Where Is the Windiest Place In The World?

The highest wind speed ever recorded on earth was 231 miles per hour. It was recorded at Mount Washington, New Hampshire. But that was a very unusual reading, and winds even half that high are rare everywhere in the United Stated, but not in one place in Antarctica. In Commonwealth Bay, along the coast of … Read more

Where Is the Loneliest Place on Earth?

The continent of Antarctica contains about 10 percent of all the land on earth. Yet Antarctica is the most remote, hard-to-get-to place on our planet. Its possible to visit every continent except Antarctica without ever crossing more than about 100 miles of sea. But Antarctica is everywhere at least 600 miles from the nearest continent! … Read more

Where Is the Largest Glacier on Earth?

A glacier is a large mass of ice and snow that forms where snow falls at a greater rate than it melts. Glaciers usually move slowly down the slopes of mountains or through valleys. They break up into icebergs when they reach the sea. It shouldn’t be surprising that the largest glacier on earth is … Read more

Which Insect Lives in Antarctica?

Whales weighing as much as 100 tons live in the waters near Antarctica, and some seals spend part of the year on that continent. Penguins and some other birds also spend part of the year in Antarctica or the waters nearby. But the only creature that lives on the continent of Antarctica year-round is an … Read more

Which Bird Flies the Longest For Its Migration?

The Arctic tern might just as well be called the “Antarctic” tern. As this sea bird, related to the gull, spends about three months of each year in the Antarctic region and about three months in the Arctic. It spends the rest of the year traveling from one end of the globe to the other. … Read more

How Is The Penguin The Fastest Swimming Bird On Earth?

Most birds are built for life in the air, but penguins are far better equipped for life in the water. These flightless birds use their wings as paddles when they’re swimming, enabling them to “fly” through the water. And they can “fly” indeed, some penguins travel more than 22 miles an hour when swimming underwater, … Read more

Did The Aurora Islands Named After A Spanish Ship Ever Exist?

Islands have been known to appear and disappear due to volcanic eruptions. The Aurora Islands, which were supposed to lie in the South Atlantic within about 1,000 miles of the continent of Antarctica, appeared and disappeared a number of times over the course of several decades. But their disappearing act wasn’t due to volcanoes, the … Read more

Where Is Mount Erebus And Why Is The Volcano Surrounded by Ice?

When you think of a volcano, you think of bubbling lava, steam, smoke, and heat. But there’s a large volcano in the last place you would expect to find heat, Antarctica, the coldest continent! Mount Erebus is the earth’s most southerly volcano. It’s located less than 900 miles from the South Pole. It’s not really … Read more

Which Is the Greatest Ocean Current In The World?

An ocean current is a stream of water moving through a larger body of water. Just as a river is a stream of water moving through land, an ocean current is a “river” of water moving through the ocean. One of the major ocean currents is the Gulf Stream, which flows out of the Gulf … Read more

Where Is the Lowest Place on Earth?

There are a number of places on earth where the land is below sea level. In Death Valley, California, and around the Dead Sea in Israel, for instance. But none of these depressions, or low-lying places, can compare to a huge depression in Antarctica that is covered with thick ice. Scientists have found that at … Read more

Where Is the Coldest Place In The World?

The coldest temperature ever recorded at the South Pole was more than 102 degrees below zero. That’s plenty cold, but it’s not the coldest temperature ever recorded on the continent of Antarctica. In 1960, Russian scientists working at an Antarctic base called Vostok, more than 750 miles from the South Pole, recorded a temperature of … Read more

What Would Happen If The Ice Cap In Antarctica Melted?

The continent of Antarctica, which surrounds the South Pole, has an area of more than 5 million square miles. Only a few hundred miles of the continent are free from a permanent cover of ice. The ice cap that covers Antarctica is more than 6,000 feet thick in many places. At some points, it’s over … Read more

How Deep Is the Ocean And Where Is The Deepest Point?

That depends upon what part of the ocean you’re talking about. Even the Pacific, the largest ocean, is just a few hundred feet deep at some points. On the average, the Pacific is about 14,000 feet deep. But at one point its more than twice as deep as that! The Marianas Trench is an underground … Read more

Why Is Kingdom of Tonga Known As The Friendly Islands?

