Only 9% of Americans Can Ace This World Geography Quiz. Can You?



By: Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Was geography a favorite subject of yours when you were a child? It was for a lot of us: Those two-dimensional maps hinted at a three-dimensional world of faraway lands, new languages, rare plants and animals and great, unknown cities. We loved to memorize the continents, the oceans and the capital cities.

But then life set in. In adult life, suddenly you're thinking more about your commute than about travel to faraway lands. So, before you know it, your world geography knowledge has atrophied. Are your sure you remember, for example, how many oceans the globe has, or how many continents? What is Australia anyway: a continent, a country, an island, or all three? If there's an "Antarctica," is there an "Arctica"? Is it a continent of its own?

Our quiz will test you on these things and more. Some political boundaries and country names have changed, so we'll make sure you're up on those. In addition, we cover mountain ranges, high plains, freshwater lakes and more. Come with us and take an armchair tour of Planet Earth. Maybe you'll discover that you're still a geography whiz, or perhaps you'll brush up on a forgotten topic. Either way, we think you'll have a good time!

How many oceans is the Earth considered to have?

They are the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Southern and Arctic. Of course, the boundaries are somewhat fluid: Earth's surface is more water than land.


Which of the Earth's oceans is the shallowest?

The Pacific is fairly shallow in places, too. Consider that all its island chains -- Polynesia and Micronesia -- are mountain ranges on the ocean floor that rise to break the surface.


Which of these mountain ranges is the western boundary of Siberia?

Siberia is a geographic region, not a political entity. In ancient times, it was very sparsely populated, probably due to the harsh climate. (It's not exactly crowded today).


Which country is home to the world's largest coral reef?

This is, of course, the Great Barrier Reef. It lies off the coast of Queensland.


Which of these nations shares a border with Russia and China?

Western peoples tend to know little about Mongolia. However, it has a fascinating history of military conquest, producing leaders like Tamerlane and Genghis Khan.


Which of these is the world's largest freshwater lake (by volume)?

Lake Baikal is located in Russia. It holds 5,670 cubic miles of water. That's *miles*, not feet!


Lake Baikal is also the world's _____ lake.

Lake Baikal was created by a rift valley and is over a mile deep. Its narrow depth is part of the reason it is only the world's seventh-largest lake by surface area.


Reykjavik is the capital of _____.

Iceland is hard to reach, being in the middle of the North Atlantic, and its capital is hard to pronounce. You're not making it easy for us, Icelanders!


The deepest part of any ocean is the Pacific's _____ Trench.

The Marianas Trench was named for the Marianas Islands, themselves named for a queen. In the Pacific near Guam, it is about 36,000 feet deep -- comparable to the altitude at which many planes fly above sea level.


Which of these countries does NOT contain some of the Himalaya range?

The Himalaya range is in Asia, including India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and China. Ecuador is in South America.


Which high mountain is also known as Sagarmatha and Chomolungma?

Everest, in Nepal, is about 29,000 feet tall. The name "Everest" is for an English explorer; it's been called by its Nepali and Tibetan names much longer.


Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in ________.

This lake, shared by Bolivia and Peru, also holds the distinction of being the world's highest navigable lake. Its elevation is about 12,000 feet above sea level.


In what country would you find the state of Guanajuato?

Guanajuato is home to the city of San Miguel de Allende. The city is a World Heritage Site, with beautiful architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries.


On what continent would you find the Barbary Coast?

The Barbary Coast was adopted from the name of a North African people, the Berbers. The coast of Morocco and Algeria makes up much of the Barbary Coast, a name applied by European sailors.


Which country claims the Falkland Islands as its own?

The Falklands lie off the coast of Argentina. The UK fought a brief and decisive war to retain them in 1982.


By what name are the Falklands known to Argentinians?

"Falkland" was a British secretary of the Navy who sponsored the islands' exploration. However, "Malvinas" isn't exactly an indigenous name: It's derived from the name "Iles Malouines," after a French port, St. Malo, at which a French exploration originated.


On what island would you find Mt. Etna?

Sicily is a politically independent region of Italy, though not part of its mainland. That triangular land mass that the "boot" of Italy appears to be kicking? That's Sicily.


"Patagonia" is a South American _____.

Patagonia is a general region, like the "Great Plains" in the United States. It is the southern part of the South American continent, within the political boundaries of Chile and Argentina.


Which of these rivers are found in China?

You're more likely to have heard of the Yangtze. But China's Yellow River is the sixth-longest in the world overall -- not too shabby!


Which nation owns/administrates Easter Island?

Easter Island is a considerable distance from Chile, deep in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is nonetheless a Chilean holding, and its Spanish name is "Isla de Pascua."


Where would you find the state of Goa?

Goa is a state on India's western coast. Tourists flock to it for its beaches.


Which sea is also known as the Sea of Oman?

The Arabian Sea is part of the northern Indian Ocean. It is bounded mainly by Saudi Arabia to the west and India to the east.


In what country (mainly) would you find the Altiplano?

Bolivia's Altiplano ("high plain") is partly shared by Peru and Chile. It is the world's highest plains region outside Tibet.


Which islands are NOT located in the Indian Ocean?

The Azores are in the Atlantic Ocean, west of Portugal. They are known for being the location where the Mary Celeste was found unmanned, but completely undamaged. What became of her crew has never been discovered.


Nova Scotia was named for what country?

As the second word of its name suggests, Scotland was the namesake. "Nova Scotia" is "New Scotland" in Latin.


Java is a/an _____.

Java is the most populated island of the nation of Indonesia. And, of course, a fantastic variety of coffee.


The Zambezi River is best known for its waterfall, the _____ Falls.

The Victoria Falls have a name that means "smoke that thunders" in the Tonga language. But British explorer David Livingstone gave them the English name "Victoria," after the queen.


Which of these is the world's largest island?

If you said "none of these," you might have been thinking of Australia. But Australia is considered a continent, not an island. Were it possible to be both, Africa would take top honors.


Which nation administrates Greenland?

"Administrates" is a nicer way to say "controls politically." You'll also see "protectorate" used for some territories.


Which nation administrates Iceland?

Icelanders answer only to Icelanders! Though they're awfully dependent on tourism, so if everybody stopped visiting, they'd be in a hard place.


Which of these is best described as a city-state?

Singapore is essentially a city, but an independent state as well. It is the crossroads of Southeast Asia, and home to some seriously great food.


Where would you find Baffin Island?

Baffin Island is part of northern Canada. It's one of the world's largest islands, though not the largest.


Nunavut is the newest territory in _____.

Nunavut used to be part of Canada's Northwest Territories. It is now a separate political entity, thanks to a 1991 act of Parliament.


The ancient city of Carthage would lie within what modern-day nation?

Carthage was a North African city famous for its enmity with Rome, and its military leader Hannibal. Nowadays, you'll hear people say "Carthago delenda est" to indicate a political or business rival needs to be thoroughly defeated. (It's Latin for "Carthage must be destroyed.")


The island of Honshu is part of which nation?

Honshu is the large island which is home to Tokyo and Kyoto. Altogether, though, the Japanese archipelago makes up more than 5,000 islands.


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