6 geographical facts you’re not going to believe

Our world is a strange and awesome place — but some things are just hard to believe! Here are some mind-blowing geography facts.

Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined

Photo: LASZLO ILYES.

Canada is the second largest country on the face of the Earth, and it has a lot to brag about. Out of all the natural lakes in the world, more than 50% are situated in Canada.

Photo by Christianabend.

The number of lakes larger than three square kilometers is estimated at close to 31,752 by the Atlas of Canada, of which 561 lakes have a surface area larger than 100 km2, including four of the Great Lakes. All in all, a whopping 9% of Canada’s surface is covered in fresh water.

After Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world

Warsaw. Photo by Adrian Grycuk.

Warsaw is Poland’s capital, having under 3 million inhabitants, out of which 95% are have Polish origins. However, besides Warsaw, there isn’t a single city with a larger Polish population than Chicago, even though Poland number 40 million inhabitants.

Polish market

Polish market in Chicago

Chicago is the third largest city in the US, with 7.5 million people living in the metropolitan area. Due to the huge Polish population, the architecture and culture of the city greatly resemble that of Poland, and you can find Polish theaters, markets, even a newspaper.

Girls Wearing Traditional Polish Outfits. Photo by włodi

Girls Wearing Traditional Polish Outfits. Photo by włodi

It’s pretty difficult to say just how much of Chicago’s population is Polish, with estimates ranging from 150,000 inhabitants to 10 times more – there’s no exact number.

Chicago. Photo by Allen McGregor.

The largest city in the world is Hulunbuir, at 263,953 km2

Where would you expect to see the world’s largest city? China, India, Russia? Just so you can make an idea, this city in inner Mongolia (China) is about as half as big as France, and it’s just a city !

The grasslands of Hulunbuir. Photo by llee_wu

However, the urban agglomeration is just a small fraction of the city, with the area population density being otherwise really small. All accross the megacity you can see large landscapes of grassland, and industrialization is only existant in the center. For all its surface, the city has “only” 2.5 million inhabitants.

The driest place on Earth is near Ross Island, Antactica; it hasn’t rained there for millions of years

Photo by NASA.

Yes, Antarctica is the driest place on the Earth, with the Atacama desert being 2nd, and Sahara the third.

The deepest hole dug by man is over 12 km deep

The Kola Superdeep Borehole has a depth of 12,261 meters — that’ s one and a half Everest long, or deeper than the Mariana trench.

The core is under this rusty, metallic cap. Photo by Rakot13

The core is under this rusty, metallic cap. Photo by Rakot13

The borehole also led to some interesting discoveries, including a massive amount of hydrogen, so massive that the mud was actually “boiling” with it.

In New York, there are more Italians than in Rome, more Irish than in Dublin and more Jews than in Tel Aviv

The big apple stands out anytime, no matter who you are or what you’re interested in. But still, I was really shocked to see this. I mean, with Rome having more than 3.5 million people, Dublin at 1 million and Tel Aviv at more than 3, that’s almost 8 million people !

Times Square, New York. Photo by Terabass.

Not to mention the other nationalities (which are quite abundent), one can only wonder how many Americans are living in New York.

Now c’mon people, hit me with your best geographical fact !

Picture sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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86 thoughts on “6 geographical facts you’re not going to believe

  1. Arttu Manninen

    Hmm. 31 752 lakes in Canada sounds like a drop in the sea compared to 187 888 lakes in Finland. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lakes_in_Finland]. And Canada is roughly 30 times larger than Finland. You do the math. :)

  2. Arttu Manninen

    Of course the issue is what is being counted. If it’s the sheer number of lakes, Finland tops Canada, but if it’s the fresh water lake surface area or water volume, the story is different. Then again, if we proportionate any of these, probably the scale would turn again.

    What is definitely true is that the title is false. Just adding the Finnish and Swedish lakes together we get some 283 000 lakes. It’s already roughly 10 times more than Canadian lakes, which was claimed to be more than the rest of the world combined.

  3. J. Codec

    Chicago is a tremendously ethnically diverse city. While the “largest Polish population outside of Poland” is well-known, Chicago is also home to the largest Serbian population outside of Serbia, the largest Bulgarian population outside of Bulgaria, the second-largest Czech population outside of the Czech Republic (behind Vienna), as well as sizable populations of African, Irish, German, Italian, Mexican, English, Greek, Chinese, Lithuanian, Romanian, Swedish, Ukrainian, Dutch and Puerto Rican descent.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Chicago

  4. Mihai Andrei Post author

    @Artu : Mea culpa about the number of lakes in Canada, I quote wikipedia here: “More than 60 percent of the world’s lakes are in Canada; this is because of the deranged drainage system that dominates the country”. I’m guessing that makes for a whole bigger number of lakes, or perhaps the difference comes from how you define a lake (minimum size). I honestly don’t know. Anyway, thanks a lot for pointing this out !