The nation of Tonga consists of 150 islands spread over 100,000 square miles of ocean in the South Pacific. The total area of these islands is just 270 square miles, and Tonga’s 93,000 people live on only 45 of the islands. The English explorer James Cook discovered these islands in the eighteenth century and called … Read more

When Did Tuvalu Gain Its Independence?

Tuvalu means “cluster of eight islands” in the language of the natives who live there. This tiny nation actually consists of nine islands in the South Pacific, but only eight of them are inhabited. The islands form a chain about 360 miles long. The total area of the nine islands is less than ten square … Read more

Why Was Nauru Known As Pleasant Island?

Nauru is an island in the Pacific, almost on the Equator. Its total area is about eight square miles, making Nauru the smallest completely independent republic in the world. Nauru also called itself the “richest republic on earth.” The tiny nation’s wealth came from the guano, or seabird manure, that covers the island. Guano is … Read more

Where Is The Largest Atoll In The World?

An atoll is a horseshoe-shaped or ring-shaped coral reef enclosing a lagoon. Atolls are formed by the skeletons of sea creatures called corals. These corals live in colonies, and their skeletons collect over the course of years to form a reef. Then sand collects on the reef, and vegetation eventually follows. The largest atoll in … Read more

Who Has The Shortest Alphabet In The World?

Bougainville is the largest island in the Solomons, a group of South Pacific islands North East of Australia. Some of the island natives use an alphabet of only 11 letters, the shortest alphabet on earth. This alphabet includes the same five vowels as our alphabet: a, e, i, o, and u. But there are only … Read more

Why Is July 12 So Special For Kiribati?

July 4 is a special day in the United States. But to the people of the new nation of Kiribati, July 12 will always be Independence Day. For on that date in 1979, Kiribati joined the community of nations. Kiribati consists Of about 35 small islands spread over some 2 million square miles of territory … Read more

Who Discovered The Waitomo Glowworm Caves In New Zealand?

Waitomo Cave, an underground cavern on New Zealand’s North Island, never sees daylight. But there’s plenty of “natural light” in this cave, produced by thousands of tiny glowing worms! Visitors to Waitomo Cave descend into a cavern 100 feet long and 50 feet wide. They then ride a boat along an underground river. All around … Read more

How Did New Zealand Get Its Name?

If New Zealand is “New,’ then where is “Old” Zealand? These large Pacific islands were sighted by a Dutch explorer in 1642. They were named after Zeeland, a region of the Netherlands along the North Sea. British explorer James Cook was the first to land in New Zealand in 1769 and the discovery of gold … Read more

What Kind Of Bird A Kiwi, And Why Can’t It Fly?

Like its neighbor Australia, New Zealand is a land with animals all its own, or, at least, birds of its own. Originally there were no mammals at all in New Zealand aside from two kinds of bats. There are no land snakes, either. But there are plenty of birds, more than 250 kinds that can … Read more

What Is The Largest Cattle Ranch In The World?

You might expect to find the world’s largest cattle ranch in Texas. But you would do better to look halfway around the world in Australia. A cattle ranch at Alexandria Station, in Australia’s Northern Territory, once covered some 7.2 million acres, or about 11,250 square miles, an area about the size of New Hampshire and … Read more

Which Country Has More Sheep Than People?

In Australia, it’s easier to find a sheep than another person. Australia had a sheep population of some 148 million in the 1980s. The human population was about 14.4 million, So there are about ten times as many sheep in Australia as there are people! Its not surprising, then, that Australia leads the world in … Read more

What Is The Most Arid Continent On Earth?

Australia is the most arid continent on earth. About two-thirds of Australia receives less than 20 inches of rain a year, and only 10 percent of the continent receives more than 40 inches. In parts of Australia, rainfall may total less than 5 inches a year! The “Australian Desert” is a name sometimes given to … Read more

What Town In Australia Is The Largest Town In The World?

Australia is a nation of big cities, at least in terms of area. Sydney, the most populous city in Australia, is also one of the largest cities on earth, covering about 670 square miles. By comparison, New York City has an area of 320 square miles, and Pittsburgh an area of just 56 square miles! … Read more

What Is the Biggest Rock In the World?

Ayers Rock, an immense rounded rock with a flat top, rises from a plain near the center of Australia. The rock is almost 2 miles long. It has a circumference of 5.5 miles and is 1,100 feet high. Ayers Rock contains gem-like minerals that reflect the sun, making the huge rock one of the most … Read more

Which Animals Besides The Platypus And Kangaroo Live In Australia And Nowhere Else In The World?

