The BAM railway (...-Amur Mainline) in remote Russia is named for the Amur river and what other geographic feature?
Traversing Eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East, the 4,324 km long BAM runs about 610 to 770 km north of and parallel to the Trans-Siberian railway. It was built as a strategic alternative route to the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Which New World city was founded in 1718 when French colonizer Bienville thought he discovered a site on a river bend that he felt was safe from tidal surges and hurricanes? Boy, was he wrong!
Bienville was the governor of French Louisiana between 1701-43. The city became the capital of French Louisiana by 1723, during Bienville's 3rd term.
What is the largest religious denomination for any religion in the world?
It is is sometimes referred to as the orthodox version of the religion.
What is the missing word in this list? (the same name appears where the gaps are)
Ur, Kenorland, Proto(...)-Paleo(...), Columbia, Rodinia, Pannotia, ...
What are Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht that are of significance to a certain European city?
Main canals of Amsterdam
They were dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age and form concentric belts around the city.
Which country has 12% of the world's Muslim population but has not been allowed to join the Organisation of Islamic Conference, mainly due to the efforts of another country?
The OIC is an international organisation consisting of 57 member states.
Perhaps foreshadowing recent events in Ukraine, over what region of the Southern Caucasus did Russia and Georgia go to war in 2008?
In April 2014, which tiny nation became the first East Asian country to adopt Islamic sharia law?
Around 70 percent of people in Brunei are Malay Muslims, while the remainder are of Chinese or other ethnic descent.
The town of Shibam in the Middle-East is known for its tower brick homes all of which have a minimum height. What country is it located in?
Shibam, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, owes its fame to its distinct architecture.The houses of Shibam are all made out of mud brick and about 500 of them are tower houses, which rise 5 to 11 stories high, with each floor having one or two rooms. This architectural style was used in order to protect residents from Bedouin attacks.
Four cities are traditionally called the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. One of them is obviously Beijing. Name one of the other three.
Nanjing, Luoyang, and Changan (Xian)
In the world of geography, Scotland's Corryvreckan and Japan's Naruto are two of the noted ones and Old Sow is the largest of all in the Western Hemisphere. What are they?
All the below are proposed as the possible origin for what?
1. From what the girls of a brothel madam named Eve were called.
2. From writer John Fitzgerald referring to a city's races as "Around" this.
3. From the 1920s Jazz musicians began using this name adopting an old saying in show business that goes "There are many ___s on the tree, but only one ___ ___."
New York being called the Big Apple
The hypothetical Jireček Line divides what region of the world, now a byword for fragmentation, into Latin influenced and Greek influenced regions?
It was originally used by the Czech historian Konstantin Jireček in 1911 in a history of the Slavic people.
Double-eaved hipped roofs denote the highest ranking buildings in which complex where 24 emperors held court from the 15th century onward?
Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 720,000 m2 (7,800,000 sq ft).
Reputed railway timetables for Europe have been published in whose name since 1873? (hint: Notable awards bearing his name were given in the genre of travel writing from 1980 to 2004)
Except during World War II, the timetables has been in continuous publication since 1873.
After an episode of The Simpsons in which Bart is eaten by a boa aired in 2002, what soon-to-be-in-the-news city's tourism department threatened to sue Fox for defamation?
Geographer Martin Behaim made the oldest extant one of these and called it the Erdapfel, German for earth apple; it can now be seen in a Nuremberg museum. What is it?
It is considered to be the oldest surviving terrestrial globe. It is constructed of a laminated linen ball in two halves, reinforced with wood and overlaid with a map.
Rarotonga is the most-populated of the group of Pacific Islands named for which explorer?
The Cook Islands.
Not surprisingly, the name for what feature of geography means 'almost an island' in Latin?
From Latin: "paene-": almost + "īnsula": island.
The town of Alang in India is primarily known for being the place where what large objects are taken apart?
The shipyards at Alang recycle approximately half of all ships salvaged around the world.
Name of 2 of the 3 countries that are overlapped by the Afar triangle that has several important sites for those interested in early human studies.
Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti
UNESCO's World Heritage List originated in the effort to preserve historic sites that were being affected by the construction of what structure in the 1950s?
22 monuments and architectural complexes, including the Abu Simbel temples, that were threatened by flooding from Lake Nasser were preserved by moving them to the shores of Lake Nasser under the UNESCO Nubia Campaign. UNESCO then initiated, with the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a draft convention to protect the common cultural heritage of humanity.
The fictional Radiator Springs in Pixar's hit Cars is said to be based on several places the crew visited along what iconic American road?
The volcanic island of Surtsey that started forming in the 1960s attracting worldwide scientific attention is nearest to what country?
It was intensively studied by volcanologists during its eruption, and afterwards by botanists and biologists as life forms gradually colonised the originally barren island.
Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia is adjacent with what other park that is also named for a famed attraction?
The word means 'The Smoke Which Thunders.'
Going-to-the-Sun Road is a prominent pathway in an American national park named for what geographical feature?
Glacier National Park in Montana.
Tafilalt in Morocco, Chebika in Tunisia and Huacachina in Peru are some of what? You are sure to quench your thirst at these locales!
Aokigahara forest in Japan is noted as a place where many people go for what purpose?
Due to the wind-blocking density of the trees and an absence of wildlife, the forest is known for being exceptionally quiet.
If Sahel refers to the strip of land in Africa to the south of Sahara, Sahul refers to the landmass in Pleistocene era that is now primarily what area?
Australia including New Guinea and Tasmania
A custom known as the kula exchange or kula ring where great risks are taken to exchange gifts is prevalent in what part of the world?
Papua New Guinea
It was made famous by the father of modern Anthropology, Bronislaw Malinowski, who used this test case to argue for the universality of rational decision making.
The symbol Taegeuk that means/indicates polarity and which is similar to yin/yang can be prominently seen on what insignia?
Center of the South Korean flag
Because of the Taegeuk's association with the national flag, it is often used as a patriotic symbol, as are the colors red, blue, and black.
Any quizzer worth his salt knows that the major part of the Yucatan peninsula is Mexico. What are the other two countries that also occupy a small part of it?
Guatemala and Belize
A mine in the town of Wieliczka in southern Poland that attracts millions of visitors is known for having produced what for centuries?
It was built in the 13th century and produced table salt continuously until 2007.
St. Pauli in Hamburg, Soi Cowboy in Bangkok, De Wallen in Amsterdam and Sonagachi in Kolkata, all of which I've only read about and never visited, are famous as what?
There are many theories for the origin of the term and according to the OED, the first usage was in 1894.
Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand are the three vertices of a hypothetical triangle used to designate what geographic region/area?
The term was first used in 1756 by French writer Charles de Brosses, and originally applied to all the islands of the Pacific.
The Semperoper is the opera house of what European city? (hint: Slaughterhouse-Five)
The hint is a reference to Kurt Vonnegut's novel in which the firebombing of Dresden is the central event.
What city landmark in the western hemisphere gets its name from its resemblance to the traditional form of a sweet substance before its granulated and cube varieties were introduced?
Sugarloaf mountain in Rio
A sugarloaf was a tall cone with a rounded top and was the end-product of a process that saw the dark molasses-rich raw sugar refined into white sugar. It was also the sign of a grocer.
What waterway of South America that has the name of a robust wine is the largest tributary of Amazon?
It is approximately 3,250 km (2,020 mi) long.
The Siachen glacier sometimes called the world's highest battlefield is the site of skirmishes between what two countries?
India and Pakistan
It is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas and is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second-longest in the world's non-polar areas. More soldiers have died in Siachen from harsh weather conditions than from combat
The Semien Mountains whose highest peak is Ras Dashen lie in what African country?
One way to get at the answer: Ras = Rastafarian = Haile Selassie = Ethiopia.
The Galata bridge spans what water body that is part of the Bosphorous strait and that has been a subject of numerous works of art?
It is an inlet of the Bosphorus dividing the city of Istanbul and forming the natural harbor that has sheltered Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other ships for thousands of years. It has witnessed many tumultuous historical incidents, and its dramatic vistas have been the subject of countless works of art.
What is the only U.S. state flag to feature the Union Jack?
It was under the influence of the British Empire during the 19th century.
