From the west, the Central Pacific Railroad began building track in Sacramento, California. From the east, the Union Pacific began construction in Omaha, Nebraska. Railroads running from the East Coast to Omaha had already been built. It took about six years of backbreaking labor until the two tracks met at Promontory Point, Utah, in 1869. […]
The 275 square mile (715 sq km) White Sands National Monument, in the northern part of New Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert, is covered with sand made of gypsum crystals, which are usually white. Sand is defined as sediment created by the mechanical and chemical breakdown of rocks. In the United States, most desert and beach sand […]
Louisiana is named after the French king Louis XIV. The French settled the area in the early 18th century. Over the next 100 years, several wars were fought and secret treaties forged over this territory, among Spain, France, Great Britain, and the United States. Finally, in 1803, the portion of what is now Louisiana west […]
At its closest point, Greenland is only 10 miles (16 km) from Canada. Greenland is located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Most of Greenland lies north of the Arctic Circle. At its northernmost point, Greenland is only 440 miles (708 km) from the North Pole. Greenland has been […]
The United States does not have more working women than any other country. The United States is in sixth place, with about 71 percent of women working for pay. Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland all have a higher percentage of women who work for pay. Of the world’s 6 billion people, nearly 1 billion […]
Was the Land That Christopher Columbus First Sighted In October 1492 Really an Island In the West Indies?
Christopher Columbus never saw the North American mainland in October 1492. The land he first saw was an island in the Bahamas, which he named San Salvador. San Salvador Island is also known as Watling Island. Columbus called this region the Indies because he thought he had reached the islands we now call the East […]
Weather on the western side of Washington is wet and quite warm, considering its northern latitude. For example, in January, on average, Seattle has a mean temperature of 41° Fahrenheit and receives 5 inches (12.7 cm) of rain. Spokane, just 282 miles (454 km) east and at about the same latitude, on average has a […]
Why Does Mexico Have So Many Earthquakes and Volcanoes and What Was the Biggest Earthquake To Hit Mexico?
Mexico sits on top of not one or two but three of the earth’s tectonic plates. For this reason, the country experiences more than its share of earthquakes, since the movement of these plates causes earthquakes and volcanoes. One of the worst earthquakes to hit the country killed thousands of people and caused the destruction […]
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 […]
How Far Do a Country’s Boundaries Extend and How Far Up Into the Atmosphere Does the Air Space Extend?
Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities such as governments, sovereign states, and other subnational entities. A country’s borders continue beneath the surface all the way to the earth’s core. Above the ground, boundaries extend 100 miles (161 km) into the atmosphere. That means that airlines must get permission to enter the air space of […]
About 10 million years ago a volcano erupted in the Rocky Mountains more than 1,000 miles (1,610 km) to the west. The eruption sent tons of volcanic ash into the Nebraska area and buried alive hundreds of ancient animals, in particular, rhinoceros, deer, three-toed horses, and camels. Their skeletons were preserved by volcanic materials. You […]
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 […]
The Continental Divide is the top, or crest, of the Rocky Mountains. All streams west of the divide eventually flow into the Pacific Ocean, while all streams east of the divide flow into the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. The Continental Divide stretches from New Mexico all the way up to Alaska. The […]
Archaeologists believe that Native Americans carved pictures of people, deer, elk, turtles, spearthrowers, and other designs into areas of rock in southwestern Minnesota between 5,000 and 2,500 years ago. About 2,000 images can be seen in outcrop of red Sioux quartzite bedrock that juts out of the middle of a wide prairie. More than 50 […]
Mauritius, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, was once home to the flightless dodo bird, which Dutch settlers hunted to extinction in the 1600s. The dodo bird was an easy prey to settlers due to its weight and inability to fly, and became extinct less than eighty years after it […]
There are plants and animals species that live in Antarctica. Those that can survive the cold, dry climate, such as mosses, lichens, and algae. Only a few small insects can live there, and then only in the coastal areas. Many more animals spend summers in the waters that surround the continent, including penguins, seals, whales, […]
Although there once was a country named Prussia, it doesn’t exist anymore. Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state that had significant influence on German and European history. During the 18th century, Prussia was a powerful European kingdom under the reign of Frederick the Great. After World War II, Poland, Germany, and Russia each […]
The people called Pennsylvania Dutch are not Dutch at all, but rather descendants of the many German immigrants who settled in the central part of the state beginning in the 1700s. The German word for German is Deutsch, which was mispronounced as “Dutch.” Today, many Pennsylvania Dutch people still live in the central part of […]
The longest national highway in the world is the Trans-Canada Highway. It connects Victoria, British Columbia, on the west coast with St. John’s, Newfoundland, on Canada’s east coast, a distance of about 5,000 miles (8,000 km). It was built in just 15 years, from 1950 to 1965. Canada is an Indian or native name, and […]
There are very few tall buildings in between Lower Manhattan and Midtown because of the geology of Manhattan Island. Very tall buildings need a very solid foundation, and Manhattan Island’s bedrock of schist, which is a granite-like rock, is particularly solid and stable. In lower Manhattan the schist is about 80 feet (24 m) below […]
What Is the Smallest Country In South America In Population and What Is the Official Language of Suriname?