    @J. Codec: yes, Chicago does seem to be a fascinating city, with an extremely large cultural diversity. Definitely on my “to go” places

  5. Rob

    How do you mean “Polish”? Surely these people are not “Polish” but American? How many of them speak Polish or come from Poland? Or have ever been to Poland?

    It’s a strange phenomenom in America that people born in the country can claim to be from another.

  6. Dave

    That picture of the Kola superdeep borehole isn’t the Kola superdeep borehole. It’s the Mirny diamond mine in Eastern Siberia. It’s not over 12,000m deep. It’s 800m deep. Which is pretty deep, but sure as hell ain’t 12,000m deep. Also it wasn’t ‘dug’, it was drilled.

  7. Wow

    Wow! Epic fail. This was a horribly written article riddled with falsities. WIKIPEDIA SUCKS. Learn to accept this fact.
    (edited: removed swearing)

  8. Landen

    Not to nitpick but Rome having 3.5 million, Dublin having 1 million and Tel Aviv having 3 million this is not almost 9 million that is 7.5 million almost 8 million

  9. Volodya

    Great facts except just because your great grandpa is Italian does not mean you’re Italian. I’m sure that applies to a large number of New Yorkers.

  10. losers

    cut the guy some slack. people quote wikipedia all the time, and yes it has falsities, but it’s accurate 99% of the time. and as far as i know they are called polish and italian communities even if they’ve never been to poland or italy. agreeing about the borehole pic tho, google played a trick on you

  11. Giorgia

    Mongolia is an independent country since 1911 and therefore is not part of China as you suggest. Even though , ” Inner Mongolia ” ( with capital I ) , is a chinese region.

  12. FirstAmongNerds

    I am unsure about the veracity of the claims on the number of lakes in Canada relative to the world total, but there are definitely a lot. There are so many that a portion of Canada is known as the experimental lakes region, where the lakes have numerical designations rather than names and are used for long-term limnological, ecological, and environmental research. Pretty ridiculous when you think about it.

  13. the legion

    fake fake fake fake fake, rubbish rubbish rubbish rubbish rubbish rubbish rubbish rubbish
    wrong photos for Kola
    the info is crude and misrepresented
    bah prefecture-city is not a city
    Antarctica is not dry!!!!! there is water everywhere, you teenager, go learn some math or something

  14. joey

    hey legion,

    Antarctica IS a desert. Look up the definition of a desert in the dictionary, you teenager, and learn some geography, too.

  15. Travis

    Ahh.. yeah… “6 geographical facts you’re not going to believe!” Probably because most of them are not true. The pic of the mine is from some open pit deal in Russia, “only” about 1200 meters deep. Moron.

  16. Real American

    “It’s a strange phenomenom in America that people born in the country can claim to be from another.”

    Actually, you have it the other way around – its a strange phenomenon in America (that includes both North and South America) that people can claim to be American even if their ancestors were from somewhere else!

    Even today a person born in the Czech Republic to French parents would have a hard time being accepted as truly “Czech.”

  17. Australian

    Melbourne, Australia has a population that has descended from Greece larger than the Greek capital, Athens!

  18. juliana

    im guessing if you were born AND lived your entire life in that country you can call yourself american…now if you were born there and left, then it’s just a place you were born at.
    but then again there are about tons of people in america that dont call themselves american because their family (not them) are from somewhere else…who cares anywyas?

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  20. Jillian

    Um. If you’re going to write an article about astonishing facts that we’re not going to believe, then tell us you can’t find exact numbers, nobody’s going to freaking believe it.

    Bad article, unsubstantiated claims.

  21. Qoheleth

    Wikipedia + Google Image Tags = no wonder college kids refuse to believe in the possibility of absolute truth.

  22. flashlightGuy

    Hey folks, note that the title doesn’t say anything here is true or accurate, just that you are not going to believe…

  23. Omega

    As a Canadian, I don’t really appreciate you calling our water system “deranged”. I find it a tactless use of words.. Thanks..

