Six Fun Geography Facts

October 8, 2018

Moraine Lake, one of the many lakes in Canada

For something that’s so enjoyable, geography trivia has a tendency to teach us something too! Take a look at these six amazing geographical facts, and you’ll see how even the most obscure information can be fun and educational at the same time.

1. Over half the natural lakes in the world are in Canada.

Canada is home to more than 50 percent of all the natural lakes in the world. If you factor in man-made lakes, Canada’s percentage of the world’s lakes surpasses 60 percent. Canada has 31,752 lakes larger than 1.15 sq mi in area. Over 9% of Canada is covered with freshwater lakes. Canada holds these amazing lake-based records largely because it’s home to the seven Great Lakes. The biggest one, Lake Superior, has an area of 31,700 sq mi, is the largest North American lake, and is Canada's largest lake. Even the smallest of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario, contributes 7,320 sq mi to Canada’s total lake coverage.

2. The Sargasso Sea is the only sea in the world with no coast.

The Sargasso Sea, named for a type of seaweed called Sargassum, is a massive patch of ocean located in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It’s not defined by land boundaries, but by ocean currents. The North Atlantic Current defines the Sargasso Sea's northern edge and the Gulf Stream forms its western boundary. It’s further defined on the eastern side by the Canary Current, and in south by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current.

3. An Ecuadorian volcano is closer to the moon that Everest.

If you were measuring from the moon, surely Earth closest mountain would be its tallest mountain. So, Everest, right? Not so fast! Because of its proximity to the equator, Chimborazo, an inactive volcano in the Andes mountains, is actually the closest to the moon. Maxing out at 20,549 ft, this modest Ecuadorian volcano falls woefully short of Everest’s 29,029-foot peak. Nevertheless, because the earth isn’t perfectly round, if you compare the two peaks based on their distance from the center of the Earth, Chimborazo projects 7,000 feet farther into space than Everest.

4. Africa is the only continent that covers four hemispheres

The world’s four hemispheres are defined by the Equator and the Prime Meridian. The Equator is halfway between the North and South Poles; the Prime Meridian was arbitrarily defined as the meridian that intersects Greenwich, England. Several continents are located in two hemispheres, like South America for example, which spans the northern and southern hemispheres. But only one continent in the world, Africa, exists in the northern, southern, eastern, and western hemispheres. That also means Africa is the only continent with land that includes both the Equator and the Prime Meridian.

5. Istanbul only city in two continents

The ancient city of Istanbul, former capital of the successive Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires, is a country of two continents. Part of Istanbul is in Europe, and the other part is in Asia. The divider between European Istanbul and Asian Istanbul is also the world's narrowest strait used for international navigation—the Bosphorus strait. Also known as The Strait of Istanbul, the Bosphorus strait is a 19-mile-long waterway that acts as a natural border between the two continents.

6. The Himalayas have 19 of the top 25 highest peaks.

How do you measure a mountain? Using height above sea level is not the best way because it doesn’t account for the difference between a mountain with multiple peaks and separate mountains. Instead, “topographic prominence,” or the difference between a mountain’s base and its peak, has proven a more reliable measurement. If you used simple height above sea level, the Himalayas would contain all 25 of the highest peaks in the world, but using topographic prominence, six not-Himalayan mountains make it onto that list, including Pico Bolívar, the highest mountain in Venezuela, and Mount Rainier, the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States.