India has 18 official languages, but its people speak nearly 100 other languages and hundreds more dialects. Most Indians, about 40 percent, speak Hindi. The other Indian languages are largely regional. For example, most people in the Punjab state speak Punjabi. English is officially the “associate national language” and is widely used in business and […]
Geologists think that Boiling Lake on the island of Dominica is actually a flooded fumarole. A fumarole is a crack in the earth’s surface that releases gases from molten lava below. These gases bubble to the surface, making it look as if the lake is boiling. The water itself is almost hot enough to boil, […]
Crater Lake in Oregon is the deepest lake in the United States, at 1,932 feet (588 m). The lake was formed entirely by rain and snow falling into the collapsed volcanic crater of Mount Mazama, in the Cascade Mountains. Mount Mazama’s top fell in about 7,700 years ago. The lake is almost 6 miles (10 […]
Why Are Children In Some African Countries Sent To Fight In Wars and What Is the Minimum Age To Serve?
Unfortunately, is it true that children in some African countries are sent to fight in wars. Children as young as seven or eight years old serve in the military in several African countries, and elsewhere in the world, including Sierra Leone, Uganda, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The United […]
Farms and ranches cover 90 percent of North Dakota’s land. One of every four people there works in an agriculture related job. North Dakota is the nation’s leading producer of sunflower seeds and flaxseed; it’s also a major wheat producer. Missouri is one of two states in the nation that is bordered by eight other […]
Wind turbines that are used to generate electricity come in many shapes and sizes. The largest turbine, in Hawaii, is 20 stories high and has propellers with a span longer than a football field. It can produce enough electricity to power 1,400 homes. Smaller machines have blades between 8 and 25 feet (2.4 and 7.6 […]
Hurricanes form in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean basins, in tropical or subtropical regions. Because hurricanes tend to move toward the west or the northwest, they usually move toward the U.S. East Coast but move away from the U.S. West Coast. Another reason why hurricanes never strike the U.S. West coast is that […]
The center span of the New River Gorge Bridge In West Virginia is 1,700 feet (518 m) long, and it was the longest steel arch bridge in the world for many years. Located near Fayetteville, the New River Gorge bridge took the title away from the Bayonne Bridge in New Jersey when it was completed […]
Florida has the lowest highest point in the United States, with its highest point is a place in Walton County that is 345 feet (105 m) above sea level. Walton County was created in 1824, and was named after George Walton, Secretary of the Florida territory from 1821 to 1826. It is estimated that in […]
How Many People Drive Cars In Africa and What Is the Most Dangerous Country In the World To Drive a Car In?
Only 2 people out of 100 in Africa own a car. Most roads are unpaved, making driving difficult or impossible during rainy periods. The most dangerous country in the world in which to drive is Malawi, in southeastern Africa. Drivers and their passengers are 30 times more likely to be injured in an accident there […]
The Hawaiian island of Kauai may be best known for its tropical gardens, but its dramatically beautiful Waimea canyon is the highlight of any visit there. Mark Twain once called this 10-mile (16-km)-long, 2-mile (3.2-km)-wide, and nearly 3,000-foot (914-m)-deep canyon the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” Its red rock walls remind visitors of Arizona’s Grand […]
The Dead Sea is really a lake, not a sea, because it is surrounded by land. It is six times as salty as ocean water, and only a few forms of plant and animal life, mainly brine shrimp, can survive in the lake. It is salty because water never leaves the lake except by evaporation, […]
Norway is called the land of the midnight sun because the northern part of Norway is located above the Arctic Circle, where the sun shines 24 hours a day from mid-May to mid-July. In the winter months, the reverse happens, and the sun does not appear even during the daytime. Norway has a population of […]
Africa’s Nile River, which is 4,160 miles (6,693 km) long, is the longest river in the world. The Nile flows through the countries of Uganda, Sudan, and Egypt, and has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile. The northern section of the river flows almost entirely through desert, from Sudan into Egypt, and […]
Some people who work in Massachusetts like to live across the border in New Hampshire because New Hampshire does not have a general sales tax or a state income tax on individual earned income. The state does levy other kinds of taxes, but even so, it has the third lowest overall taxes of all the […]
No one is sure how the Red Sea got its name, but some people think it is because the water looks red during the summer when a reddish-brown algae floats on the surface. The Red Sea lies between northeastern Africa and the Arabian peninsula. The Suez Canal, at the northern end of the Red Sea, […]
Most Peruvians are not of Spanish descent. About one-half of the Peruvian people are Indians, and most of the rest are of mixed white and Indian ancestry. Peru is home to the highest percentage of Indians of any South American country. Their ancestors were the Incas, who created an advanced civilization in Peru between 1200 […]
Almost 1 million people immigrate to the United States every year, although the Census Bureau predicts that the number will drop to about 700,000 a year by 2011. The main reason people come to the United States is for better-paying jobs. For example, one study noted that people who were earning about $31 a week […]
Peru has two official languages: Spanish and Quechua, the native Inca language. Most Peruvian people speak Spanish. Peru’s main economic activities include agriculture, fishing, mining, and manufacturing. About 29.5 million people live in Peru and the earliest evidence of human civilizations in Peru is dated to about 10,560 B.C. The word Peru is comes from […]
Where Do Family Names In Iceland Come From and Why Do Icelanders Have Unusual and Distinctive Last Names?