  24. relax ppl

    @omega if you really got offended by what some said about your water system, you need to stop be so sensitive

  25. constructive replier?

    a lake has a greater range of temperature from top to bottom then from day to night… at least thats what i learned in school

  26. Amberican

    Regarding your comment, “Not to mention the other nationalities (which are quite abundant), one can only wonder how many Americans are living in New York”, anyone who is legally living in America and calls America their home is an “American”. Many times Caucasians are classified as “Americans” and that’s simply not true.

  27. yankeedougal

    I feel that anyone who considers themselves American is an American, even if they’re living here illegally, were born elsewhere, live elsewhere, whatever their heritage is. I think at least a few other countries are like that. Whether or not they can call themselves Greek, Scottish, Polish, etc. is a debate you’ll never get a full consensus on and I’ll stay out of it except that I think you’re “of” wherever you spent your formative years and you can belong to more than one place.

  28. Ray

    There are some things wrong, sure. But cut the crass point scoring comments. Go out and be positive and try and create something yourself, instead of berating others. The article was created with the intention of informing and sharing a sense of wonder. Appreciate it.

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  30. Adrian

    Rather a sloppy group of half researched “facts” if you are going to appear as a SCIENCE column then you should be a bit more meticulous in your research.
    Same goes for the “Ten most amazing artifacts” Some of those are doubtful and some have been tottaly debunked s
    ine Erich VonDanikans first book included most if not all orf those “facts” That doesnt mean they are not interesting but the subject needs careful handling

  31. mike hunt

    For all the people who think that is pointless to recognize what country/culture you were born in…If your an American and you have to move to say: China. Are you going to call yourself a Chinese person? Will you learn the language? Will you discard all of your American culture simply because you are not living in the country in which you were born?
    Think about your genes for a second…

  32. felipe

    Arttu Mannien if you are not an academic respectfull guy… you should be it!!! Two tombs down to the liar patriots!!
    Mexico City.

  33. Shastara

    @Omega: A deranged water system is refering to the geomorphology of the region, the way the glaciers carved the landscape caused random landscape formations that formed lakes with no pattern, unlike other older geologic formations where the water and tectonic movment have had time to mold the landscape into any of a number of recognizable fuluvial formations

  34. Thai Travel

    The vast majority of Bangkok’s residents speak Thai, and most in the indications are written in Thai script. If you do not converse the language, it truly is recommended to take a local guide with you while travelling or purchase or tourist’s phrasebook to assist you because the variety of fluent English speakers inside town is couple of and asking for directions can show to be somewhat of a challenge. Travellers are suggested to convey maps with them and also a calling card displaying the handle of their hotel, which they can present on the driver of their vehicle.

  35. steww

    Why do people get so excited about an article in which there are a few mistakes? It was just an article on the web, mildly diverting never intended to be taken as absolute fact. Some of you are just computer cowards who would never be so rude to a person face to face.

  36. Rick

    What a load of cobblers. The ‘largest city’ in the word that is made up mostly of rolling countryside and sheep. Yeah right!

    And more Italians, Irish and Jews in NYC than their respective homelands? depite that these groups are 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th…. generation. By that measure there are more Danes in England than in Denmark due to the Viking invasions. These people need to learn to let go.

  37. pie

    @arttu Canada dosen’t have only 30,000 lakes, you need to check your facts just like the author of this blog.

  38. karl

    Before you go on about Finland having more lakes than Canada you should do one thing. Look at how large a body of water has to be in Canada to be considered a lake vs how large A body has to be for Finland to consider it a lake. By Finland standards Canada has approx 3 million “lakes”.

  39. Charrise_carpio

    ow wow!i thought that the driest place on earth is the atacama desert.what a nice info.the blogger of this website must post other senseful information for us the humans to realize the importance and must take care the earth before it’s too late.!!!

  40. beyonddisillusionment

    Learn how to spell before writing publicly. It’s embarrassing, and I’m embarrassed for you.

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  42. pacman

    Unless the “Poles”of Chicago have a Polish passport they’re Americans. Same for the “Irish” in the US.

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  50. Anna

    You sound like a typical Brit. Many of them speak Polish and even if they didn’t, I know, I live here, (Chicago) grew up hearing the language everyday and I also lived in Poland where I ran into snobby British tourists like you acting like they know more about Polish culture than someone like me, all because they live closer, but really didn’t give a damn about Poland a week before their weekend getaway l. You don’t decide who is Polish and who is not. A passport is a man made piece of paper. I embrace my Polish heritage and I am also American
    Somebody who is not even Polish will not decide how should I identify myself.

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  52. Dave_in_Northridge

    Chicago? New York? Glendale, a suburb of Los Angeles, would be the second largest city in Armenia, and Los Amgeles has more Koreans than any city in the world beside Seoul.

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