How Well Do You Know the Bodies of Water in the US?

Maria Trimarchi

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

From the largest oceans to the smallest brooks and streams, there are thousands of bodies of water around the world. From the California to the New York island, the Redwood Forest, to the gulf stream waters, how well do you know the bodies of water from sea to shining sea?

More than 50 cities rely on what river for their daily water supply?

It flows 2,350 miles from Lake Itasca through the continental U.S. and into the Gulf of Mexico -- and that makes it the second longest river in North America. And according to the Environmental Protection Agency, along the way the Mississippi River supplies daily water to more than 50 cities.

Which Great Lake is so great all of the four other Great Lakes -- plus some -- would fit inside it?

Lake Superior, one of the five Great Lakes, is the world's largest freshwater lake -- and is so great it behaves like an inland sea rather than a lake. Of all five of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior could hold all the others combined, plus three more Lake Eries.

Which river, nicknamed "Big Muddy," is the longest river in North America?

The Missouri River, nicknamed the "Big Muddy," is the longest river in North America. It flows through Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and into Missouri where it meets with the Mississippi River near St. Louis.

Recite, "Patience, Prudence, Hope and Despair. And the little Hog over there," to memorize the names of the islands in what New England Bay?

There are more than 30 islands in Narragansett Bay, which opens to Rhode Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. There's a trick to remembering the names the early colonists gave to the islands: "Patience, Prudence, Hope and Despair. And the little Hog over there."

What river is the largest roosting area for the bald eagle, on the Eastern seaboard?

The James River in Virginia is the largest roosting area for bald eagles on the Eastern seaboard. It's also the largest river in the state. And if that's not all, it's also the largest tributary flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.

Parts of which lake are 10 times saltier than the ocean?

The Great Salt Lake in Utah is the largest salt lake in the Western hemisphere, and it's 10 times saltier than the ocean. Although its size varies as its water level rise and fall, the lake is bigger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island.

Which river passes through the Grand Canyon?

It may not be the longest in the country, but the Colorado River Basin spans roughly 8 percent of the continental U.S. It passes through seven states -- and the Grand Canyon.

Puget Sound, which is the second-largest estuary in the U.S., is located in what state?

Originally called "Whulge" by the Puget Salish tribes, it was a British navigator named George Vancouver who first called it "Puget Sound" in 1792. It has 2,500 miles of shoreline and spans 1.6 million acres along the northwestern coast of Washington state.

Which lake is nicknamed "Florida's Inland Sea"?

Lake Okeechobee locally referred to as "The Lake", "Florida's Inland Sea," or "The Big O", is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida.

Which is the deepest lake in the United States?

Crater Lake, 1,949 feet at its maximum depth, is the deepest lake in the country. It's known not only for its clear, blue water, but for the Old Man of the Lake, a full-grown tree (now a stump) that's been bobbing for more than 100 years. The lake has two small islands, Wizard Island and Phantom Ship, as well.

When it comes to how much water it can hold, which is the largest reservoir in the U.S.?

Twenty million people -- and swaths of farms -- across Arizona, California, and Nevada depend on Lake Mead for their water. It's formed by the Hoover Dam, and only about 24 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

Which sea is located directly over the San Andreas Fault in California?

There's an estimated 500 million tons of salt in the Salton Sea. The rift is shallow, sometimes as shallow as a swimming pool, but it's 15 times bigger than Manhattan Island. It's located in California's Coachella and Imperial Valleys, and sits directly on the San Andreas Fault.

What color is Lake Tahoe, a freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada?

The Lake Tahoe area, in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, is known for its sunshine -- 274 days a year. The clear, cobalt blue lake sits mostly in California, and a little in Nevada.

Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondacks is the source of which river?

It begins as Feldspar Brook where it originates at Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondacks of New York, and flows to the Atlantic Ocean between New York City and Jersey City. It's lined with numerous well-known landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island.

What canyon was flooded to create Lake Powell, which straddles Utah and Arizona?

Lake Powell was created in 1963 with the flooding of Glen Canyon and the creation of Glen Canyon Dam. It's the second-largest man-made lake in the country, although just the 20th when counted by volume.

Which is the most polluted river in the United States?

The Ohio River runs through or borders six states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. And for the last decade, it's been rated the most polluted river in the country, mainly due to its perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) content from an outflow pipe from the DuPont chemical company, beginning in the 1950s.

Which of the Great Lakes is home to a "monster" named Bessie?

As the legend goes, Nessie's cousin, "Bessie," a 30- to 40-foot-long "monster," lives in Lake Erie. Although the earliest recorded sighting may be in the 18th century, the legend seems to begin at the end of the 19th century in Lorain, Ohio, which is located at the mouth of the Black River on Lake Erie.

Which is known as the "Nation's River"?

George Washington's home, called Mount Vernon, is on the banks of the Potomac River. It flows through West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and splits around Washington, DC to form (at least part of) the border between our capital and Virginia on the left and Maryland and Virginia on the city's right.

Which is not known on the list of the most polluted lakes in the U.S., or designated as a "Superfund site"?

