World Trivia

Information we bet you didn't know. It won't change your life, but it might make you think.

  • Longest river: The Nile, in Egypt, at 6,695 kilometers (4,160 miles).
  • Christmas Island, a territory of Australia, has the world's fastest population growth rate at 7.77%.
  • Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch. No, this is not a result of a broken keyboard. This is the longest city name in the world, found in North Wales. Its name translates as: "The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tysilio's of the red cave."
  • In Japan, the best beef costs around $80 per pound.
  • The wettest place on earth is Lloro, Colombia, which averages 13 meters (523.6 inches or 40 feet) of rainfall a year.
  • There is a street in Italy that is less than 1.5 feet wide.
  • Brrrrr....the coldest temperature ever measured on Earth was -129 Fahrenheit (-89 Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica, on July 21, 1983.
  • In Tokyo, to buy a three-line classified ad in the newspaper costs $3,000 per day.
  • Can some rocks float? You bet. In a volcanic eruption, the violent separation of gas from lava produces a “frothy” rock called pumice, loaded with gas bubbles that enable it to float on water.
  • Mount Cotopaxi in Ecuador supports the only equatorial glacier on the planet.
  • The Great Rift Valley, in eastern Africa, is the only geological feature on earth that can be seen clearly from space. At 4,000 miles in length, it stretches from Lebanon to the Mozambique Channel.
  • Need a shower? Look no further than the world's highest waterfall, Angel Falls, in Venezuela. With a total height of 979 meters (3,212 feet), it is over 300 meters taller than the second-highest waterfall.
  • About 97 percent of the world's water is in the oceans, which make up about two-thirds of Earth’s surface. Nearly 70 percent of the Earth’s fresh-water supply is locked up in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland. The remaining fresh-water supply, a mere 1 percent of the Earth’s total, exists in the atmosphere, streams, lakes, or groundwater.
  • The total number of airline passengers worldwide in 1999 was 3,003,503,282 people.
  • Dust from space? Estimates vary, but the USGS says at least 1,000 tons of the stuff enters the atmosphere every year and makes its way to Earth’s surface.
  • Merging cities. The San Andreas Fault in California, which runs north-south, is slipping at a rate of about 2 inches (5 centimeters) per year, causing the city of Los Angeles to move towards San Francisco. Scientists forecast L.A. will be a suburb of the San Fransisco in about 15 million years.
  • Since the running of the bulls began in Pamplona, Spain, in 1926, only 13 people have been killed. Attendance at the 8-day event grew dramatically when Ernest Hemingway made the running of the bulls world famous in his novel "The Sun Also Rises."
  • The Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii holds the title as the largest volcano on Earth. It rises more than 15.2 kilometers (50,000 feet or 9.5 miles) above its base, which which sits under the surface of the sea. But compare this to Olympus Mons on Mars, which rises 26 kilometers (16 miles) into the Martian sky.
  • Hottest recorded temperature on earth: 57.7 degrees Celsius (136 degrees Fahrenheit) at Al Aziziyah, Libya on September 13, 1922. Lowest recorded temperature: -89.2 degrees Celsius (-128 degrees Fahrenheit) in Vostok, Antarctica on July 21, 1983.
  • If you were to fly along the equator around the entire world, you would travel 40,075 kilometers.
  • The country with the highest population density? That would be Monaco with 15,538 people per square kilometer. Singapore is a distant second with 4,488.
  • Contrary to what you might think, the driest desert in the world is not the Sahara. In fact, it is the Patagonia Desert, found in the most southern region of South America. But the driest place goes the village of Arica, in Chile, which gets just 0.03 inches (0.76 millimeters) of rain per year.
  • The busiest airport in the world? That would be Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, with 909,911 flights in 1999 alone.
  • One-third of the world's land surface is desert.
  • The highest tide differences can be found in Burntcoat Head, Minas Basin, part of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada, where tides can range 11.7 meters (38.4 feet). The bay is funnel-shaped — its bottom slopes upward continuously from the ocean inlet. The result is an extreme 'tidal bore', a wavelike phenomenon at the leading edge of the changing tide, which can travel up feeder rivers at 13 kilometers per hour (8 mph) and can be more than 1 meter (3 feet) tall.
