Only True Geography Buffs Will Get 100% on This Quiz

Zoe Samuel

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Geography is one of those topics that is horribly taught in schools, generally speaking. Somehow, many teachers manage to take the study of our physical world and how it interacts with us and we with it, and make it boring. However, the nerds among us know that geography is anything but dull. On the contrary, it's a fascinating topic that helps us to understand why societies succeed or fail, and what we can do to help them head in a positive direction.

Geography isn't just about remembering the names of cities, rivers, and mountains. It's also about knowing the tools that help a person to study these things, and how they came to be there in the first place. Most of all, it's about knowing how the topography of a landscape can impact the humans who live on it, and thus why civilizations tend to gather in certain places and to collapse under certain circumstances. It's an endlessly interesting subject that lends itself to a really dorky sort of memory, whereby you can absorb a great many facts and find them surprisingly relevant in your day to day life. It's time to see what you remember!

What is the highest mountain in Africa?

All the other mountains here are tall but they're not in Africa! Kilimanjaro is one of the highest peaks in the world and considered the easiest of the seven summits (the highest peak on each contintent) to climb.

What is the longest river in Asia?

The Yangtze is one of the main rivers in China. It was controversially dammed by the Three Gorges Dam to provide hydropower.

What sky phenomenon is formed by "refraction and dispersion of the sun's light by rain or other water droplets in the atmosphere"?

Yep, we left off the part of the definition where it says it's a band of colors in the sky. A rainbow is typically formed when there is rain and sun at the same time, and it is always opposite the sun.

What can cause waves in the sea?

All of these can cause a wave. Water is not stable, after all, so it is easily moved around.

What is the coldest ocean?

The Arctic Ocean is warming rapidly but it's still really cold compared to the others! Unfortunately, it is warming fast enouh that it may soon be ice-free in the summers.

What is the largest freshwater lake in the world?

Lake Baikal may not have the biggest surface area but it is the biggest by volume. This is because it is really, really deep - more than a mile!

What is the most populated city in the world?

The capital of Japan is vast. It has nearly 40 million residents in the metro area. It's also quite dense compared to other megacities and has pretty good transit!

What is the newest country?

South Sudan is brand new, though it is off to a rocky start. It separated from Sudan proper after an entire generation of civil war.

What is the oldest continuously inhabited city?

Damascus has been a settlement for more than 10,000 years. That makes it the longest continuously inhabited place on the planet.

Which of the rainy places below is the wettest?

Mawsynram, India, is really, really wet. They get more than 11,000 mm (which equals 433 inches or 36 feet) of rain there per year!

How powerful was the biggest recorded earthquake in history?

It happened in Valdivia, Chile, in 1960. It killed 1,600 people, left millions homeless and caused half a billion dollars worth of damage in 1960s money.

What is the smallest country?

It is less than one half of one square kilometer. It's also entirely contained within the city of Rome.

Which of these is NOT a layer of Earth's atmosphere?

The missing one is thermosphere.

How much carbon dioxide is there in the air, in parts per million?

The amount is going up by about 2-3 ppm per year. At 410, we're seeing droughts, record heatwaves and wildfires. At 1,000 there will be no ice on the planet, meaning seas will rise 270 feet. That's why the amount matters!

Which of these manmade structures can you NOT see from space without magnification?

You cannot actually see the Great Wall without magnification. You can see all the others, which include a mine, a dump, and a complex of greenhouses!

What is the Kármán line?

It's at 330,000 feet and it's officially the point at which "space" begins. You can't breathe long before you get up there, but that's the officially agreed on spot. You don't want ot go over about 30,000 feet without oxygen, though, and ideally not above about 15,000.

What is the fastest land animal?

You probably learned this as a child and it's still true. A cheetah can run up to 75mph.

What is the biggest living thing on Earth?

This fungus is in Oregon and it covers more than 2,000 square miles! They call it the Humongous Fungus, an apt name if ever there was one.

What is the biggest type of tree?

The biggest of the big is called General Sherman. At 52,500 cubic feet, it is nearly twice the size of the next contender.

What is the deepest cave?

At 7,208 feet deep, this cave system is nearly a mile and a half deep! It's in the country of Georgia, in Eastern Europe. Just don't go too far down. You might awaken a Balrog!

How far above sea level is Null Island?

It's a trick question! Null Island is not real, it's just a place in the sea that is at zero latitutde and longitude. Photos that have no geotag typically get tagged as being at Null Island, though, so actually there are more photos on the internet "taken at Null Island" than any other location on Earth!

Which of these is NOT a type of cloud?

Yep, there's no cloud called a Fluffismus, though we wish there were. The nice fluffy everyday ones you see are cumulus clouds.

What is the lowest dry place on Earth?

This area is about 1,200 feet below sea level. The Dead Sea is slowly evaporating and may eventually disappear altogether as there is no water source to feed it.

Which of these is not a type of wave?

Waves can look rounded but this is not a category of wave. There is, however, such a thing as a tubular wave, which is a beautiful wave with a rounded tunnel of air inside!

What causes wind?

Wind always moves from higher to lower pressure areas. A doldrum, where there is no wind, means the air pressure in that area is very steady.

What is the biggest forest on Earth?

The Amazon rainforest is 2.1 million square miles, which is 1.3 billion acres. An effort is being made to protect it, as only 2/3 of it is currently still standing.

Which of these is the oldest settlement in the Americas?

This settlement was nearly destroyed when a freeway was built through the site. It appears to date back to 7500 BC.

What distinction does the Atacama Desert enjoy?

The Atacama is the driest place on Earth. It gets so little rain that Lake Vanda, in the same region, is three times saltier than the ocean.

Which of these is NOT a feature of coastline?

Beaches, headlands, and tombolos are all features of coasts. A tombolo is a sandbar that joins an island to the mainland.

What type of hills are the famous Chocolate Hills of the Philippines?

These amazing-looking hills are not made of chocolate, alas. They just turn brown in the dry season. They're conical "haycock" hills that are likely to become a UNESCO protected site.

In plate tectonics, which of these is NOT a type of plate boundary?

Undertow is not a type of plate boundary. Plates do sometimes go under one another, but that is called subduction.

Which of these is NOT one of the three main states in which you might find a volcano?

Erupting is a subcategory of "active." If a volcano is active, it may just be giving off gas, but it may also be erupting. Otherwise, it is extinct (dead forever) or dormant (might go off, but not currently).

Where is the world's deepest canyon?

At 19,715 feet, the Yarlung Zangbo canyon in Tibet is by far the deepest. It is nearly four miles deep in places.

What's the one key difference between a tree and a shrub?

It's literally that simple: trees are taller. They also typically have a single trunk of at least 2 inches in diameter and a height of 4.5 feet. Shrubs have multiple, shorter woody "trunks."

What is the name of the cloud type that looks like a saucer?

These amazing stationary clouds form in the high troposphere and are sculpted smooth by gentle air currents. They are quite rare and very beautiful.

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