Thursday, November 24, 2011

Today's Trivia - Geography (Part 2)

This week’s useless but interesting information is all about geography. My knowledge in this topic is considerably weak; hopefully, along with you, I’ll learn something new today.

(This is part 2 of 2)

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

- Scientists recently discovered that Florida and Hudson Bay in Canada are getting about 1 inch closer every 36 years.

- Some references list Arlington, Virginia, as the smallest county in the US. It is 26 square miles in size. Arlington was ceded to the federal government by Virginia to form part of the 10 mile square District of Columbia, but it was returned to Virginia in 1847 as the federal government considered the land unnecessary. Now it is home to the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and Washington National Airport.

- St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest city in the US.

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

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

- Ten states were named for famous Europeans: Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia. Washington is the only state named for an American hero.

- Tennessee adjoins eight other states. Maine touches only one state, New Hampshire. Alaska and Hawaii share borders with no other US states.

- Texas has 254 counties, more than any other state. Delaware has the fewest, three. Two states have no counties, at least technically. Louisiana uses parishes instead. Alaska has 16 boroughs and municipalities, though these political entities include only a small fraction of the state's landmass.

- The 1st US zoo was built in Philadelphia, PA, in 1876.

- 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.

- The abbreviation 'ORD' for Chicago's O'Hare airport comes from the old name 'Orchard Field’.

- The Arctic ocean is the smallest and shallowest. It is mostly covered by solid ice, ice floes and icebergs.

- The Atlantic Ocean contains more salt than the Pacific Ocean even though it is smaller.

- The border between Canada and the U.S. is the world's longest frontier. It stretches 3,987 miles (6,416 km).

- The city of Rome was built on seven hills. They were Palatine, Capitoline, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Caelian, and Aventine.

- The city of St. Petersburg, Russia, was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, hence the name, St. Petersburg. But it wasn't always that simple. In 1914, at the beginning of World War I, Russian leaders felt that Petersburg was too German-sounding. So they changed the name of the city to Petrograd -- to make it more Russian-sounding. Then, in 1924, the country's Soviet Communist leaders wanted to honor the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir I. Lenin. The city of Petrograd became Leningrad and was known as Leningrad until 1991 when the new Russian legislators -- no longer Soviet Communists -- wanted the city to reflect their change of government.

- The coldest temperature ever recorded on earth is -89.2 degrees Celsius (-128.5 degrees Fahrenheit) at Vostok, Antarctica on July 21, 1983. That all-time low broke the previous world-record minimum of -88.3 °C (-126.9 °F), set on August 24, 1960, also at Vostok.

- The earth’s surface contains 196,950,711 square miles (510,100,000 square kilometers).

- The Eiffel Tower was built specifically to be shown at the World’s Fair in 1889.

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

- The first city to reach a population of 1 million people was Rome, Italy in 133 B.C. London, England reached the mark in 1810 and New York, USA made it in 1875. Today, there are over 300 cities in the world that boast a population in excess of 1 million.

- The flag of the Philippines is the only flag that is flown differently depending on the state of the country. The flag is comprised of one blue part and one red part. If the country is at war, the red portion is flown on top. If the country is at peace, the blue portion is flown on top.

- The Fresh Kills Landfill was a 2,200 acre (890 hectares) landfill in the New York City borough of Staten Island in the United States. The landfill was opened in 1947 as a temporary landfill, but eventually became New York City's principal landfill in the second half of the 20th century, and it was once the largest landfill in the world.

- The Great Lakes are Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

- The Great Lakes are the most important inland waterway in North America. All the lakes, except Lake Michigan, which lies entirely in the United States, are shared by the United States and Canada and form part of the border between these countries.
The Great Lakes contain 6 quadrillion gallons of fresh water, one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water. The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world.

- The Great Lakes have a combined area of 94,230 square miles - larger than the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont combined.

- The Hollywood sign was first erected in 1923. Conceived as a real estate ad, it originally read Hollywoodland. The sign stands 50 feet tall, stretches 450 feet across, and weighs 450,000 pounds.

- The hottest temperature ever recorded was in El Azizia, Libya. On September 13, 1922, it reached the sizzling temperature of 136 degrees Fahrenheit.

- 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.

- The international telephone dialing code for Antarctica is 672.