In the list of countries that border only one other country, there are 2 pairs that border each other. One of them is United Kingdom and Ireland, what is the other pair?
Haiti and Dominican Republic
On the island of Hispaniola. The fact that the countries border only each other is a strong pointer to an island.
What country has the greatest proportion of Hindus in its population with 80.6% (hint: not India)?
Followed by India and Mauritius.
After Russia, what European country has the most land borders with other countries?
Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands
The northern component of what enchanting geographic term is accepted as the Rock of Gibraltar but the southern component disputed and at various times claimed as Monte Hacho (in Ceuta) or Jebel Musa (in Morocco)?
Pillars of Hercules
It was the phrase that was applied in Antiquity to the promontories that flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar.
Name 2 of the 3 countries that had the most victims due to the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India
According to the U.S. Geological Survey a total of 227,898 people died.
A set of traditional laws called Kanun influence life in what mountainous European country?
In some parts of the country, the Kanun resembles the Italian vendetta.
What are the only two countries that border both the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea?
Egypt and Israel
The Muslim observance of Arba'een attracts millions of visitors annually to what Iraqi city?
It commemorates the martyrdom of Hussein bin Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. It is one of the largest pilgrimage gatherings on Earth, in which over 15 million people go to the city of Karbala in Iraq. Observance of Arba'een in Karbala was banned for many years when Saddam Hussein, was president of Iraq.
What is the missing name? (consider commonly accepted boundaries of continents)
Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, ___ ___, Seychelles, Maldives and Nauru
Vatican City (smallest countries of continents)
Caribbean countries are usually considered part of North America and South Pacific island countries part of Oceania.
Aguada, Varca, Vagator, Colva, Calangute, and Anjuna are some of the beaches in what state of India known for its Portuguese influence and for its spicy vindaloo?
It is India's smallest as well as the richest state. Goa is a former Portuguese colony, the Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years until it was annexed by India in 1961.
Geographic features called rilles that come in sinuous, arcuate and straight types are a prominent part of the landscape where?
They are used to describe any of the long, narrow depressions in the lunar surface that resemble channels. Typically a rille can be up to several kilometers wide and hundreds of kilometers in length.
After USA, what is the largest country in the world named after a person?
Named after Muhammad bin Saud (d. 1765), considered the founder of the First Saudi State and the Saud dynasty.
Who is the 14th century man who is said to be the most traveled human being until the industrial age and whose adventures are chronicled in Rihla (Arabic for 'Journey')?
Ibn Battuta (1304-1368 or 1369)
He was a Muslim Moroccan explorer who journeyed more than 75,000 miles (121,000 km), a distance surpassing threefold his near-contemporary Marco Polo. Over a period of thirty years, he visited most of the known Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands.
What is the word for an urban slum/shantytown in Brazil, an example of which is Rocinha of Rio that is shown in several movies?
The Darién Gap which may preempt many motoring adventures is a break in what road network?
Except for an 159 kilometers (99 mi) rain-forest break, called the Darién Gap, the road links the mainland nations of the Americas in a connected highway system. According to Guinness World Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world's longest motorable road. However, because of the Darién Gap, it is not possible to cross between South America and Central America by traditional motor vehicle.
Fans of the band The Clash should know that what word meaning 'citadel' in Arabic refers to any walled enclosure but is mostly used for a specific area of Algiers?
The Casbah played a central role during the Algerian struggle for independence (1954-1962). In 1982 The Clash released the single "Rock the Casbah" about Iran's outlawing of music.
Petaloudes Valley, whose name translates to Valley of the Butterflies in Greek is a tourist attraction of what 'wondrous' Dodecanese island?
The valley is home to thousands of the Rhodes subspecies of the Jersey Tiger Moth that cover the entire landscape after the wet season (late May) due to the high humidity in the area. Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population. Historically, Rhodes was famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The historic Charles Bridge that crosses the Vlatava river connects which city's castle to its old town?
Its construction started in 1357 under King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava (Moldau) until 1841, it was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city's Old Town and adjacent areas. This connection made Prague important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe.
The Hiram Bingham luxury train has what magnificent location as its destination?
It runs from Cusco to Machu Picchu in Peru and was named after the explorer who told the world about the site in 1911.
The 2000-yr old Banaue rice terraces built largely by hand in the Ifugao mountains that cover 4000 square miles are in which country?
It is commonly thought that the terraces were built with minimal equipment, largely by hand. They are fed by an ancient irrigation system from the rain-forests above the terraces.
Of the twenty two members of the Arab league, only three maintain diplomatic relations with Israel. They are Egypt, Palestine and what other country?
A rock called Heel Stone that measures 16 feet above the ground and whose previous names include Friar's Heel and Sun-stone lies outside the main entrance to what monument?
Tourists to the town of Oświęcim in Poland are most likely headed to see what?
Auschwitz had for a long time been a German name for Oświęcim, the town by and around which the camps were located; the name was made the official name again by the Germans after they invaded Poland in September 1939.
What is the name of the 212-foot Ferris wheel in Vienna that appears in a key scene in The Third Man and in several other movies?
Riesenrad or Wiener Riesenrad
It is also featured in the 1987 James Bond film The Living Daylights and Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, among several other movies.
What is the only national capital in the title of any Shakespearean play?
Athens (Timon of Athens)
The other plays with place names in their titles are The Merchant of Venice, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 'Pericles, Prince of Tyre' and The Merry Wives of Windsor.
When the pioneering English settler John Smith explored the coastline of the region north of Virginia in 1614, what did he call the area?
It consists of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. New England is the only one of the United States Census Bureau's nine regional divisions whose name does not derive from its geography, and it is the only multi-state region with clear, consistent boundaries.
If all the languages of the world are listed by the highest number of speakers, what is the first name that is not an official language of the UN?
According to a 2009 press release from its Ministry of External Affairs, the government of India has been "working actively" to have Hindi recognized as an official language of the UN. In 2007, it was reported that the government would "make immediate diplomatic moves to see the status of an official language for Hindi at the United Nations." However, there has been opposition to this from southern India, where Hindi is not widely spoken.
The Sherlock Holmes Society in London is known to arrange tours to the scenes of the detective's adventures. Notable on the itinerary is what Alpine location near the town of Meiringen in Switzerland where an enactment of a fight is usually staged?
Reichenbach Falls, site of Holmes' final fight with Moriarty
The town also contains a museum dedicated to Holmes.
What is the world's smallest land-locked country?
The world's smallest country also happens to be land-locked.
The ships Nimrod in 1908 and Fram in 1910 sailed (under different captains) for what particular objective?
Find the South Pole
On those particular voyages, they were captained by Ernest Shackleton and Roald Amundsen respectively.
In the list of 25 countries ordered by the highest number of Spanish speakers, what is the only name that is not from the western hemisphere?
The list starts off with Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Argentina and the United States.
What is the longest country in the world as measured in the north-south direction?
It is 4,300 kilometres (2,700 mi) long and on average 175 kilometres (109 mi) wide.
The order of what you see below might be disputed but there is no ambiguity about the answer. What comes next?
Iberia, Scandinavia, Labrador, Alaska, Southern India, ___
Arabia (largest peninsulas of the world)
The American embassy in which city is the largest and most expensive of any embassy in the world?
It opened in January 2009 and at 440,000 square meters it is nearly as large as Vatican City.
An urban legend about the similarity in the flags of Bahrain and what other country says that the red color of Bahrain weathered in the sun into the maroon of the other?
The distinctive Qatari flag emerged in the 1930s (official adoption of the maroon color came about 1949). Bahrain's flag as we know it now was formally adopted in 1932 and the Qatari differences in size and color seem to be largely an effort to make the Qatar flag different from the Bahraini banner.
What region in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is the site of China's nuclear weapons tests?
Until 1996, 45 nuclear tests were conducted here.
Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe and Machame are the six official trekking routes for what 'uplifting' activity?
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
Clue: An important city in world history. Fill in the missing three blanks with the name of religions.
Armenian, ___, ___, ___
Christian, Jewish and Muslim (the four quarters of Jerusalem)
In 1538, Jerusalem's walls were built around Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent. Today those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into four quarters. The Old City became a World Heritage site in 1981.
The Propylaea, which has now come to mean any gateway, was originally an entrance to what magnificent ancient construction?
