As an avid explorer and Travel Trivia reader, you probably know a lot about the world. Well, this planet hides a few surprises. Here are six geography facts that will change the way you see the world.
Around 90% of the Planet's Population Lives in the Northern Hemisphere
When we think about where people live, we assume each hemisphere has a good number of residents. In reality, most of the world's population is located in the Northern Hemisphere, leaving the Southern Hemisphere nearly uninhabited by this study's standards. Around 90% of the people on the planet live in the Northern part of the world in countries such as the U.S. and China, making the rest of the world look a bit sparse.
Continents Shift at the Same Speed That Your Fingernails Grow
If you were awake during social studies class, you will remember that the planet's tectonic plates are in a state of near-constant movement. This is how the earth went from having basically one big continent to having seven. For around 40 million years, the continents were in a slow phase, moving away from each other at a rate of about one millimeter per year. Then, about 200 million years ago, things got kicked into high gear and the plates began to move at 20 millimeters per year, which, scientists say, is equivalent to the speed at which fingernails grow.
Reno, Nevada, Is Farther West Than Los Angeles
Los Angeles is typically seen as the West Coast city. It is right next to the ocean and it has all those beaches, so it would make sense for it to be farther west than a desert city like Reno, Nevada, right? Wrong! Reno is actually around 86 miles farther west than Los Angeles, due to the curve of California and the placement of the states.
Asia Is Bigger Than the Moon
Continuing on this same shocking track, the moon isn't as big as it looks either. Still, though, it is around 27 percent of the size of Earth and has 14.6 million square miles of surface area. Although this seems like a lot, it is significantly less than the total surface area of Asia, which is 17.2 million square miles, meaning that Earth's biggest continent is actually bigger than the moon.
Mount Everest Is Not the World's Tallest Mountain
If someone asks you "What is the tallest mountain in the world?" you will surely answer, "Why, Mount Everest, of course! Everyone knows that!" But sadly, you would be wrong. Technically, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain above sea level, but it isn't the tallest in the world. This honor goes to Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Mauna Kea rises up 13,796 feet above sea level (compared to Everest's 29,035 feet), but it also extends down an additional 19,700 feet below sea level, into the Pacific Ocean. To make this mountain even cooler, it is actually a volcano, whose last eruption was 4,600 years ago.
Alaska Is the Westernmost, Easternmost and Northernmost State in the U.S.
This sounds impossible, but I assure you it is true. From looking at a map, it is pretty obvious that Alaska is the northernmost state in the country. What's surprising? The Aleutian Islands between Russia and Alaska boast the westernmost point of the United States, but in what seems like some sort of geographical oxymoron, they are also home to the easternmost point of the U.S. too. An island called Semisopochnoi (which just so happens to be a collapsed volcano) has a spot that sits so far to the west (around ten miles west of the Prime Meridian) that it actually becomes easternmost spot in the U.S.