How well do you know your U.S. geography?

Maria Trimarchi

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

What's the northernmost state in the United States? You're right if you guessed Alaska. It's also the westernmost state -- but did you know it's the easternmost state, too? See how well you really know the physical features of the U.S.

Along which mountain range does the Continental Divide of the Americas (also called the Great Divide), run through the U.S.?

Beginning in northwestern Canada, the Western Continental Divide is an invisible line that runs south along the Rocky Mountains through the U.S., and then continues south, running along the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in Mexico.

The United States is two and a half times bigger than the countries that form Western Europe, but only slightly larger than China. It's half the size of which Eurasian country?

The U.S.landmass, at 3.7 million square miles, is about half the size of Russia, which measure 6.6 million square miles.

In which west coast state do the Santa Ana winds blow?

Utah, Nevada and Arizona between the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains is where these winds, known as "red winds," form. Warm, dry air blows down the mountains and into southern California.

The Eastern Continental Divide runs along the Appalachian Mountains, through which one of these states?

The ECD begins at the Twin Tiers of New York and runs south through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, both North and South Carolina, into Georgia (and right through the city of Atlanta), all the way to the most southern tip of Florida.

Which volcano do volcanologists consider the most dangerous in the U.S.?

Active since 1983, Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is considered the most dangerous in the U.S.

The United States is grouped into how many geographic regions?

There are five geographic regions in the U.S.: the northeast, southwest, west, southeast and midwest.

Is Washington, D.C., a city or a state?

Since it was founded in 1790, Washington, D.C., has been neither a city nor a state. It's a federal district (the D.C. stands for "District of Columbia") -- and the capital of the United States.

Which mountain range runs from Newfoundland (Canada) to Alabama, separating the East Coast from the western part of the country?

Although a small part of the Appalachian Mountain Range falls in southeastern Canada, most of the 1,500-mile chain falls in the United States. The Appalachian Trail, a 2,175-mile hiking trail, runs from Mount Katahdin, in Maine, south to Springer Mountain, in Georgia.

Which U.S. coastline is longest?

At 7,623 miles, the Pacific Coast, the longest U.S. seacoast, is more than 3 1/2 times longer than its opposite coast, the Atlantic.

What is the smallest state?

Wyoming may be the smallest state when it comes to population, but when you're talking land mass, Wyoming is the actually the 10th-biggest state. But, at just 48 miles long and 37 miles wide, Rhode Island is the smallest state (with more than 384 miles of coastline).

What's the highest peak in the lower 48?

While the top 10 highest summits in the U.S. are in Alaska, the tallest in the contiguous states, at 14,505 feet, is Mount Whitney, on the eastern side of California's Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The Mason-Dixon Line runs along the border of which two East Coast states?

The Mason-Dixon Line is a figurative line running along the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Over the 250 years since it was surveyed, it eventually became a symbol of the splintering between the Northern free states and the Southern slave states during the Civil War.

In which direction does the Mississippi flow?

The river originates in northern Minnesota and runs southward toward the Mississippi River Delta, at the Gulf of Mexico.

The Grand Canyon runs through Arizona and which of these southwestern states?

The Grand Canyon, which is deep enough to fit 19 stacked Statues of Liberty, fits entirely in Arizona.

Which of these states isn't one of the 10 that are part of the Great Plains?

States considered part of the Great Plains, a high plateau region east of the Rockies and west of the Mississippi River, include: Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.

Nevada is east of California, but which Nevada city is actually west of Los Angeles?

Reno, the "Biggest Little City in the World," is 300 miles from the Pacific Ocean, and a little more than 80 miles farther west than Los Angeles, California.

Back in 1812, three major 8.0-magnitude earthquakes struck the U.S. and caused which major river to flow backwards?

After a series of three major 8.0-magnitude earthquakes struck near Missouri in 1812, a phenomenon called a "fluvial tsunami" caused the Mississippi River to flow backward for several hours.

Which is not considered a major river in the U.S. landscape?

