miles (5,530 km)

In Switzerland, it is illegal to flush the toilet after 10 P.M. if you live in an apartment.

Holland is the lowest country in the world. It is estimated that 40 percent of the land is below sea level.

by on May. 30, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Tokyo has had 24 recorded instances of people either killed or receiving serious skull fractures while bowing to each other with the traditional Japanese greeting

Netherlands, most densely populated country in the world, followed by Belgium, then Japan

Perth, Australia, is the most isolated city on the planet..200 miles across impenetrable desert from the next city of any size.

Los Angeles's full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina delos Angeles de Porciuncula" . It means the City of Angels.

India never invaded any country in her last 10000 years of history.

In Thailand, it is illegal to leave your house if you are not wearing underwear

In Israel, picking your nose is illegal.

In Sweden, while prostitution is legal, it is illegal for anyone to use the services of a prostitute.

On every continent there is a city called Rome.

Vatican City is the smallest country in the world with a population of 1,000 and a size of 108.7 acres.

China has only about 200 family names.

The country with the most Post offices is India with over 152,792 compared with just over 38,000 in the United States.

Colombia produces the most emeralds of any country in South America.

The world's largest gold mine is in Juneau, Alaska

Namibia, Africa, supplies the most valuable diamonds of the 18 countries in southern Africa rich with diamonds.

Switzerland attracts the most suicide tourists.

India has no rabbits in the wild � only hares

In Tokyo, a bicycle is faster than a car for most trips of less than 50 minutes!

It's illegal to drink beer out of a bucket while you're sitting on a curb in St. Louis, Missouri!

It's against the law to pawn your dentures in Las Vegas!

It's against the law to burp, or sneeze in a certain churches in Omaha, Nebraska!

The state of Florida is bigger than England!

In Natoma, Kansas, it's illegal to throw knives at men wearing striped suits.

It was once against the law to have a pet dog in a city in Iceland!

There are more plastic flamingos in the U.S, than real ones!

About 3000 years ago, most Egyptians died by the time they were 30!

In Bangladesh, kids as young as 15 can be jailed for cheating on their finals!

A company in Taiwan makes dinnerware out of wheat, so you can eat your plate!

by on May. 30, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Q is the only letter in the alphabet that does not appear in the name of any of the United States!

In Tokyo, they sell toupees for dogs!

by on May. 30, 2013 at 6:00 PM


More than half of the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska .


The Amazon rainforest produces more than 20% the world's oxygen supply.

The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that, more than one hundred miles at sea off the mouth of the river, one can dip fresh water out of the ocean. The volume of water in theAmazon river is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all rivers in the United States.


Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country.

Ninety percent of the world's ice covers Antarctica . This ice also represents seventy percent 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 two inches Although covered with ice (all but 0.4% of it, ice.), Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.


The etymology of Brazil's name is not well established, but one common belief is that Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.


Canada has more lakes than any other country, making up much of the worlds fresh water. Canada is an Indian word meaning "Big Village."

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