Long ago, animals could travel to and from Australia by way of a land bridge that connected the continent with other landmasses. Later this bridge was submerged by the ocean, and Australia’s animals were “stranded” on the continent. Animals in Australia then developed independently from the animals in the rest of the world. That’s why … Read more

Which Is the Widest Bridge in the World?

You probably can name some of the world’s longest bridges. But do you know where to find the world’s widest bridge? It’s the Sydney Harbor Bridge, in the Australian city of Sydney. This steel-arch bridge, built in 1932, has a total length of 3,770 feet and a span of 1,670 feet, making it one of … Read more

What Is The Largest Coral Reef In The World?

A coral is a small sea creature, related to jellyfish and sea anemones, that secretes a hard, stony substance to form its skeleton. The skeletons left behind by colonies of these creatures can eventually form islands or long ridges called coral reefs. One reef, or series of reefs, is so large that its more like … Read more

Which Part Of Australia Do Most Australians Live In?

Australia is the world’s sixth largest nation. Even so, fewer than 15 million people live in this vast country. The average population density of Australia is just 4.8 persons per square mile, one of the lowest on earth. Most Australians live in settlements that are far more crowded than the nation’s population density suggests. About … Read more

How Did Rabbits In Australia Become A Pest?

When European explorers first set foot on Australia, there wasn’t a single rabbit on that continent. Yet within two centuries, rabbits abounded in Australia to such an extent that Australia was the world’s number-one producer of rabbit pelts, and was desperately trying to stamp out the creatures. Rabbits were introduced in Australia around 1860. These … Read more

Why Did Someone Break Into A Prison In Geelong Australia?

In January, 1936, a prison in the Australian city of Geelong experienced a jailbreak of a most unusual kind. There have been many instances of convicts breaking out of jail. But on this occasion, someone broke in! During the night, the culprit sawed through a lock and then lowered himself down a rope 30 feet … Read more

Where Is The Longest Bar In The World?

The citizens of West Germany are the world’s greatest beer drinkers. But people in some parts of Australia drink more beer than any other people on earth, more than 60 gallons a year! So it makes sense that the world’s longest bar can be found in the Australian city of Mildura. The bar is 298 … Read more

What Is A Waterspout And When Was One A Mile High?

A waterspout is a tornado that occurs at sea. Sometimes a waterspout results from a tornado that begins on land and then moves over the sea. Sometimes a waterspout develops at sea. As in a tornado, the winds in a waterspout swirl in a funnel-shaped column. When the lower tip of this column reaches the … Read more

Which Is The Smallest Continent In The World And Which Country Is Also a Continent?

Australia’s name comes from the Latin word australis, “southern.” It was given this name because Australia is the only continent, besides Antarctica, that lies wholly in the Southern Hemisphere. Australia is also the world’s smallest continent. It has an area of almost 3 million square miles, only three-quarters the size of Europe. The continent of … Read more

Why Was Singapore Called The Lion City?

merlion lion city singapore

The nation of Singapore consists of one large island and a few smaller islets at the end of the Malay Peninsula. The large island is connected to the mainland of Malaysia by a causeway almost a mile long. The name of the nation, its largest city, and the island it lies on, Singapore, comes from … Read more

Where Is the Hollywood of the Pacific?

Japan and India make more films each Year than any other nations on earth, more than 500 each. France and Italy each make more than 200 films in an average year. But surprisingly enough, the fifth ranking nation in film-making is the Philippines! The Philippines might be called the “Hollywood of the Pacific”, as while … Read more

Where Are the World’s Widest Waterfalls?

Khone Falls, on the Mekong River in Laos, are no more than 70 feet high. So these falls can’t compare in height with most of the world’s well-known waterfalls. But Khone Falls are wider than any other waterfall on earth, 6.7 miles wide! The amount of water that flows over Khone Falls varies at different … Read more

What Is the Largest Religious Structure In the World?

Beginning in the ninth century, the Khmer people ruled a vast empire in Southeast Asia. The Hindu kings of the Khmers built their capital at Angkor, in the northern part of what is now the nation of Cambodia. Covering about 40 square miles, Angkor was a great city of palaces and temples. It had a … Read more

Why Does Bangkok Have The Longest Place Name In The World?