The Missouri River, the longest in North America, flows east and south for 2,341 miles. And, both the Colorado River, at 1,450-miles-long, and the 2,320-mile Mississippi River are two of the three major rivers in the U.S. But the Hudson River, which flows through New York, is just 315 miles long.

The northern border of the United States is shared with which country?

Canada is the United States' northern neighbor. The two countries share a 5,524 mile border. To the south, the U.S. shares a 1,989-mile border with Mexico.

In which state will you find the easternmost point on the U.S. East Coast?

The easternmost point in the 48 states is West Quoddy Head, in Quoddy Head State Park, in Lubec, Maine. Its lighthouse, West Quoddy Head Light Station, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Where the ocean meets land on the East Coast, what's the ocean?

The Atlantic Ocean, which covers about 20 percent of Earth's surface, borders the U.S. East Coast.

People from all over the world visit the largest natural stone bridge in the world, the Rainbow Bridge, in what U.S. state?

The Rainbow Bridge, found on the Colorado Plateau, is 290 feet above the ground and 275-feet across. More than 85,000 people from around the world visit Utah every year to see it.

Lincoln City, Oregon's D River rivals which of these other U.S. rivers as the shortest river in the world?

The Roe River, which flows between Giant Springs and the Missouri River near Great Falls, Montana, is world's shortest river (as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records). It's, at most, just 200 feet long, but has measures as little as 58 feet in length.

The oldest rock in the world is 3.8 billion years old, and is in the United States. You can find it in which Midwestern valley?

You'll find that 3.8 billion-year-old rock in the Minnesota River Valley, in Minnesota.

Which of the Great Lakes, which share a border with the U.S. and Canada, is the largest freshwater lake in the world?

Of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior -- at 31,820 square miles -- is the largest of the five and the largest freshwater lake in the world.

Where is the lowest elevation in the U.S.?

Unlike geographical phenomenons like the Grand Canyon, Death Valley isn't the result of river erosion. How, then, did it sink to 282 feet below sea level? Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park is the result of topographical movements in the Earth's crusts.

The Mammoth-Flint caves are the largest underground caves in the world. In which state will you find them?

The Mammoth-Flint caves, at 300 miles long, are the largest underground caves in Kentucky, and the world.

Which is not one of the major deserts in the U.S.?

The Chihuahuan Desert, Mohave Desert and Sonoran Desert, as well as the Great Basin Desert, are all part of the American West and Southwest. The Patagonian Desert, however, is a 200,000-square mile area in, primarily, Argentina.

Is it true that you can see Russia from Alaska?

Technically, yes, this is true. At their closest point, the U.S. island of Little Diomede is just two and a half miles from the Russian island of Big Diomede. There are other places for viewing Russia from Alaska, too, if you go to high ground.

The Aleutian Islands are part of the U.S. and what other country?

Some of the 14 larger volcanic islands and 55 smaller ones that make up the Aleutian Island chain belong to the United States (they're part of the state of Alaska), and some belong to Russia.

Where is the geographic center of the 50 states?

You'll find the geographic center of the 50 states is near Belle Fourche in Butte County, South Dakota. In the 48 states sharing a boundary, the center is near Lebanon in Smith County, Kansas. And the geographical center of North America? That's near Rugby, North Dakota.

What kind of ecosystem is the Chesapeake Bay?

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America. It's part of Maryland and Virginia, with more than 150 major rivers and streams flow into it.

The top 10 highest summits in the U.S. are all in Alaska. Which is the highest?

At 20,310 feet, Denali (formerly Mount McKinley), in the Alaska Range, is the highest elevation in Alaska and in the United States. Conversely, the lowest elevation in the state is sea level.

Which is not one of the six states that make up the New England region?

The six states that make up New England include: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. New York, which is a state in the Northeast, is not part of New England.

Which of these tropical wetlands is located in the southern part of Florida?

The Everglades, a watershed that accounts for about one-third of southern Florida, extends south from Lake Okeechobee into Florida Bay.

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