20 Surprising Geography Facts They Never Taught Us In School


Image: MatthewSabia / GatesofAphelion

Geography is the scientific study of Earthly phenomena. It examines both natural and human processes, and their impact on each other and the planet. Geography tries to simplify a complex entanglement of physical and social systems to determine how exactly the world ticks. But this planet is a complex place. And as the following 20 facts demonstrate, it never ceases to surprise.

Image: NASA

20. The Diomede Islands cover a time difference of 21 hours

Located in the Bering Strait, the Diomede Islands consist of two desolate isles just over two miles apart. However, their time difference is 21 hours. This is because they are divided by the International Date Line, an imaginary border which demarcates the change of one day to the next. Big Diomede, which is also known as Tomorrow Island, is part of the Churkotka Autonomous Okrug in Russia. Little Diomede, or Yesterday Island, is part of Alaska in the United States.

Image: JeremyA

19. The Mississippi River “flowed backwards during the creation of Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee”

In 1811 and 1812, three devastating earthquakes rocked the area of New Madrid in Missouri, generating aftershocks that could be felt in Canada. The subsidence they caused transformed the local landscape and created Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee. Witnesses say they saw the Mississippi flowing backwards at the time of the earthquakes. But modern scientists believe this was merely an illusion caused by seismically generated waves.

Image: Nicolas de Camaret / Timwi

18. Point Nemo is the most remote place on Earth

This small, barren island in the South Pacific Ocean is actually pretty special. Point Nemo is the world’s “oceanic pole of inaccessibility” – the point most distant from land. Its name means “No One” in Latin and it is located nearly 1700 miles from the nearest landmass. Point Nemo was the location of “the nightmare corpse-city” of R’lyeh in H.P. Lovecraft’s Call of Cthulhu. The name is also said to have been inspired by Captain Nemo of Jules Verne fame.