Geographical oddities

Indonesia is a country consisting of islands only – more than 17,000 of them! But only about on-third of these are inhabited.

Norway has an area of approx. 150,000 sq. miles and a nominal coastline of approx. 1600 miles. But if you study its map through a magnifying glass, you will find that the coastline looks like an extremely kinky hair – the result of glacial erosion that has caused innumerable fjords along the coast. If you could straighten out the kinks, the coastline would stretch beyond 14,000 miles – that is more than the distance from the North to the South pole! United States with all its territories has nearly the same length of coastline for an area which is 27 times the size of Norway!

Talking of USA, it is one country that significantly increased its post-independence size through purchase of land from Russia, France, Mexico, Denmark etc. It must have made the most profitable land deal in history when it purchased Alaska from Russia at a little over 7 million dollars in 1867, which comes to about $10 per sq. mile (2 cents per acre). Just imagine that Alaska accounts for 20% of total oil production in USA, not to speak of the huge reserves of natural gas, and mineral resources like coal, gold, zinc etc. and you will appreciate the magnitude of the bargain!

Can you name a city that spans two continents? There is only one of its kind. Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, has its western half in Europe and the Eastern half in Asia, connected by two bridges spanning the strait of Bosphorus (between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara) that divides the two halves of the city.

Cities have come and gone from the time mankind started creating settlements. The city which has remained continuously inhabited for the longest time till today is Damascus, the capital of Syria. Archaeological finds have shown that the city was inhabited as early as 8,000-10,000 BC!

Everyone knows that the Arctic has no land mass underneath – it is only frozen sea ice. That is why it is not counted a continent like Antarctica which is a land mass covered by a blanket of ice. This Antarctic ice cap is estimated to contain 70% of World’s surface freash water. In contrast, the Great Lakes bordering USA and Canada contain 21% of such water in the world. The Amazon with its tributaries is the other major source of fresh water but as this is a flowing mass that varies from season to season, it is difficult to calculate its share. It is estimated that nearly 20% of the World’s fresh water flows through the Amazon which, at its widest point, is nearly 7 miles wide in the dry season. It discharges so much water into the ocean that the water remains drinkable even at about 200 miles into the ocean from the mouth of the river.

How do you meaure the height of a mountain? The vertical height from its base to its peak, right? By this criteria, Mauna Kea in Hawaii is the highest mountain on Earth. Though only 13,500 ft. of this remain visible above the sea level, its base lies in the pacific basin from where it rises 33,500 ft. – nearly a mile higher than Mt. Everest!

6 thoughts on “Geographical oddities”

  1. Surface fresh water : Antartica ( 70% ) + Great Lakes ( 21% ) + Amazon ( 20% ) = 111% !

    And not counting the rest …

    Where is the error ?

  2. I think that the Antartica is not calculated in this equation. Of 100% of all fresh water on the planet 70% of it goes to frozen ice of Antartica. Of the rest of the 30% of fresh water, 21% goes to Great Lakes and 20% to Amazon and so on…

    Antartica is not considered here because this water is not directly accessible to people, unlike rivers, lakes, etc.

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