Lake Erie was famous for its industrial pollution in the 1960s and 1970s. Similarly, Onondaga Lake, a Superfund site since 1994, is slowly making a comeback, but was once known as the most polluted lake in the country. The Love Canal, too, is a Superfund cleanup operation. But Yellowstone Lake, in Wyoming, is clear -- and cold, too (it's frozen for about half of the year).

Which island is not located in New York City's East River?

Rikers Island, well-known as the place where New York City's main jail complex is located, is a roughly 413-acre island that sits between Queens and the Bronx. Roosevelt Island is a narrow island that also sits in the East River. Mill Rock, which is uninhabited, sits between Manhattan and Queens. Maui, however, is located on the opposite side of the country -- it's one of the six major Hawaiian Islands.

Which lake is nicknamed the "Queen of American Lakes"?

Lake Luzerne isn't actually a lake -- it's a town in New York. Lake Minnetonka, too, isn't an actual lake, although you may recognize the name from the movie, "Purple Rain." And Lake Ogre-chobee, this one's a fictional landmark created by author Piers Anthony. It's Lake George, a long, narrow body of water in the Adirondack Mountains, that's nicknamed the Queen of American Lakes.

Fender guitars named a guitar color, a shade of blue, after what lake?

When it comes to Fender blue, "Placid Blue" and "Lake Placid Blue" aren't the same color. "Lake Placid Blue," often shortened to LPB, was a custom color -- an already-existing metallic blue automobile paint that was then finished with an acrylic lacquer top coat. It became available on Fender guitars beginning in 1960.

Block Island Sound is mentioned in which singer's song, "The Downeaster Alexa"?

It was Billy Joel who sang, "Well I'm on the Downeaster Alexa, And I'm cruising through Block Island Sound, I have charted a course to the vineyard, But tonight I am Nantucket bound ..." in his song, "The Downeaster Alexa." Block Island is off the coast of Rhode Island.

Which strait sits between the United States and Russia?

The Bering Strait is located between the United States and Russia, at the northern edges of the Bering Sea -- and at its narrowest point is just a little more than 50 miles wide. There are two islands in the middle, one called Big Diomede (which is part of Russia) and the other called Little Diomede (which is part of the U.S.). Less than three miles apart from each other, if you lived on Little Diomede you could see Russia from your house.

Which of these three falls that makeup Niagara Falls isn't located in the U.S.?

American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls both sit on the U.S. side of Niagara Falls. But Horseshoe Falls, also known as Canadian Falls, is on the Canadian side of the boundary line -- and it's also the falls that are responsible for most (90 percent) of the hydropower generated by the nearby power plant.

Wailua River, the largest navigable river in Hawaii, is found on which of the state's islands?

Opaekaa Falls and Wailua Falls, two of the most popular waterfalls on Kauai, are fed by the Wailua River. The 20-mile-long river the largest navigable river in Hawaii, and originates from Mount Waialeale in the center of the island.

You can find the Kennedy Space Center on which Florida lagoon?

You'll find the Kennedy Space Center on Mosquito Lagoon, which is located in East Central Florida. The lagoon is also a red drum fishing habitat.

In 1967, London Bridge was dismantled and relocated from the River Thames in London to which Arizona town named for the lake it's on?

Lake Havasu City was built on the shores of Lake Havasu, which sits between Arizona and California. It's home to America's London Bridge, which was relocated from the River Thames in 1967 and completed (in addition to a new canal) in 1971.

You'll find which body of water, known as "The Magic Dragon" and home to Party Cove, in Missouri?

The Lake of the Ozarks is a reservoir that's more like a twisting river than a lake. It's a popular spot for vacationers, and the state of Missouri estimates Party Cove attracts up to 3,000 boats over the Fourth of July.

Which is the deepest fjord in the U.S.?

Outside of those in Greenland, and there are plenty in Greenland, the deepest fjord in North America is Lynn Canal -- and even among those in Greenland, it's one of the deepest and longest worldwide. It's an inlet into Alaska, and runs about 90 miles between the Chilkat River and Stephens Passage.

What is the name of the tidal strait that separates the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island?

The Narrows, a tidal strait, is the waterway that connects the Upper New York Bay and the Lower New York Bay, and historically it's been the maritime gateway to the Ports of New York and New Jersey. It's also what's separating Staten Island and Brooklyn, in New York City.

Which is the only Great Lake with its borders entirely within the U.S.?

All of Lake Michigan, its 22,300 square miles of surface water and 1,600 miles of shoreline, lies entirely within the United States. Without the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Michigan with Lake Heron, the two Great Lakes would, hydrologically speaking, actually be one big lake.

At what lake will you find the world's largest cypress forest?

On the border of Louisiana and Texas you'll find a forest of bald trees covered with Spanish moss. These protected wetlands are Caddo Lake, which is a lake and bayou. Know before you go: There have been several Bigfoot sightings in the area, and watch out for alligators.

Which saltwater bay is part of the largest man-made aquatic park in the country?

Mission Bay is located just south of Pacific Beach, a community in San Diego, California. Over the years it's become part of Mission Bay Park, the largest man-made recreational aquatic park in the U.S.

Known as "Death's Door," this strait links the waters of Lake Michigan and which else?

For centuries Porte des Morts, or "Death's Door," has held a reputation for having rough waters, strong currents and many shipwrecks. The strait links the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

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