Acropolis in Athens
The ancient poetess Sappho who wrote emotional verses with other females as subjects was born on what Greek island?
One meaning of the word lesbian derives from her poems.
What city that is home to Africa's tallest building (the Carlton Centre) is the largest city in the world not on a lake, navigable river or by the coast?
The city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills.
A record sure to please its friends and countrymen, what country is home to the most number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites?
Italy (with 47 sites)
As of 2011, 936 sites are listed.
What is the largest island in the world that is named after a person?
Baffin Island (named after William Baffin)
It is the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest island in the world. The first four largest are Greenland, New Guinea, Borneo and Madagascar.
The name of what able-bodied ethnic group from the mountain regions of Nepal means 'people of the east' in Tibetan?
Today, the term is often used casually - and incorrectly - by foreigners to refer to almost any guide or porter hired for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas. Sherpas are renowned in the international climbing and mountaineering community for their hardiness, expertise, and experience at high altitudes.
What region of China that has a border checkpoint called Posto Fronteiriço das Portas do Cerco ('Frontier Post of the Border Gate' in Portuguese) is both the first and last European colony in that country?
Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century and subsequently administered the region until the handover on 20 December 1999. The Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law of Macau stipulate that Macau operates with a high degree of autonomy until at least 2049, fifty years after the transfer.
What is the official language of 26 countries of the world, the third most after English and French?
Modern Standard Arabic (based on the language of the Qur'an)
The written language is distinct from and more conservative than all of the spoken varieties and some of the spoken varieties are mutually unintelligible.
The visa that makes travel easy within twenty-six countries of Europe takes its name from an agreement signed in 1985 in what city of Luxembourg?
The Schengen Area operates like a single state for international travel with border controls for those travelling in and out of the area, but with no internal border controls.
What Bolivian city lies beneath a mountain dubbed the Cerro Rico ('rich mountain') named so for its famed mines that were a major source of silver for the Spanish Empire of the New World?
Founded in 1546 as a mining town, it soon produced fabulous wealth, becoming one of the largest cities in the Americas and the world, with a population exceeding 200,000 people.
Mashair Railway that opened in 2010 connecting the sites of Mina, Muzdalifah and Mount Arafat serves the visitors of what city?
A series of ritual acts that must be performed in the Hajj like the Stoning of the Devil take place at these sites.
What was the longest river system in the world with no bridges until 2010 when a bridge was opened over Rio Negro, one of its tributaries?
Since the bulk of the river flows through tropical rainforest, where there are few roads or cities, there is little need for for crossings. The Amazon is also currently undammed but it may change if the Belo Monte dam is constructed.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is contiguous with what famed national park of Tanzania?
It is most famous for its annual migration of over one and a half million wildebeest and 250,000 zebra.
In 2007, an initiative called New7Wonders of Nature created a list of seven natural wonders that were chosen via a poll. The winners were Amazonia, Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island (South Korea), Puerto Princesa Underground River (Philippines), Table Mountain (South Africa) and what Indonesian island known for a very unique form of wildlife?
Komodo Island (known for its dragon, of course)
The island has a surface area of 390 km² and over 2000 inhabitants.
What second-most populous nation in Africa is also the most populous landlocked nation in the world?
The Wagah border often called the 'Berlin wall of Asia' is the only road border crossing between what two countries?
India and Pakistan
Wagah itself is a village through which the controversial Radcliffe Line was drawn. The village was divided by independence in 1947. Today, the eastern half of the village remains in the Republic of India while the western half is in Pakistan.
What 3-word phrase used to denote unexplored territories derives from the medieval practice of putting sea serpents in uncharted areas of maps?
"here be dragons"
Which city's site was said to have been chosen by monks following the principles of feng shui for King Taejo, founder of the Joseon/Choson dynasty in 1394?
Joseon dynasty ruled Korea for five centuries and left a substantial legacy on the modern face of Korea.
What word for a Portuguese speaker comes from the name of an ancient Roman province that stretched over the Iberian peninsula?
Lusophone (from Lusitania)
Lusophone countries include Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macau.
The design of what magnificent 12th century complex, the largest of its kind in the world, represents the home of the Gods in Hindu mythology?
It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors. The design represents Mount Meru.
The script of Thuluth, a variety of Islamic calligraphy, is seen on the flag of what country?
The text on the flag is the shahada or Islamic declaration of faith that translates as "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah."
What NATO country with a unique geographic position is the only one with no standing army? No navy either!
It is a founding member of NATO and joined on the condition that it would not be expected to establish an army.
The great medieval cartographer Mercator (1512-1594) had the practice of prefacing his map collections with what picture?
Atlas, the Greek god
He is remembered for the Mercator projection world map, which is named after him. This proved very useful to many later navigators who could (using his map) sail across the entire ocean on a straight path (called a rhumb line).
Because of changes in the political geography of Africa in 2011, what is now the largest country in that continent?
Followed by Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.
Nearly ¾ of the Amazon rain-forest is in Brazil (60%) and what other country?
The forest region includes territory belonging to nine nations with minor amounts in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and France (French Guiana).
The Kagera river that became known for carrying bodies from the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 is the largest single inflow into what body of water?
During the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, the Kagera was used to dispose of corpses as thousands of Tutsis and Hutu political moderates were murdered on the river banks. The river brought the massacred bodies into Lake Victoria, creating a serious health hazard in Uganda.
Cape Churchill in Wapusk National Park, Canada is renowned as the best location in the world to view what?
The name Wapusk itself comes from the Cree word for polar bear.
If Westminster Abbey is to British monarchs and Reims is to French monarchs, which city is to the kings of Germany?
Aachen (the place of coronation)
For 600 years, from 936 to 1531, Aachen Cathedral was the church of coronation for 30 German kings and 12 queens.
What other name completes this unique list of Italian bridges?
___, Ponte degli Scalzi, Ponte dell'Accademia, Ponte della Costituzione
Rialto (in Venice)
Because most of the city's traffic goes along the Grand Canal rather than across it, only the Rialto crossed the canal until the 19th century.
What famed attraction was created in the 1840s with the developer telling the king of Denmark "when the people are amusing themselves, they do not think about politics"?
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen
Tivoli is currently the most visited theme park in Scandinavia and the 3rd most visited in Europe.
In the list of current UN member states, what are the only 3 countries whose names start with a unique letter i.e., no other country's name starts with the same letter? (hint: all three are in the Middle-East)
Oman, Qatar and Yemen
Which South Pacific nation that used to market itself as the last place to see the sun set adjusted its clocks and jumped forward by one day in 2011 (omitting Dec 30) and has now become the first country to greet the new day?
This move is anticipated to help the nation boost its economy by doing business with Australia and New Zealand. Before this change, Samoa was 21 hours behind Sydney, but the change means they are now three hours ahead. Meanwhile, American Samoa will become the last place on Earth to see the sun set.
The economic grouping acronym BRIC that referred to Brazil, Russia, India and China was changed to BRICS in 2011 to include what country?
With an average ground level of 1.5 meters above sea level, what Asian island nation is the lowest country in the world? (hint: it is also the smallest Asian country in both population and land area)
It is also the country with the lowest highest point in the world, at 2.3 meters and rising sea levels are a great concern for the Maldives.
Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park that was once judged the world's top travel destination is in which country?
It is acclaimed as New Zealand's most famous tourist destination.
On what festive day did the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen discover the remote Pacific island of Rapa Nui in 1722?
Easter (and thus the name Easter Island)
Easter Island is claimed to be "the most remote inhabited island in the world."
Mohenjo-daro and Harappa in present-day Pakistan were the most important city settlements of a Bronze Age civilization that is named after what major geographic feature?
The total length of the river is 3,180 kilometers (1,976 miles) and it is Pakistan's longest river.
Kilometre zero that marks the starting point for distances measured on French highways is on a square facing the entrance of what landmark? (hint: perhaps people need to pray before driving)
Notre Dame cathedral
Among hundreds of animal paintings, the only figure of a human being appears in an engraving called Shaft of the Dead Man at what World Heritage location?
The Paleolithic paintings are estimated to be 17,300 years old.
What wild American feature begins at Springer Mountain in Georgia and ends at Katahdin in Maine for a total distance of 2,175 miles?
