The Raven Journal poses a question with each emailed newsletter.
Question: What is the name of the highest point in the US Rocky Mountains, and which state is it in?
Answer: Mt. Elbert in Colorado with an altitude of 14,440' is the highest point in the Rockies.
Question: What is the only independent country in the world that has a country-wide
elevation that doesn't dip below 1000 meters (about 3,281')?
Answer: Lesotho in southern Africa has the "highest low point" (4,593') of any country in the world.*
* Thanks to AJB for this question
Question: Can you name the 5 largest US states in order of size?
Answer: Alaska (665,384 sq. mi.), Texas (268,596 sq. mi.), California (163,694 sq.mi.), Montana (147,039 sq. mi.), New Mexico (121,590 sq.mi.).
Question: Which of these countries is not on the Equator: Kenya, Australia, Brazil, or Indonesia?
Question: Which is the southernmost state in the United States?
Answer: The southernmost state is Hawaii at Ka Lae (18 degrees 55 minutes north.)
Question: What is the common name for the hot wind that blows northward from the Sahara to the Northern Mediterranean coastal areas?
Answer: Sirocco is the most common name, though jugo and siroc are also names for the wind.
Question: Which state is bordered by Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico?
Question: What are the highest mountains in Africa and Australia?
Answer: Mount Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano in Tanzania, is the tallest in Africa at 19,341', and Mount Kosciuszko is mainland Australia's highest mountain at 7,310' above sea level.
Question: According to the United Nations, what are the top 5 countries most visited by tourists?
Answer: In 2017, France saw 86.9 million visitors. Spain was the second-most popular destination with 81.8 million, followed by the United States (76.9 million), China (60.7 million), and Italy (58.3 million).
Question: Once the Constitution was ratified, what city was the first capital of the United States?
Answer: New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790. It has been the country's largest city since 1790.
Question: In which US state was the last active diamond mine located?
Answer: Although millions of carats of diamonds are purchased each year in the United States, very few diamonds are domestically produced. The last active diamond mine in the country is in the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. For a fee, you can enter the mine and keep any diamonds that you might find.
Question: About how long is the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and what is its highest point?
Answer: The Sierra Nevada Range is about 400 miles long, and Mt. Whitney (14,505') is the highest point not only in California, but in the contiguous 48 states.
Answer: The top 3 are: Denali (20,310') in Alaska, Mount Logan(19,551') in Canada's Yukon Territory, and Pico de Orizaba (18,491') in Mexico.Question: The geographic center of North America is in what state?
Answer: The geographic center of North America is near Rugby, North Dakota.
Question: In 1939, the country of Siam officially changed its name to what?
Answer: Thailand, although Thailand was renamed Siam from 1946 to 1948, after which it again reverted to "Thailand".
Question: Which are the top 3 states of the contiguous 48 states that have the greatest percentage of water area?
Answer: Michigan (41.5%), Rhode Island (33.1%), and Massachusetts (26.1%).
Question: Washington is the US's largest producer of 4 fruit crops. How many of them can you name?
Answer: The state is the US's largest producer of apples, pears, red raspberries, and sweet cherries, and ranks high in the production of apricots and grapes.
Question: Which area on Earth is known for the first domestication of the potato?
Answer: The potato was first domesticated in southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia.
Question: With which area of the world is the Basque Nation traditionally associated?
Answer: They live in a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.
Question: Which explorer named the Pacific Ocean?
Answer: In the 16th century, Magellan named the ocean the Pacific due to the calmness of the water.
Question: Which state on the Atlantic coast is closest to California?
Answer: The closest state is Florida.
Question: The Great Wall of China was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Although the wall is not continuous, about how many miles of construction are involved?
Answer: The wall has been under construction since the 7th century BC, and now is about 13,000 miles long.
Question: Which desert (hint: about 600 miles long) is commonly known as the driest non-polar place in the world?
Answer: West of the Andes Mountains and primarily in Chile, the Atacama Desert is the driest non-polar place in the world
Question: What are the top three countries in size entirely in the southern hemisphere?
Answer: In order of size: Australia (2,969,907 sq.miles), Argentina (1,073,500 sq.miles), and Angola (481,400 sq.miles).
Question: Which states originally donated land to help form Washington DC?
Answer: Maryland and Virginia.
Question: Which is the freshwater lake with the greatest surface area in the world?
