30 Geography Facts Everyone Keeps Getting Wrong
These days, instead of studying atlases, we use the Internet. So it should come as no surprise that there are mountains of mistakes being made about the basic geography of the world. Get out your Google Maps for the 30 common errors that leave geography teachers in tears.
Mistake: Antarctica has no time zones
It’s a common misconception that the frozen continent at the South Pole had no time zones. But as we know from the science stations located in various parts of the massive ice shelf, there are nine different time zones in use in Antarctica. This is the United States trivia your teacher never taught you.
Mistake: Russia and Turkey are the only countries on two continents
You might think that Russia and Turkey are the only two countries that lie in two continents. But according to geologists, the Asia-Europe boundary is the Caucasus watershed, which means the border also cuts through Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.
Mistake: The Statue of Liberty is in New York
If you want to start an argument between New Yorkers and New Jerseyans, bring up this bone of contention. Even though the U.S. Geological Survey has placed Liberty Island in New York’s 8th Congressional District, the island actually resides in New Jersey’s waters, and is much closer to Jersey’s mainland than New York’s. Check out more wacky facts about the Statue of Liberty.
Mistake: The Nile is the world’s longest river
That’s what it always said in our geography books, so this myth is pretty pervasive. But if you consider, as many studies do, the tributaries, multiple channels of a river, and cutoffs that eliminate longer river bends, the Amazon River beats out the Nile nowadays by a whisker—4,345 miles to 4,258. Most people get these U.S. state facts wrong. Can you beat the odds?
Mistake: Maine is our easternmost state
Well, it was until 1959, when Alaska became a state and took over the title. How? The Aleutian Islands in Alaska cross over the 180th meridian, which means that the islands on the far side of the line are technically in the farthest eastern longitudes of the world. And the islands on this side of the line also make Alaska our westernmost state as well.
Mistake: Florida is our southernmost state
The Florida Keys are a picturesque haven for tourists who flock to the southernmost geographical marker in Key West. But it’s the southernmost continental point. Hawaii, in fact, reaches down nearly to the 21st latitude, only 1,465 miles from the equator. See if you can pass this geography quiz. It’s a lot harder than you might think.
Mistake: All 50 states have Daylight Saving Time
That would be dead wrong. Hawaiians don’t switch their clocks like most of the mainlanders. And Arizona chooses not to recognize DST either. And to complicate things further, Navajo tribal lands in Arizona do recognize the time change. So when in Arizona, check your bus schedules carefully.
Mistake: Norway is the northernmost country in the world
Sorry to disappoint all you Norse scholars, but the Kingdom of Norway is only the fourth most northern nation. Russia, Canada, and Greenland all reach closer to the North Pole, with Greenland’s Kaffeklubben Island being the world’s most northern land.