It is famous for its many hikers, some of whom, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single season. Many books, memoirs, web sites and fan organizations are dedicated to this pursuit.
Francophonie is an international organization of 56 member states where there is a notable affiliation with the French language. What is the largest country in this group?
The prerequisite for admission to the Francophonie is not the degree of French usage in the member countries, but a prevalent presence of French culture and language in the member country's identity, usually stemming from France's colonial ambitions with other nations in its history.
The artificial Gatun Lake that was created between 1907 and 1913 forms a major component of what water body?
The lake is important as a reservoir of water for the operation of the canal locks. Each time a ship transits the canal 53,400,000 gallons of water is passed from the lake into the sea; with over 14,000 vessel transits per year, this represents a very large demand for water. Since rainfall is seasonal in Panama, the lake acts as a water store, allowing the canal to continue operation through the dry season.
Tahrir Square, the scene of events that were the focus of international attention in 2011 is in which city?
It was the focal point of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution against former president Hosni Mubarak. After the Egyptian Revolution of 1919 the square became widely known as Tahrir (Liberation) Square, but the square was not officially renamed until the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which changed Egypt from a constitutional monarchy into a republic.
A funnel cloud is nothing but condensed water droplets associated with a rotating column of wind which extends from the base of a cloud without touching the ground. If it touches the ground, what is it called?
A funnel cloud that touches down on, or moves over water is a waterspout.
If the Staten Island Ferry is to New York, the Star Ferry that was originally called the Kowloon Ferry Company is to what city?
Primorsky Stairs, a stairway of 192 steps immortalized in film lore, is a formal entrance from the direction of the Black Sea into which European city?
The steps were made famous in Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 silent film The Battleship Potemkin; according to the fictionalized account in that film, soldiers opened fire on the people on the stairs on June 14, 1905. After the Soviet revolution, in 1955 the Primorsky Stairs were renamed Potemkin Stairs to honor the 50th anniversary of the Battleship Potemkin uprising. After Ukrainian independence, the Potemkin Stairs, like many streets in Odessa, were given back their original name, the Primorsky Stairs.
What is the collective name given to the hundreds of ancient ground drawings found in the namesake desert in Peru that range from simple lines to complex animal shapes?
They were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 CE. Due to the dry, windless and stable climate of the plateau and its isolation, for the most part the lines have been preserved.
Juba is the capital of what autonomous African region that became an independent country on 9th July, 2011?
A referendum on independence for Southern Sudan was held on 9-15 January 2011. Preliminary results released by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission on 30 January 2011 indicate that 98% of voters selected the "separation" option, with 1% selecting "unity."
What are the two missing names in the following list?
___ ___, Ajman, ___, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain
Abu Dhabi and Dubai (the emirates of The United Arab Emirates)
The capital and second-largest city is Abu Dhabi, which is also the country's center of political, industrial and cultural activities.
The plateau 'Cappadocia' with its spectacular landscapes, caves, and fairy chimneys is a popular tourist attraction of which country?
The name Cappadocia is from the Persian for "Land of Beautiful Horses."
What are the table-top mountains found in the Guiana Highlands of South America (especially Venezuela) that inspired Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World and also appear prominently in the landscapes of the Pixar hit Up?
Tepuis tend to be found as isolated entities rather than in connected ranges, which makes them the host of a unique array of endemic plant and animal species. They rise abruptly from the jungle, giving rise to spectacular natural scenery. Auyantepui is the source of Angel Falls, the world's tallest waterfall.
Which navigator is credited with popularizing the name of 'Australia' and has several Australian venues (including a famous sporting one) named for him?
Matthew Flinders (1774-1814)
In a career that spanned just over twenty years, he sailed with Captain William Bligh, circumnavigated Australia and encouraged the use of that name for the continent, which had previously been known as New Holland. Australia holds a large collection of statues erected in Flinders' honour, second only in number to statues of Queen Victoria.
What name used for the Western Hemisphere was coined by a Spanish scholar in a letter dated November 1st, 1492 in which he referred to Columbus' first voyage to America?
New World (novi orbis)
In Jan 2011, Sri Lanka decided to discard all references to what British colonial name of the country from its state institutions?
In ancient times, it was called by a variety of names - with Greek geographers calling it Taprobane and Arabs referring to it as Serendib. The Portuguese, the island's first European colonial rulers, called it Ceilao. Ceylon is a transliteration of Ceilao made by the British when they took over control of the island in 1815.
The novel as well as the movie Girl with a Pearl Earring based on painter Vermeer's work was set in which Dutch city also known for its pottery?
Which Greek mountain and World Heritage Site is home to several Eastern Orthodox monasteries into which no women have been allowed for a thousand years?
Though land-linked, Mount Athos is accessible only by boat. The daily number of visitors entering Mount Athos is restricted and all are required to obtain a special entrance permit valid for a limited period. Only males are allowed entrance into Mount Athos, which is called 'Garden of the Virgin' by monks, and Orthodox Christians take precedence in the permit issuance procedure. Only males over the age of 18 who are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church are allowed to live on Athos, either as monks or as workers.
If you have to name one Russian city for its association with Tatar culture, what would it be?
It is the sixth largest city of Russia as well as the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Which scale that is used for measuring the intensity of an earthquake (not Richter!) quantifies its effects on humans, objects of nature, and man-made structures on a scale of I through XII with XII denoting total destruction?
Mercalli intensity scale
The values will differ based on the distance to the earthquake, with the highest intensities being around the epicentral area. Data are gathered from individuals who have experienced the quake, and an intensity value will be given to their location.
Which Japanese island that has its capital at Sapporo is the traditional home of the Ainu people?
Located just 508 miles from the North Pole, Alert is said to be the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world. In which Canadian province/territory is it located?
Alert was reported to have five permanent inhabitants according to the 2006 census.
If the coastline paradox is ignored, which country in the world has the longest coastline?
What is the largest country through which the equator passes?
Which magnificent Tibetan landmark escaped damage during the Cultural Revolution of China in 1966 through the personal intervention of Zhou Enlai?
The Potala Palace was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994.
The Merlion, an imaginary creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, is used as the mascot of which tiny Asian island nation?
The fish body comes from Singapore's ancient name back when it was a fishing village - Temasek - meaning "sea town" in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore's original name - Singapura - meaning "lion city" or "kota singa."
Indonesia withdrew from OPEC in 2008 for what particular reason? (hint: what does OPEC stand for?)
It became a net importer of oil
As of 2010, OPEC is a cartel of twelve countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
According to UNESCO, which Ethiopian city is considered 'the fourth holy city' of Islam with 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines?
For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial centre, linked by the trade routes with the rest of Ethiopia, the entire Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and, through its ports, the outside world.
Which land-locked country has the most official languages in the world at 34 including Spanish, Aymara and Quechua?
The US think tank Fund For Peace comes out with a Failed States Index every year. Which country topped the list for a fourth consecutive year in 2011?
Common indicators include a state whose central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; sharp economic decline.
What are the only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia?
The Philippines and East Timor
Which tiny European nation claims itself to be the oldest recorded sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world?
The constitution of San Marino, enacted in 1600, is the world's oldest constitution still in effect.
Out of the ten most populous islands in the world, only 2 are outside Asia. Can you name them?
Great Britain (3rd) and Hispaniola (10th)
The most populous are Java (Indonesia) and Honshu (Japan).
Which icon that attracted more than 6 million visitors in 2006 is the single most visited paid monument in the world?
More than 200,000,000 people have visited the tower since its construction in 1889.
If water bodies were left out and only land area were considered, what is the second largest country in the world after Russia?
Landseer's Lions, a set of four sculptures of lions surround which London monument?
Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square
The Bridge of the Horns is a proposed construction project to build a bridge across the Bab-el-Mandeb, the strait between the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. What two countries will it connect?
Djibouti and Yemen
'Pha That Lung', a large gold-covered Buddhist stupa is regarded as the most important monument and national symbol in which landlocked Asian country?
Since its initial establishment suggested to be in the 3rd century, the stupa has undergone several reconstructions until the 1930s due to foreign invasions to the area.
Located in Micronesia and covering just 21 square kilometres, what is the world's smallest island nation?