Icelanders are unusual in that they do not have family names, like Smith and Jones. To come up with a distinctive name, boys add their first name to a second name that is a combination of their father’s first name with the letters “son” added on the end. Girls combine their first names with their […]
What Types of Food Come From South America and When Were Potatoes First Cultivated In South America?
Many of the food items that people all over the world enjoy originated in South America. For example, potatoes were first cultivated about 7,000 years ago in the Andes mountains. Tomatoes were also first grown in South America, in the area of today’s Peru and Ecuador. Also native to the continent are peanuts, yams, pineapples, […]
Humans have already used up about one-third of the world’s known oil reserves, and scientists predict that there is only enough oil to sustain current levels of production for perhaps another hundred years. Oil is distributed unevenly over the earth. Almost 80 percent is in the Eastern Hemisphere, and most of that is in the […]
A spot in northwestern China, near the borders of Russia and Mongolia, is more than 1,600 miles (2,575 km) from any ocean. Its latitude is 46° 17′ north, and its longitude is 86°40′ east. Located approximately 200 miles north of the city of Ürümqi, in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. The spot is in […]
Volcanoes can and do form underwater, and in fact most volcanoes are on the ocean floors, not on land. A chain of volcanoes below the sea circles the earth for more than 30,000 miles (48,300 km), standing, on average, about 18,000 feet (5,486 m) above the sea floor. This chain is called the Mid-Ocean Ridge. […]
Almost all the orange juice we drink in the United States is processed in Florida. The state of Florida grows 80 percent of all oranges and grapefruit in the United States. The second largest industry in Florida is agriculture, and citrus fruit, especially oranges, are a major part of the economy. Florida’s economy has historically […]
The only time Christopher Columbus saw either of the American continents was in 1498, when he landed in what is now Venezuela. This was his third trip to the New World, and was accompanied by the father of Bartolomé de Las Casas. He explored the mainland of South America, and reached the islands of Chacachacare […]
The Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador, a small country in northwestern South America on the Equator between Colombia and Peru. Ecuador’s name comes from the Spanish word for “Equator.” The Galápagos islands and the waters around it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and features a national park, and a biological marine reserve. The […]
South America is rich in natural resources of all kinds. Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru produce petroleum products. Brazil has tin, iron ore, and manganese mines. Tin is also mined in Bolivia. Bauxite, an ore used to make aluminum, comes from mines in Brazil, Guyana, and Suriname. Chile is the world’s top producer […]
Also called a nor’easter, a northeaster type of winter storm blows into North America from the northeast and brings strong winds and precipitation to New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. They occur most often between September and April. A Northeaster is usually described as a low pressure area whose center of rotation is just off […]
Idaho’s state capitol building in Boise is heated by pumping up naturally hot water from 3,000 feet (914 m) below the Earth. This form of energy is called geothermal. The water is warmed by heat coming from underground chambers of magma, or molten rock. Magma produces lava during a volcanic eruption. In areas of volcanic […]
Today, South Africa is the most industrialized country on the continent. It grew rich because Dutch colonists discovered gold and diamonds there in the late 1800s. South Africa still supplies about one third of the world’s gold yearly, mining more gold than any other country. Other types of mining are important to the South African […]
Why Isn’t Greenland Considered a Continent Like Australia and What Does Greenland Mean In Kalaallisut?
Geographers have decided that Greenland is too small to be called a continent. Australia is three and a half times larger than Greenland. Greenland is physiographically part of the continent of North America, and is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. Greenland is the world’s largest island that is not a continent by […]
Why Did the Mormons Settle In Utah and When Did Brigham Young Build a Settlement In Great Salt Lake City?
Back in New York in 1830, a man named Joseph Smith established the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Over the next 20 years, the church spread to Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, but everywhere they went, its members were persecuted by people of other denominations. In 1847 they decided to travel west to find […]
What Causes Global Warming and Why Do Some Scientists Disagree That the Theory of Global Warming Is Real?
Global warming refers to the theory that the Earth’s atmosphere, specifically, the troposphere or lower atmosphere, is retaining more heat because of an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, and together they prevent about 30 percent of the heat that leaves the Earth’s surface from […]
How Much of the World Did the United Kingdom Rule and Why Did the British Empire Decline After World War I?
In 1900, the United Kingdom ruled an empire that covered one-fourth of the world’s land area. By 1922, the British Empire rules over a population of about 458 million people, or about one-quarter of the world’s population at the time. The empire slowly broke up, the result of two devastating world wars and the desire […]
The word Porteños means “people of the port” in Spanish. Portenos are citizens of Argentina’s capital and largest city, Buenos Aires. They represent people of various cultures, including Italian, German, and Spanish. Buenos Aires is considered to be the most European city in South America, and is the second largest metropolitan area in South America, […]