Suriname, on South America’s northeast coast, is the smallest in both land area and population. Most people live in the port city of Paramaribo. Suriname was a colony of the Netherlands until 1975. Dutch is still the official language, but 10 other languages are spoken there, the most common of which is Sranan Tongo. In […]
In 2000 the New York City metropolitan area was slightly larger than Mexico city, with 21.1 million people. Mexico City had 18.1 million people in its metropolitan area and was ranked the fourth largest city in the world, after Tokyo, Japan; New York City; and Seoul-Inchon, South Korea. In 2010, Mexico City was the second […]
Who Was the First Person To Reach the South Pole and When Did Norwegian Explorer Roald Amundsen Disappear?
The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen arrived at the South Pole in December 1911. Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen was also the first person to reach the North Pole, and is also known as the first to traverse the Northwest Passage. Amundsen was a key expedition leader during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, and disappeared in […]
Which Are the Leading U.S. Farm States In Agricultural Production and Which State Produces the Most Corn?
California leads the country in agricultural production, followed in order by Texas, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska, according to recent figures. North Dakota produces the most wheat, followed by Kansas. Iowa produces the most corn, followed by Illinois and Nebraska. Texas produces the most cotton, followed by California and Mississippi. Texas produces the most cattle, followed […]
Why Does California Have So Many Earthquakes and Which Two Tectonic Plates Form the The San Andreas Fault?
California gets more earthquakes than other parts of the United States because the San Andreas fault runs though about 800 miles of the state. The San Andreas fault is a fracture in the earth’s crust. Geologists call it a strike-slip type of fault, meaning the rock on one side of the fault moves sideways in […]
English is one of the official languages of Canada. Canada has two official languages: English and French. About 17 million of Canada’s 28.5 million people claim English as their first language. Nearly 7 million speak French, most of whom live in the province of Quebec. Canada is home to 5 million immigrants as well, and […]
People in Indonesia speak more than 250 languages and belong to 300 different ethnic groups. In the 1920s, they devised a common language so they could communicate with one another. It is called Bahasa Indonesia, which is based on the Malay language. Indonesia has a population of about 230 million people in 2010, and is […]
A few interesting geographic names have come from combining Delaware’s name with those of its neighbors. The strip of land that extends between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean contains all of Delaware and parts of Maryland and Virginia. The popular name for the entire area is the Delmarva Peninsula, formed from DELaware, MARyland, […]
Geographers sometimes disagree on this point, but most place the following countries in the Middle East: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The Middle East is often used as a synonym for Near East, as opposed to the Far […]
What Is the Deepest Lake In the World and Why Is Lake Baikal In Siberia Russia the Oldest Lake On Earth?
The deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal, in Russia’s Siberia region. It is 5,369 feet (1,637 m) deep, more than 1 mile, and holds one-fifth of the world’s freshwater. Scientists think that the lake is the oldest on the planet, at more than 25 million years old. It sits above a rift in […]
Which Continent Is the Highest, the Driest, and the Coldest in the World and How Cold Is Antarctica?
Antarctica, the land that surrounds the South Pole, is even colder than the North Pole. Temperatures can reach a minimum of between −80 °C (−112 °F) and −90 °C (−130 °F) in the interior of Antarctica during winter. It rarely snows in the interior because the air is so dry due to the continent’s high […]
In Alaska, 9 of 10 high school students graduate and get their diplomas. The lowest percentage of high school graduates is in South Carolina, where only three of four students finish high school. The 10 states with the lowest rankings in high school completion were southern states or states that bordered on southern states. The […]
What Is the Difference Between the White Nile and the Blue Nile and In Which Countries Are They Located?
The White Nile runs between the Sudd, a huge swamp, and Khartoum, both in the country of Sudan. When the Europeans searched for the source of the Nile during the 19th century, it was mainly focused on the illusive White Nile. The Blue Nile runs through Ethiopia and joins with the White Nile south of […]
The United States is home to the largest concentration of Jewish people in the world, with about 5.8 million. Next is Israel, with 4.6 million, followed by Russia, France, Ukraine, Canada, and Great Britain. The massive movement of Jews all over the world since the end of World War II is called the Jewish diaspora. […]
Papua New Guinea is a country that occupies more than half the island of New Guinea, about 100 miles north of Australia. The country of Indonesia occupies the western end of the island. This island was formed when part of the continent of Australia broke away millions of years ago. Papua New Guinea gained its […]
Most geologists agree that a hill is smaller than a mountain and is usually a gentle rise in the Earth’s surface. A mountain is a natural elevation that rises more abruptly to a peak and is larger than a hill. In an effort to be more exact, some experts claim height requirements for each. Some […]