The city we call Bangkok, the capital and largest city of Thailand, is known as Krung Thep by the people who live there. Its official name is “Krung Thep Maha Nakhon”. But this, too, is a shortening of an older name, which consists of those two words and 10 others. Some believe that “Bangkok” derived … Read more

Who Is Kublai Khan And Why Did He Invade Burma?

Burma is almost exactly the same size as Texas. But while Texas has a population of less than 15 million, Burma is home to more than 33 million, making it the twenty-fifty most populated country on earth. Burma is in Southeast Asia. It shares borders with China, Laos, Thailand, India, and Bangladesh. The northern part … Read more

Why Is Burma The Worst Place In The World For Snakebites?

Each year, about 35,000 people around the world die from the bite of poisonous snakes. More than half of them are in India, but the nation that suffers most from poisonous snakes is Burma. Out of a population of 3.3 million, about 5,000 people in Burma die from snakebite each year. That’s an average of … Read more

Why Are Black Cats Lucky In Japan?

In the United States and many other countries, a person would never wear white clothes to a funeral. Black is our color of mourning. But in Japan, black clothes would be out of place at a funeral, the Japanese color of mourning is white! Many Americans and Europeans think that black cats are unlucky. But … Read more

Where Is Mount Aso And Is It The Largest Volcanic Crater On Earth?

Mount Aso is a 5,223-foot peak on the island of Kyushu, Japan. The mountain was once a volcano, but it’s now a caldera, a crater formed when the cone of a volcanic mountain collapses. The caldera of Mount Aso is the largest volcanic Crater on earth, measuring more than 17 miles across. Its total circumference … Read more

What’s At The Top Of The Highest Mountain In Japan?

In Japanese, Fujiyama means “never-dying mountain.” Mount Fuji is the Highest Mountain In Japan. The peak of Mount Fuji, about 50 miles from Tokyo, is also sometimes known as the “most beautiful mountain on earth”. This volcanic peak rises 12,390 feet in the shape of a nearly perfect cone. It towers over a fertile plain, … Read more

Which Country Makes The Most Pianos?

The piano was invented in Italy in the eighteenth century. For many years afterward, almost all pianos were produced in Europe, especially in France, Germany, and England. America began manufacturing pianos even before the Revolutionary War. By 1909, the United States was producing about 360,000 pianos a year. But what nation is today the leader … Read more

What Do the Japanese Give Sick Friends Instead Of Flowers?

In America, it’s a custom to bring flowers to a sick person. But in Japan, a person would never bring cut flowers when visiting a sick friend. In the Japanese view, cut flowers are already dead, since they have been cut off from their roots and will soon wither. It would be bad luck, then, … Read more

Why is The Comic Opera The Mikado Not From Japan?

The English playwrights Gilbert and Sullivan wrote a musical about the emperor of Japan called the Mikado. Most people think that the Mikado was the name of the Japanese emperor. The Mikado was actually the name of a door! In medieval times, the Japanese were not allowed to say the name of their emperor. Saying … Read more

Was Karate Invented In Japan?

Karate, the art of self-defense employing chopping blows with the side of the hand, is a Japanese invention right? Actually, karate was not invented by the Japanese. It was invented by the people of Okinawa, as a means of defense against the Japanese! Okinawa, an island about 350 miles from the coast of Japan, has … Read more

Which Numbers Are Unlucky in Japan?

In America and Europe, many people consider 13 an unlucky number. The reason for the superstition is open to question. In Japan, the numbers 19, 33, and 42 are considered unlucky. The reasons for these superstitions aren’t so unclear. The Japanese word for the number 19 sounds much like the word for “bad luck”. The … Read more

What Is The Most Homogeneous Country In The World?

Homogeneous comes from the Creek words homo, which means “same” or “equal”, and genus, which means “race”. In regard to population, the word homogeneous means of the same race or of common descent. Of all the countries on earth, the nation with the most homogeneous population is Korea. Both North Korea and South Korea have … Read more

Which Country Has The Largest Army In The World?

The largest armies on earth are those of the former Soviet Union, China, and the United States. Do you know what nation has the fourth largest army? It’s India, with about 1.3 million people in its armed forces. Since 1948, Korea has been divided into two countries, North Korea and South Korea. Both nations have … Read more

How Is Terrace Farming Used To Build Farms on Hills?

