10 geographic extremes and other fun facts

There are too many astonishing places in the world but this is our selection for today

#1 Oriented thaw lakes

The landscape of Alaska's North Slope with rivers and oriented thaw lakes — US Department of Energy / PublicDomainFiles.com
The landscape of Alaska’s North Slope with rivers and oriented thaw lakes — US Department of Energy / PublicDomainFiles.com
 

All egg-shaped and all pointing northwest the thousands of lakes in northern Alaska are some of the fastest-growing lakes in the world. 

Sometimes they’re also referred to as oriented thaw lakes, which is associated with their probable origin. Seasonally, when the permafrost around melts, the soggy soil slumps into the water and makes a lake grow. By now, their sizes range anywhere from puddles to tens of kilometres long.

They are found in other permafrost areas, such as northern Canada and Russia.

#2 Antipodes

The dictionary defines the word as points of the world diametrically opposite. They are also as far from each other as possible. With 71 per cent of the earth covered in water, many land-based points do not have a land-based counterpart. Some estimates say that only about 15 per cent of the earth’s land is antipodal.

#3 Hot springs of the Danakil Depression

This sulphur hot spring is part of Ethiopia's landscape — Shutterstock
This sulphur hot spring is part of Ethiopia’s landscape — Shutterstock
 

The Danakil Depression in Ethiopia has formed as a result of Asia and Africa moving away from each other, which caused rifting and volcanic activity. Being both one of the lowest and hottest places on earth, the Danakil Depression has developed some curious features, one of them being the hot springs, also known as Dallol sulphur springs.

#4 Ninety per cent of earth’s population lives in the Northern Hemisphere

Out of about 7.3 billion people inhabiting the earth, about 6.6 billion, or 90 per cent, lives in the Northern Hemisphere.

#5 Highest capital in the world

At an altitude of 3,640 m, Bolivian La Paz is the highest capital in the world — Shutterstock
At an altitude of 3,640 m, Bolivian La Paz is the highest capital in the world — Shutterstock
 

… would be La Paz. The administrative capital of Bolivia lies at an elevation of 3,640 metres (11,975 ft), which might be difficult to cope with for some. Its positioning provides for an unusual subtropical highland climate with rainy summers and dry winters.

#6 Country with the most neighbouring countries

China isn’t the largest country on earth, but it has the largest number of neighbouring countries. With a border of over 22,000 km (almost 14,000 mi) in length, it borders with 14 countries: Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Laos, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Tajikistan, North Korea, and Bhutan.

#7 Palmerston Island’s curiosity

 

The coral atoll of Palmerston is inhabited by descendants of one man and three women — Wikimedia Commons
The coral atoll of Palmerston is inhabited by descendants of one man and three women — Wikimedia Commons
 

Palmerston Island is one of a number of islands making up a continuous coral atoll in the Cook Islands. The landmass is about one square mile and supposedly, it is inhabited by families who are the descendants of only one man.

In the latter half of the 19th century, Englishman William Marsters arrived on the island with two Polynesian wives and added a third one there. In total, he sired 23 children with his three wives. And so three families today inhabit the atoll, each branch being the descendants of William and one of his wife.  

#8 Some New York City buildings have their own zip code

To make your mail travel more quickly and efficiently, areas have their own zip codes — an acronym for zone improvement plan. There are over 40 buildings in New York City that are assigned their own unique zip code. It does make sense as one building can harbour a large number of different businesses.

#9 Longest city name

Most people know Bangkok as Bangkok, but not many know its Thai name of Krung Thep Maka Nakhon, or also just Krung Thep. That’s easy enough to remember… compared to the full name of Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. 

 

The Welsh village of Llanfairp... well, and the rest of this longest place name in Britain — chrisdorney / Shutterstock
The Welsh village of Llanfairp… well, and the rest of this longest place name in Britain — chrisdorney / Shutterstock
 

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is perhaps more famous, at least within Europe. It’s the name of a village located in Anglesey in North Wales. The full meaning of it is Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the Church of Saint Tysilio of the red cave. 

#10 A sea without shores

Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sargasso Sea is the only sea in the world without a shoreline. It’s surrounded by strong currents, even though the sea itself is slow-moving and calm. Moreover, it’s covered with golden-brown seaweed known as Sargassum.