- The Jordanian city Amman was once called Philadelphia.

- The largest body of fresh water in the world is Lake Superior.

- The largest desert in the world, the Sahara, is 3,500,000 square miles.

- The largest US city in area is Juneau, Alaska, which covers 3,108 square miles. Los Angeles covers only 458.2 square miles.

- The longest railway in the world is the Trans-Siberian Railway or Trans-Siberian Railroad, built 1891-1916, a network of railways connecting European Russia with Russian Far East provinces. It is 9,288.2 kilometers (5,787 miles) long and spans 8 time zones.

- The Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii is the largest volcano on Earth. It rises more than 50,000 feet (9.5 miles or 15.2 kilometers) above its base, which sits under the surface of the sea.

- The name “Canada” comes from the Indian term meaning, “Big Village.”

- The only continent without reptiles or snakes is Antarctica.

- The original name of Los Angeles was El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles del rio Porciuncula, translating into: The Village of our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the Porciuncula River.

- The Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal is farther East than the Atlantic entrance.

- The Pacific Ocean holds 46 percent of the world’s water. It has approximately six sextillions of water. The Atlantic holds 23.9 percent, the Indian Ocean holds 20.3 percent, and the Arctic holds 3.7 percent.

- The Pantheon is the largest building from ancient Rome that survives intact.

- The river Danube empties into the Black Sea.

- The San Diego Zoo in California has the largest collection of animals in the world.

- The smallest county in area is Hawaii's Kalawao County. This former leper colony is only 13 square miles. It has no state roads; the only land access is by mule trail. It is closed to outsiders except by government permission. It is also the second least populous county with about 100 residents. Only Loving County in Texas has fewer people.

- The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia, at just 1.75 square miles.

- The smallest state has the longest official name: Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

- The surface of the earth covers 196,950,711 square miles.

- The tallest monument built in the US, the Gateway Arch, in St. Louis, Missouri, is 630 feet tall.

- The Vatican City (formally, the Holy See) is the smallest country at 109 acres, or about 1/6 of a square mile. Monaco is next with about 368 acres, a little over one half of a square mile. It is the smallest member of the United Nations.

- The Vatican's Swiss Guard still wears a uniform designed by Michelangelo in the early 16th century.

- The water in the Great Salt Lake of Utah is more than four times saltier than any ocean.

- The wettest spot in the world is located on the island of Kauai. Mt. Waialeale consistently records rainfall at the rate of nearly 500 inches per year.

- The world’s deadliest recorded earthquake occurred in 1557 in central China. It struck a region where most people lived in caves carved from soft rock. The dwellings collapsed, killing an estimated 830,000 people.

- The world’s largest statue of a mosquito is a roadside attraction in Komarno, Manitoba, the Mosquito Capital of Canada. Sculpted in 1984, it is made of steel and has a wingspan of 15 feet. It’s also a weathervane, swiveling in the wind. (Only in Canada...)

- The world's highest railway is in Peru. The Central Railway climbs to 15,694 feet in the Galera tunnel, 108 miles from Lima. Tourists take it to get to the ruins of Machu Picchu.

- The world's longest suspension bridge opened to traffic on April 5, 1998. The 3,911-meter (12,831-feet) Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is 580 meters (1,900 feet) longer than the Humber Bridge in England, the previous record holder.

- There are more than 100 national parks and historic sites in Canada.

- There are some two million lakes in Canada, covering about 7.6% of the Canadian landmass.

- There is only one continent that holds no deserts. That continent is Europe.

- There is only one state in the United States that’s name is only one syllable. That state is Maine.

- Thirty-one states have a Washington County. It's the most popular name for a county.

- Three states were each once part of one of the original 13 colonies: Maine (Massachusetts), Delaware (Pennsylvania), and West Virginia (Virginia).

- Virginia extends farther west than West Virginia.

- Walt Disney World, located in Orlando, Florida, covers a massive 30,500 acres. That’s 46 square miles and makes it twice as big as the island of Manhattan.


  1. We visited the San Diego Zoo a few years ago and it was the best zoo I've ever seen. The Toronto Zoo is also one of the best.

  2. @Jane: We've been talking about taking a day trip to the Toronto Zoo for the past three summers (since we moved to Kingston). I think I'm going to have to push the family a little harder on this if we're ever going to get there.