Answer: Lake Superior, on the United States/Canada border, is named the freshwater lake with the greatest surface area at 31,700 square miles.
Question: How many of the eight countries that have land within the Arctic Circle can you name?
Answer: The land within the Arctic Circle is divided among eight countries: Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the United States (Alaska), Canada (Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut), Denmark/Greenland, and Iceland (where it passes through the small offshore island of Grímsey).
Question:Which state is bordered by two parallel rivers: the Mississippi and the Missouri?
Question: Which European River touches more countries than any other river in the world?
Answer: The Danube River passes through or touches the borders of 10 countries: Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia, Ukraine, and Moldova.
Question: On December 7, 1787, which of the original 13 colonies became the first state to officially join the Union?
Answer: The first state to join the union was Delaware, followed closely by Pennsylvania, and then New Jersey.
Question: Who are the only two presidents born west of Texas?
Answer: Richard Nixon, January 9, 1913 in Yorba Linda, California, and Barack Obama, August 8, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Question: Which is the smallest state by area and which is the smallest state by population?
Answer: Rhode Island is the smallest state at about 1,214 square miles, and Wyoming has the smallest population count at approximately 577,737.
Question: Which is the only Great Lake that is located entirely within the US border?
Answer: Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes that is entirely within the US. The others form a water boundary between the United States and Canada.
Question: Can you name the seven countries that comprise Central America?
Answer: The seven countries are Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and Nicaragua.
Question: Which Canadian Province or Territory is both the newest and the largest?
Answer: The largest (787,155 sq.miles) and newest (officially separated from the Northwest Territories on 4/1/1999) Territory is Nunavut.
Question: What is the name of the longest continental mountain range on Earth, and about how long is it?
Answer: At 4,300 miles long, the Andes Mountains are the longest continental mountain range in the world.
Question: Asia has the largest population of all the continents on Earth. Can you put the rest of the continents in order by population?
Answer: Although the numbers can fluctuate depending on the report, the general consensus is: Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Oceania, and Antarctica.
Question: The cardinal direction that most of the major rivers in the Great Plains of the US flow is...?Answer: Most of the major rivers in the Great Plains flow east.
Question: What is the name of the highest mountain peak in North America, and what is its elevation?
Answer: Denali (formerly Mount McKinley) is 20,310'.
Question: At one time, Sweden, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, and Greenland were are under the rule of which country?
Question: Ceylon is the former name of what country?Answer: Sri Lanka
Question: Which country has the highest average elevation in the world: A. Bhutan, B. Tajikistan, or C. Nepal?
Answer: A. Bhutan (10,760), then C. Nepal (10,715), and third is B. Tajikistan (10,455').
Question: Angel Falls, the world's highest uninterrupted waterfall, is 3,212' high. In which country is it located?
Answer: Angel Falls is located in Venezuela.
Question: What is the only Southeast Asian country never colonized by Europeans?
Question: As of 2018, what are the top six most populated states in the US?
Answer: In order of population, they are California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.
Question: About what percent of the earth's fresh water is frozen in the ice sheet of Antarctica?
Answer: About 61% of our fresh water is frozen in the ice sheet in Antarctica.
Question: About how long is the Panama Canal ?Answer: It is 51 miles long.
Question: Which capital city in Europe has the highest elevation?
Answer: At 3,356' above sea level, Andorra la Vella, capital of Andorra, is the highest capital city in Europe.
Question: What was the first year that Earth Day used the Internet as its principal organizing tool?
Question: What are the highest and lowest places in the 48 states?
Question: Which state was the last contiguous state to be admitted to the Union?
Answer: Arizona, which was admitted on February 14, 1912.
Question: In what year were the residents of Washington DC granted the right to vote in Presidential elections ?
Answer: In 1960, the 23rd Constitutional amendment granted the residents of DC the right to vote in Presidential elections. The amendment was ratified in 1961.
Question: At Earth's equator, the speed of Earth's spin is about how many miles per hour ?
Answer: At the Equator, the Earth's spin is about 1000 miles per hour.
Answer: The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops of some Native American groups in North America: maize (corn), winter squash, and climbing beans. Read more about Three Sisters here.
Answer: New Hampshire has just 13 miles of saltwater coastline.
Answer: In general, deserts receive less than 10" of precipitation per year.
Question: What is the only country situated within all 4 hemispheres?
Question: The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of how many member states?