Distributed across the three islands of Tutuila, Ofu-Olosega, and Ta‘ū, what is the only American national park located south of the equator?
National Park of American Samoa
Which French city is home to the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) where several popes and antipopes lived from the early 14th to early 15th centuries?
What is the only language that is historically African in origin among the six official working languages of the African Union?
The other five are Arabic, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Bordered on three sides by Senegal and with a small coast on the Atlantic Ocean in the west, what is the smallest country on mainland Africa?
Its borders roughly correspond to the path of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the country's center and empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
The largest impact over land in Earth's recent history, how is the explosion that occurred in 1908 near the namesake river in Siberia commonly known?
Although the cause of the explosion is the subject of debate, it is commonly believed to have been caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5-10 kilometers (3.1-6.2 mi) above the Earth's surface.
Located in northeast Caribbean, what is the smallest inhabited sea island that is divided between two nations?
The southern Dutch half comprises the Island Territory of St. Martin and is part of the Netherlands Antilles. The northern French half comprises the Collectivity of St. Martin and is an overseas collectivity of France. Collectively, the two territories are known as "St-Martin/St Maarten." Sometimes SXM, the IATA identifier for Princess Juliana International Airport (the island's main airport), is used to refer to the island.
Located on the Atlantic coast, what is the largest city of the Maghreb (the 5 countries constituting North Africa)?
It is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, while the political capital city of Morocco is Rabat.
The name of which South American region comes from a word used by Magellan to describe the native people whom his expedition thought to be giants?
Patagonia (from Patagon)
Though it was the dream of many historical rulers including Nero, the Corinth Canal was completed only in 1893. It separates the Greek mainland from which other landmass?
It saves the 400 kilometers long journey around the Peloponnesus for smaller ships, but since it is only 21 meters wide it is too narrow for modern ocean freighters. The Roman Emperor Nero (r. 54-68 A.D.) launched an excavation, personally breaking the ground with a pickaxe and removing the first basket-load of soil, but the project was abandoned when he died shortly afterwards.
During the apartheid era, what was the name for the territory set aside for black inhabitants of South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) of which ten were established?
The term was first used in the late 1940s, and was coined from 'Bantu' (meaning 'people' in some of the Bantu languages) and '-stan' (a suffix meaning 'land of' in Persian). The word 'bantustan', today, is often used in a pejorative sense when describing a country or region that lacks any real legitimacy or power, consists of several unconnected enclaves, and/or emerges from national or international gerrymandering.
Which prominent mountain has three volcanic cones called Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira?
It is in north-eastern Tanzania and is the highest peak in Africa at 5,895 metres.
A 'triskelion', a symbol consisting of three bent human legs is featured on the flag of which British crown dependency?
Isle of Man
The island is not part of the United Kingdom but foreign relations, defence, and ultimate good governance of the Isle of Man are the responsibility of the government of the United Kingdom.
The 19th century civic planner Baron Haussman is associated with the rebuilding of which city?
The Haussmann Renovations was a work commissioned by Napoléon III between 1852 and 1870, though work continued well after the Second Empire's demise in 1870. The project encompassed all aspects of urban planning, both in the center of Paris and in the surrounding districts: streets and boulevards, regulations imposed on facades of buildings, public parks, sewers and water works, city facilities and public monuments.
The Lake Mungo remains consisting of two fossils known as Mungo Lady and Mungo Man are located in the World Heritage listed Willandra Lakes Region of which country?
With a total drop of 948 meters (3,110 feet) in five free-leaping falls, Tugela Falls is the world's second highest waterfall. They are located in the Drakensberg (Dragon's Mountains) range in which country?
Which Spanish city, now home to a great mosque was probably the most populated city in Europe and perhaps in the world in the later half of the 10th century?
Today a moderately-sized modern city, the old town contains many impressive architectural reminders of when it was the thriving capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba, and when it governed almost all of the Iberian peninsula.
Taking its name from a Manchu word meaning 'the boundary between two countries', the Yalu river forms the border between what two countries?
China and North Korea
When combined with its headstreams the 'Peace' and the 'Finlay', what becomes the second longest river in North America at 4,241 kilometres (2,635 mi)?
It originates in Great Slave Lake, in the Northwest Territories, and flows north into the Arctic Ocean. It is the longest river in Canada at 1,738 kilometres (1,080 mi).
Which geographic term's etymology comes from the Latin for 'midday' as the sun crosses a given one midway between the times of sunrise and sunset?
The same Latin stem gives rise to the terms A.M. (Ante Meridian) and P.M. (Post Meridian) used to disambiguate hours of the day when using the 12-hour clock.
The Sigsbee Deep, named for the captain of the USS Maine which exploded in the harbor of Havana in 1898 is the deepest part of which body of water?
Gulf of Mexico
The Sigsbee Deep is a trough that extends more than 300 miles and is often called the "Grand Canyon under the sea."Its closest point to the American coast is 200 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas.
Which country has the longest coastline in Africa?
Which Chilean city whose name comes from the Spanish for 'sandy point' is sometimes considered the southernmost city in the world?
It is the most prominent settlement on the Strait of Magellan.
Which South Pacific territory named for its shores' similarities to the Scottish coastline will hold a referendum on independence from France between 2014 and 2019?
It is located in the region of Melanesia in the southwest Pacific. It comprises a main island (Grande Terre), the Loyalty Islands, and several smaller islands. It is approximately half the size of Taiwan and the capital and largest city of the territory is Nouméa.
Based on a 1995 realignment of the International Date Line, which Oceanic country with it's capital at South Tarawa is now the easternmost country in the world?
It is also the only country in the world through which both the Equator and the International Date Line passes.
If you love resorts, you must have been to the Côte d'Azur. How do we know it better in English?
It is the Mediterranean coastline of the south eastern corner of France, extending from Menton near the Italian border in the east to either Hyères or Cassis in the west. ts largest city is Nice, which is home to Nice Côte d'Azur Airport, France's second-busiest airport (after Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport).
Which major German seaport on the Baltic sea was for several centuries the capital of the Hanseatic League and was also known as 'Queen of the Hanse'?
Which country is separated into two parts by the town of Limbang of Malaysia?
The flag of which country prominently features 'The Eagle of Saladin' holding a scroll bearing the name of the country in Arabic?
The eagle as a symbol of Saladin is disputed by archeologists.
McMurdo Station can support only 1258 residents but is still considered as the largest community in what part of the world?
Located on the southern tip of Ross Island on the shore of McMurdo Sound, 2,200 miles (3,500 km) due south of New Zealand, it is operated by the United States through the United States Antarctic Program, a branch of the National Science Foundation. It is also featured in many popular sci-fi novels and movies.
What is the name of the famous rock on the bank of the Rhine near St. Goarshausen, Germany that soars 120 meters above the water line and appears in several tales of German folklore?
Loreley or Lorelei
The name comes from the old German words "lureln" (Rhine dialect for "murmuring") and the Celtic term "ley" (rock). Loreley is also the name of one of the beautiful Rhine Maidens who lured navigators of this river to their dooms with their alluring singing, much as the ancient Greek Sirens did.
What is the largest and most populous country in the world situated only on islands?
Comprising 17,508 islands, it is the world's largest archipelagic state.
Due to its location in a time zone to the east of Europe, which French island in the Indian Ocean was the first region in the world where the euro became legal tender?
It is located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about 200 km (130 miles) south west of Mauritius, the nearest island. Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas départements of France.
Which coast off the Atlantic Ocean of Namibia and Angola is named for the bleached whale and seal bones which covered the shore during the days of the whaling industry as well as for the shipwrecks caused by rocks?
More than a thousand vessels of various sizes and areas litter the coast. The Bushmen of the Namibian interior called the region "The Land God Made in Anger", while Portuguese sailors once referred to it as "The Gates of Hell."
Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America is on which archipelago that translates as 'land of fire' in Spanish?
Tierra del Fuego
It is separated from the southernmost tip of the South American mainland by the Strait of Magellan. Cape Horn is the most southerly of the great capes, and marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage; for many years it was a major milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world. The need for ships to round the horn was greatly reduced by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914.
Completely bordered by France on three sides, what is the world's most densely populated sovereign country as well as the smallest French-speaking country?
