Geography Facts We Just Learned That Really Put Us In Our Place

List Rules
Vote up the geography facts that make you rethink the world.

Think geography is a bunch of lines on a map? Think again. It's really the story of our world and the environments, cultures, and physical features that define it. The world is a wild place, and these geography facts only reinforce that truth.

What unexpected geographic features can Antarctica claim? How can France and Brazil share a border? And just how enormous is the Pacific Ocean? Similar to geography facts that are surprising, these unexpected facts offer a different perspective on the world - and how it is an endlessly astonishing place.

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    385 VOTES

    In Nunavut, Canada, There Is An Island In A Lake That Is On An Island In A Lake, Which Is On Another Island

    In Nunavut, Canada, There Is An Island In A Lake That Is On An Island In A Lake, Which Is On Another Island
    Photo: NASA Earth Observatory image by Josh Stevens / US Geological Survey / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Nunavut, Canada, is home to polar bears, ice sheets, and an island that boasts a unique distinction. It's known as "the world's largest island-in-a-lake-on-an-island-in-a-lake-on-an-island." It does not have a name.

    This island took that title away from another lake island in the Philippines, which had previously been heralded as the world's biggest one.

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    406 VOTES

    The Pacific Ocean Is The Biggest Ocean In The World - And Is So Vast That It Contains More Than One Opposing Point

    The Pacific Ocean Is The Biggest Ocean In The World - And Is So Vast That It Contains More Than One Opposing Point
    Photo: Porcupen /

    An "antipode" is a point that is directly opposite another point. All spots on the globe can have antipodes, but they're usually in different regions of the world.

    The Pacific Ocean is so big that it contains more than one antipodal point. As trivia master Ken Jennings explained in Condé Nast Traveler:

    The antipode is the place you'd get to if you dug a hole directly through the center of the earth and came out the other side... [The Gulf of Tonkin] is the northernmost extension of the South China Sea, which is an arm of the Pacific. But if you burrowed through the earth from the Gulf of Tonkin, you'd emerge just off the coast of Chile. You'd still be in Pacific waters. That's right, the Pacific is so vast that some parts of it are antipodal to itself! The only other such spot is the Gulf of Thailand, which is arguably still an arm of the Pacific, and is opposite Peru's Pacific coast. 

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    353 VOTES

    Antarctica Is A Desert - And It's The World's Biggest

    Move over, Sahara and Kalahari: A different desert is the world's biggest. Instead of sand and heat, however, it has ice and frigid temperatures - and is located at the bottom of the world. Yes, Antarctica is the world's biggest desert.

    What makes a frozen continent a desert? It gets little precipitation and doesn't have a lot of vegetation.  

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    326 VOTES

    Antarctica Has Two Active Volcanoes - But Australia Doesn't Have Any

    When the word "volcano" comes to mind, most people imagine places that are warm and lush, such as Hawaii and Italy. But volcanoes also exist in less obvious places. In fact, six of the seven continents have active volcanoes. 

    Antarctica, for example, has two active volcanoes: Mount Erebus and Deception Island. It also has dozens of inactive volcanoes. Scientists have identified 138 inactive volcanoes in the western corner of the continent - and more are likely to be discovered. 

    Though the vast majority of continents have active volcanoes, there is one exception: Australia is the lone continent that lacks an active volcano.

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    326 VOTES

    Africa Is So Big That It Exists In Every Hemisphere

    Africa may not be the biggest continent in the world - that would be Asia - but it holds a unique distinction: It's the only continent that has land in every hemisphere.

    The prime meridian and the equator divide the world into four halves: the Eastern, Western, Northern, and Southern hemispheres. Parts of Africa are in all four halves. Mauritania, for example, is in the Western Hemisphere, while Ethiopia is in the Eastern. In the other direction, Botswana is in the Southern Hemisphere, and Egypt is in the Northern.

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    330 VOTES

    Russia Boasts Nearly A Dozen Time Zones

    Russia claims only a small fraction of the world's population: Fewer than 2% of all humans live there. But what Russia lacks in population, it more than makes up for in land mass. With its 6.6 million square miles of land, Russia has more land than any other country. 

    All that land also means Russia boasts more time zones than anyone else - 11 of them, which amounts to almost half of the 24 times zones around the world.