Taiwan is an island of about 13,800 square miles, lying about 90 miles off the coast of China. For many years, the island was called Formosa by Europeans, a name that means “beautiful” in Portuguese. Its name in Chinese has long been Taiwan, which means “terraced bay.” Taiwan gets its name from a kind of … Read more

Are The Altai and The Tien Shan Home Of The Yeti?

The Altai and the Tien Shan are mountain ranges in the area where Mongolia, China, and the Soviet Union meet. Few people live in this region today, and there are parts of the mountains that have never been seen by more than a handful of explorers. However, if some reports are true, this region may … Read more

Which Is the Coldest Capital City In The World?

Of all the capital cities on earth, which would you guess to be the coldest? Helsinki, Finland, might be a good guess. The average low temperature there in February is just 15 degrees. Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union, would be a better guess, for the low temperature there in January averages just 9 … Read more

Which Is the Least Crowded Country on Earth?

Mongolia is the 18th largest nation on earth, with an area almost four times the size of California. But the population of this vast nation was just 1.6 million in the 1980s, less than a quarter of the population of California’s largest metropolitan area! There are only 2.6 persons on the average square mile of … Read more

Why Is The Potala In Tibet Called The Palace of the Gods?

Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, was long known as the “Forbidden City”. Not only is it sealed off from the world by the towering Himalaya Mountains, but it was closed by law to foreigners until 1890. This was because Lhasa was the sacred city of Tibetan Buddhists, and it was the home of their leader, … Read more

What Color Is the Yellow River In China?

Hwang Ho means “Yellow River” in Chinese, and we usually call the river by that name. The river deserves its name, too. Part of the Hwang Flo flows through a region of loess, or yellow earth, and this loess is carried downstream by the river in the form of silt and sand. So much of … Read more

Who Invented Spaghetti, The Italians Or The Chinese?

When you think of agriculture in China, you probably think of rice. China is indeed the world’s number-one producer of rice, accounting for about 37 percent of the world crop. But rice is the principal crop only in the southern part of China. In the cooler north, wheat is the main crop, just as it … Read more

Which Chinese Emperor Burned All the Books in China?

Chin Shih Huang-ti was one of the most important rulers in the history of China. He did much to unify that nation, and he ordered the construction of the Great Wall. But Chin is as much remembered for what he destroyed as for what he built. Many Chinese scholars opposed Chin, so the emperor ordered … Read more

Who Invented Dominoes And How Old Is the Game of Dominoes?

Dominoes are rectangular blocks with clots on their faces. They are used to play a number of games. Dominoes first appeared in Europe in the 18th century, in Italy and France, and they were brought to England by French prisoners. But dominoes have been used in China for almost as long as playing cards. Chinese … Read more

What Did The Boxer Rebellion In China Have to Do with Boxing?

During the later part of the 19th century, a number of foreign nations controlled parts of China. Because of this, there was widespread unrest among the people of China. In 1900, a group of Chinese set out to rid China of all foreigners. They attacked foreign churches, schools, and settlements. This group was known as … Read more

What Country Is The Farthest In The World From The Ocean?

The farthest country from any sea or ocean is Kyrgyzstan. If you like the open seas, then the last place on earth you would like to visit would be Xinjiang, a province of China that used to be called Sinkiang. One place in the desert region of northern Xinjiang is second farthest from the sea … Read more

Which Fabrics Are Named After Cities?

What do muslin, cashmere, denim, damask, calico, suede, and satin have in common aside from the fact that all are kinds of fabric? They were all named after places! The cotton cloth called muslin was named after the city of Mosul, Iraq, where it was made. Cashmere is named after the region of India called … Read more

Were You Born in the Year of the Dog?

When we say that the year is 1985, we mean that the year is the 1,985th since the supposed date of Christ’s birth. But the Chinese date their calendar from legendary events in the twenty-seventh century B.C. To the Chinese, our year 1981 was the year 4679! The Chinese have not only numbers for their … Read more

How Many People Live in China?

Do you know how large a number 1 billion is It’s equal to 1,000 million! If you were to count one number every second, without stopping to sleep or do anything else, it would take you 32 years to count to 1 billion. Now you have an idea of how many people live in China. … Read more