Monaco is a Constitutional Monarchy and Principality with Prince Albert II as head of state. The Grimaldi family has ruled over Monaco since 1292 and the state's sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. Despite being independent, Monaco's defense is still the responsibility of France. To the east it is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea.
The name of which Central Asian mountain range where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together and where the mighty rivers Irtysh, Ob and Yenisei have their sources literally means 'mountains of gold' in Turkic?
Scania, Zealand and Jutland have historically been the three lands of which country/kingdom?
Which island, the third largest in the world, is divided between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei?
Indonesia's region of Borneo is called "Kalimantan" (although Indonesians use the term for the whole island), while Malaysia's region of Borneo is called East Malaysia or Malaysian Borneo. The independent nation of Brunei occupies the remainder of the island.
What enters the UK on a shore east of Kingston upon Hull and then passes through France, Spain, Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, and Ghana, and then through Queen Maud Land to its destination?
Prime (Greenwich) Meridian
The Prime Meridian and the opposite 180th meridian (at 180° longitude), which the International Date Line generally follows, form a great circle that divides the Earth into he Eastern and Western Hemispheres.
Since all time zones converge at the South Pole, there is no reason for placing it in any particular time zone. But as a practical convenience, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station keeps the time of which country?
This is because the US flies its resupply missions ("Operation Deep Freeze") out of Christchurch, New Zealand. Given the continuing and constant US presence in Antarctica since 1955-56, "Operation Deep Freeze" has come to be used as a general term for US operations in that continent, and in particular for the regular missions to resupply US Antarctic bases, coordinated by the US military.
From the Greek for 'going downhill' and most commonly found in Antarctica and Greenland, what is the name of the wind that carries high density air from a higher elevation down a slope under the force of gravity?
The buildup of high density cold air over the ice sheets and the elevation of the ice sheets brings into play enormous gravitational energy, propelling the winds well over hurricane force. In Greenland these winds are called Pitaraq and are most intense whenever a low pressure area approaches the coast. Not all downslope winds are katabatic. For instance, winds such as the Föhn, Chinook or Bergwind, are rain shadow winds where air driven upslope on the windward side of a mountain range drops its moisture and descends leeward drier and warmer.
What is the exclave of Russia that is surrounded by Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea?
It has no land connection to the rest of Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Borderless travel to the main part of Russia is only possible by sea or air. Its largest city and the administrative center is Kaliningrad, which has historical significance as both a major city of Prussia and the capital of the former German province East Prussia, of which the region remains the northern core remnant.
What is the longest river in the world that flows entirely in one country?
It is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world, after the Nile in Africa, and the Amazon in South America. The river is about 6,300 km long and flows from its source in Qinghai Province, eastwards into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It has traditionally been considered a dividing line between North and South China.
Which Australian English word is used to refer to an oxbow lake, a stagnant pool of water attached to a waterway that is usually formed when the path of a creek or river changes, leaving the former branch with a dead end?
The word is derived from two Indigenous Australian words: "billa" meaning "creek" and "bong" meaning "dead." Billabongs appear relatively often in Australian literature. One of the most well-known references is in the opening line of Banjo Paterson's famous poem "Waltzing Matilda."
Which is the country closest to the US without bordering it?
The Bering Strait separates eastern Russia from Alaska at a distance of approximately 90 kilometers. The next closest country is Bahamas, with Grand Bahama Island resting approximately 100 kilometers off the east coast of Florida.
Located in Israel, what is the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea) on whose shores much of the ministry of Jesus occurred?
Sea of Galilee
One of Jesus' famous teaching episodes, the Sermon on the Mount, was given on a hill overlooking the lake whilst many of his miracles were also recorded to occur here including his walking on water, calming a storm, and his feeding five thousand people (in Tabgha). In the time of the Byzantine Empire, the lake's significance in Jesus' life made it a major destination for Christian pilgrims.
Meaning 'place of sunset' or 'western' in Arabic, which word is generally applied to the geographic area of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia together?
In older Arabic usage, the word pertained only to the area of the three countries between the high ranges of the Atlas Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Historically some writers also included Spain - especially during its period of Muslim domination - in the definition. The region was united as a single political entity only during the first years of Arab rule (early 8th century), and again for several decades under the Almohads (1159-1229). The Arab states of North Africa established the Arab Maghreb Union in 1989 to promote cooperation and economic integration. Its members are Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania.
Which renowned 20th century physicist was so fascinated by the current day Russian republic of Tuva (because of its obscurity) that he even wrote a book called Tuva or Bust! which chronicles his attempts to travel there?
In the 1920s and 1930s, postage stamps from Tuva were issued. Many philatelists, including Feynman, have been fascinated with this far-away and obscure land because of them.
Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao form the three major island groups of which country?
Luzon is the largest and most economically and politically important island.
The summit of which mountain in Ecuador is generally regarded as the spot that is farthest from the center of the Earth?
It is also Ecuador's highest summit. The summit measures 20,946,232 ft (6,384,412 m) from the Earth's core. The summit of Mount Everest reaches a higher elevation above sea level, but the summit of Chimborazo is widely reported to be the farthest point from Earth's center, despite a possible challenge from Huascarán (in Peru). Chimborazo is just one degree south of the equator and the earth's diameter at the equator is greater than at Everest's latitude, with sea level also being elevated. So, despite being 2,581 m (8,568 ft) lower in elevation above sea level, it is 6,384.4 km (3,968 mi) from the Earth's center, 2.1 km farther than the summit of Everest.
The Caribbean Mosquito Coast historically consisted of an area along the Atlantic coast of which two present-day countries?
Honduras and Nicaragua
The Mosquito Coast was incorporated into Nicaragua in 1894, however, in 1960 the northern part was granted to Honduras by the International Court of Justice. It is so called from its principal inhabitants, the Miskito Indians, whose name was corrupted into Mosquito by European settlers.
Deluded by a legend, Francisco Orellana and Gonzalo Pizarro departed from Ecuador in 1541 in a disastrous expedition towards the Amazon Basin; they did not find any gold or lost cities but Orellana became the first person to navigate the entire Amazon River.
What were they seeking?
El Dorado (Spanish for 'the gilded one') is a legend that began with the story of a South American tribal chief who covered himself with gold dust and would dive into a lake of pure mountain water. The legend began in the 1530s, in the Andes of present-day Colombia, where conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada first found the Muisca, a nation in the modern day Cundinamarca and Boyacá highlands of Colombia, in 1537. The story of the Muisca rituals was brought to Quito by Sebastian de Belalcazar’s men; mixed with other rumors, there arose the legend of 'El Dorado.' Imagined as a place, El Dorado became a kingdom, an empire, the city of this legendary golden king.
What is the largest country located entirely in Europe?
The name of which vast and arid area north of the Great Australian Bight is derived from the Latin for 'no trees' and the crossing of which is a seminal experience of the Australian Outback?
It is the world's largest single piece of limestone, and occupies an area of about 200,000 km² (77,200 sq miles). The Nullarbor Plain is thought to be a former seabed. About 20-25 million years ago, the whole area was uplifted by crustal movements, and since then, erosion by wind and rain has smoothed out most topographic features, resulting in the extremely flat terrain across the plain today.
With 34.8 percent salinity, Lake Assal is considered the most saline body of water outside Antarctica. In which tiny nation in the Horn of Africa is it located?
What is the largest desert in the North and South Americas?
It is the 5th largest desert in the world by area, occupying 260,000 square miles (673,000 km²). It is located primarily in Argentina with small parts in Chile and is bounded by the Andes, to its west, and the Atlantic Ocean to its east, in the region of Patagonia, southern Argentina.
Easter Island in the South Pacific is well-known for its numerous moai, the stone statues located along its coastline. Which country does the island belong to?
Easter Island was annexed by Chile on September 9, 1888 by Policarpo Toro, by means of the "Treaty of Annexation of the island" (Tratado de Anexión de la isla), that the government of Chile signed with the native people of the island.
As of April 2010, apart from Western Sahara, Tokelau is the only other non-self governing territory in the world that is not administered by the UK, US or France. Which country administers it?
