The Earth is a massive and wondrous place, full of wondrous landscapes, seemingly bottomless oceans and countless diverse ecosystems. And as such, its geography continually blows the minds of even experienced scientists. What do you really know about the geography of our home world?
You already knew that Australia is a really large place. But did you know that its land mass is actually wider than the moon? And did you know that the Dead Sea is more than 1,400 feet below sea level?
Our mountain ranges boggle the mind, too. Can you name the tallest peaks in North and South America? And did you know that those neck-tweaking peaks are actually pint-size compared to the monstrous cliffs in Asia?
You learned in grade school that water covers more than 70% of the planet’s surface. Do you know the names of the largest oceans and lakes? And do you really know where the biggest reserves of saltwater and fresh water rest?
In our amazing geography quiz, we’ll zoom from the bottom of the oceans to the top of Mount Everest and back again. Take our strange and difficult geography test now!
Russia is a truly massive country, the biggest in the world. It borders 14 other countries and features everything from tundra to mountains to deserts and everything in between.
Mauna Loa is a an active volcano in Hawaii, and scientists call it the biggest on Earth. It has been erupting intermittently for around 700,000 years, most recently in 1984.
Sure, Australia is surrounded by water, but Canada's immensity actually means it has more coastline -- roughly 150,000 miles worth, more than any other nation.
Most of the world's land rests in the Northern Hemisphere, so it logically follows that this is where 90% of the human population resides. At least, that will be the case until humans grow gills and dorsal fins and repopulate the lost city of Atlantis.
Scientists say that about 90% of Earth's fresh water is frozen in Antartica in huge sheets of ice. The icy continent spans about 5.4 million square miles.
The Pacific is the world's biggest ocean -- the Arctic is the smallest. It's deep, though. The Arctic averages about 12,000 feet in depth.
The Nile is, according to some sources, the longest river in the world, although it has serious competition from the Amazon in South America. It runs across the northeast side of Africa.
Istanbul, Turkey has the distinction of being the only city to rest between two continents. It straddles the bit of land that connects Asia and Europe.
The San Andreas Fault is a famous fault line (tectonic plate boundary) in California. It always has a starring role in Hollywood's earthquake disaster films.
Africa is the hub of the world. Of Earth's seven continents, just one -- Africa -- spans all four hemispheres.
Hawaii can only dream of making it this big. Greenland is Earth's biggest island, with more than 830,000 square miles of land mass.
The U.S. is a big country full of big states, particularly out West. Eleven states are larger than the entire United Kingdom, which is around 93,000 square miles
Canada is an enormous nation, second only to Russia in terms of land mass. It sprawls for more than 3.8 million square miles yet has a population smaller than California.
The extreme size of Alaska and Russia finds these two places near one another in the Bering Strait. There, two islands bring the countries even closer together, at a distance of only about 2.5 miles.
Europe and Asia are one large landmass, so many geographers tend to lump them together. So you can say there are six continents, or seven, depending on your preference.
It's a good thing that Asia is a humongous place, because it's home to more than 4.5 billion people. That's about 60% of the planet's entire population.
Alaska is America's biggest state, much larger than California. But it has around 660,000 square miles, while Greenland has more than 830,000 square miles.
The border between Canada and the U.S. is the longest in the world. There are 13 states and eight provinces along the border, not to mention about 100,000 moose.
Lake Baikal, in Siberia, is the world's largest and deepest lake, and it stores more water than all of the Great Lakes combined. It actually contains about 20% of all of Earth's unfrozen fresh water.
On Baffin Island, Canada, you'll find an impressive sight: Mt. Thor. This mountain features a vertical drop of more than 4,100 feet, the highest sheer vertical drop in the world, so if you're scared of heights, this is probably not your ideal tourist location.
Brazil is a very big country, the fifth-largest in the world and the largest in South America. It makes up most of the east coast of the continent.
Denali, in Alaska, is the highest peak in all of North America. Denali is more than 20,000 feet tall … far short of Mount Everest, which measures more than 29,000 feet.
We swear we aren't making this one up. In a weird twist of geography, the inland city of Reno really is located roughly 80 miles farther west than Los Angeles, which rests on the coast.
In Russia, you'll spy Mount Elbrus, the tallest peak in all of Europe. It soars to about 18,510 feet, and for comparison's sake, that’s about 1,500 feet lower than Denali in Alaska.
Sure, there are plenty of lush forests in Africa, but it is the world's hottest continent. About 60% of its lands are desert or drylands.
In 1929, Vatican City became independent from Italy, making it the smallest individual country in the world. It spans (far) less than one square mile and has a population of about 1,000.
The Baltic Sea stretches along a series of countries in northern Europe, such as Sweden, Finland, Poland and more. It is considered part of the Atlantic Ocean.
There's a reason the Sahara Desert is known as a harsh, unforgiving and deadly place. It is dry and is hot and it is enormous, larger even than the United States.
Alaska is obviously at the extreme western part of the U.S. But many people don't realize that parts of Alaska also extend into the eastern hemisphere, making it the easternmost and westernmost state in the Union.
Mongolia is a large sovereign nation between China and Russia. It has a population of just 3 million people, making it the most sparsely populated nation on Earth.