Interesting Geography Facts

El Chimborazo and vicuñas

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Geographers search high and low for interesting facts about our world. They want to know "why" but also love to know what is the biggest/smallest, farthest/closest, and longest/shortest. Geographers also want to answer confusing questions, such as "What time is it at the South Pole?"

Discover the world with some of these very fascinating facts.

Farthest From the Center of the Earth

Due to the bulge of the earth at the Equator, the peak of Ecuador's Mount Chimborazo (20,700 feet or 6,310 meters) is the point farthest from the center of the Earth. Thus, the mountain claims the title of being the "highest point on Earth" (although Mt. Everest is still the highest point above sea level). Mt. Chimorazo is an extinct volcano and is about one degree south of the Equator.

Boiling Temperature of Water Change

While at sea level, the boiling point of water is 212 F, it changes if you are higher than that. How much does it change? For every 500-foot increase in elevation, the boiling point drops one degree. Thus, at a city 5,000 feet above sea level, water boils at 202 F.

Why Rhode Island is Called an Island

The state commonly called Rhode Island actually has the official name of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. "Rhode Island" is the island where the city of Newport sits today; however, the state also occupies mainland and three other major islands.

Home to the Most Muslims

The world's fourth most populous country has the largest population of Muslims. Approximately 87% of Indonesia's population are Muslims; thus, with a population of 216 million, Indonesia is home to approximately 188 million Muslims. The religion of Islam spread to Indonesia during the Middle Ages.

Production and Exportation of the Most Rice

Rice is a food staple worldwide and China is the world's leading rice-producing country, producing just over one-third (33.9%) of the world's rice supply.

Thailand is the world's leading rice exporter, however, and it is exporting 28.3% of the world's rice export. India is the world's second largest producer and exporter.

Seven Hills of Rome

Rome was famously built upon seven hills. Rome was said to have been founded when Romulus and Remus, twin sons of Mars, ended up at the foot of the hill Palatine and founded the city. The other six hills are Capitoline (the seat of government), Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Caelian, and Aventine.

Africa's Largest Lake

Africa's largest lake is Lake Victoria, located in eastern Africa at the border of Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. It's the world's second largest freshwater lake, following Lake Superior in North America.

Lake Victoria was named by John Hanning Speke, a British explorer and the first European to see the lake (1858), in honor of Queen Victoria.

Least Densely Populated Country

The country with the world's lowest population density is Mongolia with a population density of approximately four people per square mile. Mongolia's 2.5 million people occupy over 600,000 square miles of land.

Mongolia's overall density is limited as only a tiny proportion of the land can be used for agriculture, with the vast majority of the land-only able to be used for nomadic herding.


The 1997 Census of Government says it best...

"There were 87,504 governmental units in the United States as of June 1997. In addition to the Federal Government and the 50 state governments, there were 87,453 units of local government. Of these, 39,044 are general-purpose local governments - 3,043 county governments and 36,001 sub-county general-purpose governments, including 13,726 school district governments and 34,683 special district governments."

The Difference Between a Capital and a Capitol

The word "capitol" (with an "o") is used to refer to the building where a legislature (such as the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives) meets; the word "capital" (with an "a") refers to the city which serves as the seat of government.

You can remember the difference by thinking of the "o" in the word "capitol" as a dome, like the dome of the U.S. Capitol in the capital Washington D.C.

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall is located in northern Great Britain (the main island of the U.K.) and stretched for nearly 75 miles (120 km) from Solwat Firth in the west to the Tyne River near Newcastle in the east.

The wall was built under the direction of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the second century to keep the Caledonians of Scotland out of England. Portions of the wall are still in existence today.

The Deepest Lake in the United States

The deepest lake in the U.S. is Oregon's Crater Lake. Crater Lake lies within the collapsed crater of an ancient volcano named Mount Mazama and is 1,932 feet deep (589 meters).

The clear water of Crater Lake has no streams to feed it and no streams as outlets - it was filled and is supported by precipitation and snowmelt. Located in southern Oregon, Crater Lake is the world's seventh deepest lake and contains 4.6 trillion gallons of water.

Why Pakistan Was a Divided Country

In 1947, the British left South Asia and divided its territory into the independent countries of India and Pakistan. Muslim regions that were on the east and west sides of Hindu India became part of Pakistan.

The two separate territories were part of one country but were known as East and West Pakistan and were separated by over 1,000 miles (1,609 km). After 24 years of turmoil, East Pakistan declared independence and became Bangladesh in 1971.

The Time at the North and South Pole

Since lines of longitude converge at the North and South Pole, it is almost impossible (and very impractical) to determine which time zone you are in based on the longitude.

Therefore, researchers in the Arctic and Antarctic regions of the Earth usually use the time zone associated with their research stations. For example, since nearly all flights to Antarctica and the South Pole are from New Zealand, New Zealand time is the most commonly used time zone in Antarctica.

Europe's and Russia's Longest River

The longest river in Russia and Europe is the Volga River, which flows entirely within Russia for 2,290 miles (3,685 km). Its source is in the Valdai Hills, near the city of Rzhev, and flows to the Caspian Sea in the southern part of Russia.

The Volga River is navigable for much of its length and, with the addition of dams, has become important for power and irrigation. Canals link it to the River Don as well as to the Baltic and White Seas.

The Humans Alive Today

At some point over the last few decades, someone started a notion to alarm people that population growth was out of control by stating that a majority of the humans who have ever lived were alive today. Well, that's a gross overestimate.

Most studies place the total number of human beings to have ever lived at 60 billion to 120 billion. Since the world population right now is a mere 7 billion, the percent of humans who have ever lived and are alive today is anywhere from a mere 5% to 10%.

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Rosenberg, Matt. "Interesting Geography Facts." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Rosenberg, Matt. (2020, August 27). Interesting Geography Facts. Retrieved from Rosenberg, Matt. "Interesting Geography Facts." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 8, 2023).