It consists of three tropical coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean. The UN maintains a list of territories that do not govern themselves. The list was initially prepared in 1946 pursuant to Article XI of the United Nations Charter, and has been updated since then by the General Assembly on recommendation of the Special Committee on Decolonization and its predecessors. Only permanently inhabited territories are considered for inclusion in this list.
A trans-boundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border (either a border within a nation or an international boundary). Which country has the greatest number of such rivers, including 58 that enter from India or Burma?
The hydrologic and political effects of rivers that cross significant boundaries are enormous. Rivers have positive effects in that they carry a significant amount of sediment which aids in building land in estuarine regions. However this sediment raises the h eighth of riverbed thereby causing flooding. International conventions governing water sharing lead to complex political disputes.
Which borough of New York City is the only one of the city's five boroughs to be situated primarily on the US mainland rather than on an island?
If all five boroughs were independent cities, the Bronx would rank as the ninth most populous city in the United States.
A-L-M-M-SM-VC are the initials of the European micro-states, the six very small sovereign states on the European continent. Name all of them.
Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City
Owing to their small size, which limits their natural resources and population, most of the microstates have adopted special economic measures in order to prosper - usually by lowering taxes and encouraging financial investment. Many of the microstates have also entered into a Customs Union with their larger neighbors to improve their economic situation (Vatican City and San Marino with Italy, Liechtenstein with Switzerland, and Monaco with France). The microstates also have particular relations with the European Union, of which Malta is a full member.
Which two countries share the longest border in the world?
USA and Canada
The terrestrial boundary (including small portions of maritime boundaries on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic coasts as well as the Great Lakes) is 8,891 kilometres (5,522 mi) long, including 2,477 kilometres (1,539 mi) shared with Alaska. Officially known as the International Boundary, it is generally unmilitarized.
As of 2010, the ten highest active volcanoes are located in which continent?
San Pedro in Chile is the highest at 20,161 feet or 6145 metres.
Which famous bay in Sydney, Australia was the site of a landing by Captain James Cook and sparked Britian's interest in Australia?
In modern times the Bay is chiefly notable for being the site of Kingsford Smith International Airport, Australia's largest.
What is the largest country with a single time zone?
A system of government called 'confessionalism' which distributes power proportionally among religious communities is currently prevelant in which tiny Middle-Eastern nation?
Posts in government and seats in the legislature are apportioned amongst different groups according to the relative demographic composition of those groups in a society, which is seen as a way of formally recognizing the communal political rights of indigenous groups. Currently, the political system of Lebanon is modeled in such a way, and the term is usually associated with Lebanon.
What is the collective name given to the 16 volcanoes identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI) as being worthy of particular study in light of their history of destructive eruptions and proximity to populated areas?
A volcano may be designated a Decade Volcano if it exhibits more than one volcanic hazard; shows recent geological activity; is located in a populated area (eruptions at any of the Decade Volcanoes may threaten tens or hundreds of thousands of people, and therefore mitigating eruption hazards at these volcanoes is crucial); is politically and physically accessible for study; and there is local support for the work.
Which city in Egypt has been characterised as the 'world's greatest open air museum' and contains the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak as well as monuments that include the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens?
It was called Thebes in ancient times. Luxor today represents an excellent base for touring Upper Egypt, and is a popular holiday destination, both in its own right and as a starting or finishing point for Nile cruises.
Which island in the Mediterranean was the center of the Minoan civilization (ca. 2600-1400 BCE), the oldest civilization in Europe?
It is also Greece's largest island. Crete is a popular tourist destination; its attractions include the Minoan sites of Knossos and Phaistos, the classical site of Gortys, the Venetian castle in Rethymno, and the Samaria Gorge, as well as many other natural sites, monuments, and beaches.
In physical geography, what is an endorheic or terminal or closed basin?
Watershed from which there is no outflow
Any rain (or other precipitation) that falls inside an endorheic basin may only leave the system by evaporation. Although endorheic basins can occur in any climate, in practice they are most commonly found in hot desert locations.
If the Panama Canal has two sets of locks, how many does the Suez Canal have?
The canal has no locks because the terrain through which it passes is flat, and the minor difference in sea level at the ends is easily coped with through the length of the canal.
Which feature that is 6380 kms long has traditionally been considered a dividing line between North and South China?
It is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world, after the Nile in Africa, and the Amazon in South America.
Two monumental statues of standing Buddhas carved into a cliff and infamously destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 were located in which part of central Afghanistan?
Built during the 6th century, the statues represented the classic blended style of Greco-Buddhist art.
What are the only two South American countries that do not border Brazil?
Ecuador and Chile
Brazil borders Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and the department of French Guiana to the north, Uruguay to the south, Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest, Bolivia and Peru to the west, and Colombia to the northwest.
What is the largest landmass that lies entirely in the Pacific Ocean?
New Guinea, the second largest island in the world
Almost all of the smaller islands of the Pacific lie between 30°N and 30°S, extending from South-east Asia to Easter Island; the rest of the Pacific Basin is almost entirely submerged.
It is common knowledge that 70% of earth's surface is covered with water. Of this, what percentage does the Pacific Ocean cover?
About 46% (about 32% of earth's total surface area)
At 169.2 million square kilometres (65.3 million square miles) in area, it is larger than all of the Earth's land area combined. The equator subdivides it into the North Pacific Ocean and South Pacific Ocean.
Located in Botswana, which is the world's largest inland delta?
The area was once part of Lake Makgadikgadi, an ancient lake that dried up some 10,000 years ago. Today, the Okavango River has no outlet to the sea and it empties onto the sands of the Kalahari Desert, irrigating 15,000 km² of the desert.
The erstwhile Yugoslavia has broken up into seven countries. Can you name them?
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, and Kosovo
It is well known that Germany re-unified in 1990. In the same year, which two Middle-Eastern nations, North ___ and South ___ formally united as the Republic of ___?
In the sixteenth century and again in the nineteenth century, north Yemen was part of the Ottoman Empire, and in some periods its Imams exerted control over south Yemen. North Yemen became independent of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 and became a republic in 1962. In 1839, the British occupied the port of Aden and established it as a colony in September of that year. They also set up a zone of loose alliances (known as protectorates) around Aden to act as a protective buffer. In 1967, the British withdrew and gave back Aden to Yemen due to extreme pressure of battles with the North and Egyptian allies. After the British withdrawal, this area became known as South Yemen.
On the geologic time scale, which term denotes the largest subdivision of time?
Eon (eon > era > period > epoch)
We are currently in the Phanerozoic eon, the Cenozoic Era, the Quaternary Period, and the Holocene epoch. Formerly, only one eon existed besides the Phanerozoic: the Precambrian. More recently, the Hadean, Archean, and Proterozoic 'eras' of Precambrian time have been considered eons.
Which 'miraculous' French town has the second highest number of hotels per sq. kilometer in that country after Paris?
Today Lourdes has a population of around 1,000 inhabitants but is able to take in some 5,000,000 pilgrims and tourists every season.
Among US states with the highest number of national parks, California and Alaska come in first with 8 each. Which state comes next with 5 of them?
With Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Zion.
Established in 1974 in a self-governing territory, which is the largest national park in the world with an area of 972,000 sq kms (375,000 square miles)?
Northeast Greenland National Park
It is also the only national park in Greenland. The park encompasses the entire northeastern coastline and interior sections of Greenland.
What is the beautiful onion-domed church situated in Red Square, Moscow that is often confused with the Kremlin?
Saint Basil's Cathedral
The misconception has inadvertently been reinforced by Western television journalists, who have often stood in front of St. Basil's during their reports.
What is the only nation state of the Commonwealth of Nations on the mainland of South America?
Guyana achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1966 and became a republic in 1970, remaining a member of the Commonwealth.
What area does the imprecise geographic term 'Levant' refer to?
Eastern Mediterranean at large but can also denote a large area in Western Asia
The term Levant is first attested in English in 1497, originally used in the wider sense of "Mediterranean lands east of Venetia." Today "Levant" is typically used by archaeologists and historians with reference to the prehistory and the ancient and medieval history of the region, as when discussing the Crusades. The term is also occasionally employed to refer to modern or contemporary events, peoples, states, or parts of states in the same region, namely Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories.
Flemish Cap, an area of shallow waters in the north Atlantic east of Newfoundland and Labrador is featured in which 2000 film as the final fishing grounds for Billy Tyne (George Clooney) and his crew?