  • If you came upon a naked Muslim woman, she would cover her face. A Samoan woman would cover her navel.
  • How far does regular dust blow in the wind? One study showed that African dust finds its way to the state of Florida and can help push parts of the state over the prescribed air quality limit for particulate matter. The dust is kicked up by high winds in North Africa and carried as high as 20,000 feet (6,100 meters), where it’s caught up in the trade winds and carried across the sea.
  • On average, about 400 billion gallons of water are used worldwide each day.
  • The longest tunnel in the world is the Seikan Tunnel in Japan at over 53.9 kilometers in length, connecting the island of Honshu and Hokkaido (3.9 kilometers longer than the Chunnel).
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa is 180 feet tall and now tipped over 16 feet to one side. Scientists estimate that it has approximately 100 years left before it collapses.
  • The smallest country in the world is Vatican City at (0.44 square kilometers (0.17 sq. miles).
  • The world’s deepest lake is Lake Baikal in the south-central part of Siberia at a depth of 1.7 kilometers (5,712 feet). It’s about 20 million years old and contains 20 percent of Earth’s fresh liquid water.
  • The desert country of Saudi Arabia must import sand from other countries. Their desert sand is not suitable for building construction.
  • Hot water faucets are marked with a 'C' in some countries. This is because in Spain the word for hot is caliente, in France hot is chaud, and in Italy you say caldo when you mean hot.
  • The earth is not a sphere. Because the planet rotates and is more flexible than one might imagine, it bulges at the midsection, creating a sort of pumpkin shape. The bulge was lessening for centuries but now, suddenly, it is growing, a recent study showed. Accelerated melting of Earth’s glaciers is taking the blame for the gain in equatorial girth.
  • The longest mountain chain on Earth is the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which splits nearly the entire Atlantic Ocean north to south. Iceland is one place where this submarine mountain chain rises above the sea surface.
  • Going diving? The deepest point in the ocean is the Challenger Deep, Mariana Trench, in the western Pacific Ocean at 10,924 meters (35,840 feet) below sea level.
  • All gondolas must be black in Venice. Only government officials are allowed fancy colors.
  • Largest lake: Caspian Sea in Asia/Europe at 371,000 square kilometers.
  • Japanese rickshaws were invented by an American, Reverend Jonathan Scobie, who visited Okinawa in 1869.
  • Groundwater comprises a 30 times greater volume than all freshwater lakes, and more than 3,000 times what’s in the world’s streams and rivers at any given time. Groundwater is housed in natural underground aquifers, in which the water typically runs around and through the stone and other material.
  • The largest Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant is in Beijing, China.
  • In Tibet, some women have special metal instruments used for picking their noses.
  • Largest island: Greenland at 2,175,600 square kilometers.
  • The largest ocean is the Pacific Ocean, which covers 165 million square kilometers (64 million square miles). It is more than two times the size of the Atlantic and has an average depth of 3.9 kilometers (2.4 miles).
  • In Iceland, people are listed in the telephone directory by their first name.
  • There is a hell on earth. It is Hell, a village in Norway.
  • The total area of the entire earth is 510,066,000 square kilometers (29.1% is land at 148,429,000 sq. km. and 70.9% is water at 361,637,000 sq. km.).
  • The Dead Sea, lying between Israel and Jordan, is the lowest place on earth. The surface of this body of water is 1,312 feet below sea level.
  • The fastest 'regular' wind was 372 kilometers per hour (231 mph), recorded at Mount Washington, N.H., on April 12, 1934. But during a May 1999 tornado in Oklahoma, researchers clocked the wind at 513 kilometers per hour (318 mph).
  • The native language spoken by more people than any other is Chinese Mandarin at 874,000,000.
  • Rising seas: The Antarctic Ice Sheet holds nearly 90 percent of the world’s ice and 70 percent of its fresh water. If the entire ice sheet were to melt, sea level would rise by nearly 67 meters (220 feet), or the height of a 20-story building.
  • The Sahara Desert gets larger every day. Its southern border grows outward by 30 miles every year.