The Perfect Storm
The waters of the Flemish Cap are noted as excellent fishing waters. Halibut, swordfish, shrimp, scallop and other marine species may be found in abundance there.
The city of DeKalb, Illinois is credited as the first manufacturing site of what 'restraining' invention that revolutionized ranching in the US?
The first patent in the United States for barbed wire was issued in 1867 to Lucien B. Smith of Kent, Ohio, who is regarded as the inventor. Joseph F. Glidden of DeKalb, Illinois, received a patent for the modern invention in 1874 after he made his own modifications to previous versions.
On his return from a famous trip on May 28, 1953, which explorer said to his friend George Lowe "Well George, we finally knocked the bastard off."?
Edmund Hillary, on returning from Everest's summit
While stressing team work, Tenzing Norgay disclosed that Hillary was the first to put his foot on the summit and concluded: "If it is a shame to be the second man on Mount Everest, then I will have to live with this shame."
Which tiny landlocked European country, also the smallest German-speaking country in the world, has bordering countries that are also landlocked?
It is in Western-Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to its west and by Austria to its east. Uzbekistan in Central Asia (if the Caspian Sea is considered as a lake) is the only other 'double-landlocked' country in the world.
They may not have stood on top of Everest but as of 2012, what distinction do the oceanographers Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh and the Hollywood mogul James Cameron hold in the field of exploration?
Only people to have reached the Challenger Deep, the deepest surveyed point in the oceans.
Piccard and Walsh were aboard the bathyscaphe Trieste when it made a record-breaking descent into the Challenger Deep in 1960. The depth was measured at 35,813 ft (10,916 m), but later and more accurate measurements have put it at 35,798 ft (10,911 m). Cameron did it in 2012.
After Russia, what is the second largest country in area amongst the former Soviet republics?
It is the 9th largest country in the world.
The melting Furtwängler Glacier, sometimes used as an example of global warming is near which African geographic feature?
Furtwängler Glacier is a small remnant of an enormous icecap which once crowned the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. This icecap has retreated significantly over the past century and between 1912 and the 2000, 82 percent of the glacial ice on the mountain has disappeared. The retreat of glacial ice on the summit is expected to continue and by the year 2020, all the glaciers on top of the mountain may be gone.
What is the geographic and historical term for the Western Asian peninsula which comprises about two-thirds of Turkey?
Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor
The name comes from the Greek for "east." The Byzantine theme of "Anatolikon" ("eastern one") signified the lands to the east of Europe and Constantinople.
Which group of islands in the Caribbean Sea are divided as?
Greater ___: Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico
Lesser ___: Leeward Islands, Windward Islands and Leeward ___
Geographically, the Antilles are generally considered part of North America. Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico - due to the prevalence of Spanish - are included in Latin America. The Bahamas, though part of the West Indies, are generally not included among the Antillean islands.
Which Peruvian city was the historic capital of the sun-worshipping Inca empire?
Which national capital is the only city built in the 20th century to be considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO?
The city was planned and developed in 1956 with Lúcio Costa as the principal urban planner and Oscar Niemeyer as the principal architect. In 1960, it formally became Brazil's national capital. When seen from above, the main planned part of the city's shape resembles an airplane or a butterfly.
After the five oceans, what is the largest sea body in the world?
South China Sea
It is a part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from Singapore to the Strait of Taiwan of around 3,500,000 km². The sea and its mostly uninhabited islands are subject to several competing claims of sovereignty by neighboring nations. These competing claims are also reflected in the variety of names used for the islands and the sea.
What is the largest country in the world without permanent rivers?
In the world of mountaineering, what are referred to as the seven summits?
Highest mountains of the seven continents
Summiting all of them is regarded as a mountaineering challenge, first postulated as such in the 1980s by Richard Bass.
Three of the ten largest islands in the world belong to which country?
Canada - with Baffin (5th largest), Victoria (9th largest) and Ellesmere (10th largest)
Greenland is the largest island. Australia is widely considered as a continental landmass, not an island, though it is much larger than Greenland.
Which country became the first sovereign state of the 21st century when Indonesia relinquished control on it in May 2002?
Colonized by Portugal in the sixteenth century, East Timor was known as Portuguese Timor for centuries. It was invaded and occupied by Indonesia in 1975 and declared the country's 27th province the following year. Alongside the Philippines, East Timor is one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, and the only Portuguese-speaking sovereign state in Asia.
The Bridge of Sighs was given its name by Lord Byron from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of which beautiful city out of its window before being taken to their cells?
In reality, the days of inquisitions and summary executions were over by the time the bridge was built, and the cells under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals. A local legend says that lovers will be assured eternal love if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the bridge.
All the largest islands in the world are in oceans/seas and hence are surrounded by sea-water. Marajo, which has the distinction of being the largest island completely surrounded by fresh water is in which water body?
Marajo is located at the mouth of the Amazon in Brazil and has a land area of 15,500 sq mi. Although its northeast coastline faces the Atlantic Ocean, the outflow from the Amazon is so great that the sea at the mouth is quite unbriny for some distance from shore. The island sits almost directly on the equator.
Which beautiful geographic feature can be shaped as Crescentic, Linear, Star, Dome, Parabolic, Longitudinal, Transverse and Reversing?
In physical geography, a dune is a hill of sand built by wind activity. The world's highest dunes are found in Algerian Sahara, where they can reach more than 1.5 kms.
By political definition, what is the essential difference between Great Britian and United Kingdom?
Great Britian = England + Scotland + Wales; United Kingdom = Great Britian + Northern Ireland.
Jarbah island in the Mediterranean Sea is a popular tourist place which is said to be so idyllic that one forgets all sense of time there. This is attested by Homer who called it as what in his Odyssey?
Land of the lotus-eaters
Djerba is a popular tourist destination, particularly for French, German, Italian and Czech tourists. It is one of the few remaining places in Tunisia where a Berber language is still spoken. Another factor drawing some tourists to Djerba is the 1977 location of the Mos Eisley exterior scenes in the first Star Wars movie, filmed in the town of Ajim.
Alfred Wegener was the first to publish the hypothesis that these had somehow 'moved' apart but he was unable to provide a convincing explanation for the physical processes which might have caused it. What are we talking about?
The hypothesis of continental drift became part of the larger theory of plate tectonics.
What is also known as Qomolangma or Sagarmatha or Chomolungma in the native tongues of the people around it?
The Nepali name is Sagarmatha and the Tibetan name is Chomolungma or Qomolangma. In 1865, the mountain was given its English name by Andrew Waugh, the British surveyor-general of India who surveyed it and he chose to name the mountain after George Everest, the surveyor-general of India from 1830 to 1843, who was largely responsible for completing the section of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India.
The Shatt al-Arab waterway constitutes a part of the border between which countries?
Iran and Iraq
Also called Arvandrud, it is a river of some 200 km in length, formed by the confluence of the Euphrates and the Tigris. The the southern end of the river constitutes the border between Iraq and Iran down to the mouth of the river as it discharges into the Persian Gulf. Conflicting territorial claims and disputes over navigation rights between Iran and Iraq were among the main factors for the Iraq-Iran War that lasted from 1980 to 1988, when the pre-1980 status quo was restored.
Upon seeing which stunning South American geographic feature did Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly say "Poor Niagara"?
The waterfall system consists of about 270 falls along 2.7 kilometres (1.67 miles) of the Iguazu River. Vastly larger than North America's Niagara Falls, Iguazu is rivalled only by Southern Africa's Victoria Falls. The Garganta del Diablo or Devil's Throat is the most impressive of all, and marks the border between Argentina and Brazil.
What gorge in the Ngorongoro area of Tanzania is considered the seat of humanity after the discovery of the earliest known specimens of modern man?
It is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world and has been instrumental in furthering understanding of early human evolution. Excavation work there was pioneered by Louis Leakey in the 1950s and is continued today by his family.
The mighty Himalayas take the cake as far as the list of highest mountains goes; so, what is the highest peak outside of this range?
Mount Aconcagua, in the Andes
To comprehend the enormous scale of Himalayan peaks, consider that Aconcagua is at 6,962 m, while the Himalayan system has over 100 separate mountains exceeding 7,200 meters