Answer: As of this writing, there are 28 member states. (February, 2019)
Question: What is the flattest state in the US?Answer: Florida, whose highest point is Britton Hill at 345' and whose lowest point is the Atlantic Ocean, is the flattest state.
Question: Alaska, at 71°50'N, is the northernmost state in the US. Can you name the second?
Answer: Minnesota is the second at 49° 23′ N.
Question: What is the most visited National Park in the United States?
Answer: With more than 11 million visitors in 2016, Great Smoky Mountains National Park sits at the number one spot.
Question: Who was president of the US when the Louisiana Purchase was made?
Answer: The Louisiana Purchase (about 828,000 sq mi) occurred in 1803, when Thomas Jefferson was our third president.
Question: The only Canadian Province that borders the Great Lakes is...?
Answer: The only province is Ontario.
Question: Russia, with 6,601,670 sq.mi., is the largest country in the world. Which country is second?
Answer: In terms of total area, Canada, with 3,855,100 sq.mi. is second. Antarctica, with 5,400,000 sq.mi., is a continent, but not a country. China is third.
Question: About how long is the world's longest above-water mountain range, and where is it located?
Answer: The Andes Mountains, located on the west coast of South America, is about 4300 miles long. It runs north to south through seven countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.
Question: Which state, if it were a sovereign nation, would be ranked as the world's fifth largest economy?
Answer: California's 2017 Gross State Product was $2.747 trillion, surpassing the United Kingdom's $2.625 trillion Gross Domestic Product.
Which country is the world's leading producer of gold?
Answer: China (440 metric tons) leads the world, followed by Australia (330). Russia and the US are very close, with around 255 for Russia and 245 for the US.
Question: What are the two smallest countries in the world?
Answer: Vatican City is 0.17 sq. miles, and Monaco is 0.78 sq. miles. Additionally, Monaco, at a population of over 38,000 is the most densely populated country.
Question: What is the largest island in Europe?
Answer: Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales), at 80,823 sq miles, is the largest. It is followed by Iceland (40,000 sq. mi.) and Ireland (32,595 sq. mi.).
Question: What is the southernmost state in the United States?
Answer: Hawaii, with a latitude from 18° 55′ N to 28° 27′ N.
Question: What are the top 3 longest river systems in the world?
Answer: 1. Amazon (Ucayali, Tambo, Ene, Apurimac) 4,345 miles, 2. Nile (Kagera) 4,258 miles, 3. Yangtze (Chan Jiang, Long River) 3,917 miles.
Question: The San Francisco Bay drains water from about what percent of California?
Answer: The Bay receives water from about 40% of California, primarily from these rivers:
Sacramento, San Joaquin, Petaluma, Napa, and the Guadalupe.
Question: The surface of which lake is actually the Earth's lowest elevation on land?
Answer: At 1,412' below sea level, the surface of the Dead Sea, which is by definition a lake, is the Earth's lowest spot on land.
Question: Which National Park has all 5 vowels (excluding y and w) in its name?Answer: Sequoia. PS - thanks to an observant reader who noticed that The Great Smoky Mountains has all 5 plus a y!
Question: About how long is the Appalachian Trail?
Answer: The trail is about 2,200 miles long.
Question: The city of Rugby claims to be the geographic center of North America. In which state or province is it located?
Answer:Rugby, North Dakota
Question: Which state has the highest and which has the lowest population in the U.S.?
Answer: California (approx. 39,537,000) and Wyoming (approx. 579,000).
Question: Can you name all of the original 13 colonies?
Answer: Using the state names as we know them today: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
Question: What are the two most abundant elements in the earth's crust?
Answer: Oxygen 46.6%, Silicon 27.7%, with Aluminum 8.1% and Iron 5% as the next two.
Question: Four state capitals end in the word "City". Can you name them?
Answer: Carson City, Nevada - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - Jefferson City, Missouri - Salt Lake City, Utah
Question: Which state derives its nickname from having joined the US one hundred years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence?
Answer: The Centennial State: Colorado.
Answer: That president would be Theodore Roosevelt, in office 1901-1909.
Answer: Attu Island is the westernmost point of Alaska
Question: How many states does the Mississippi River either touch or run through?
Answer: The river either touches or passes through ten states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Question: Where is the deepest river chasm (gorge) in North America?
Answer: Hell's Canyon along the Oregon-Idaho-Washington border is 7993' deep. The Grand Canyon, by comparison, is about a mile deep.
Question: What are the three largest islands (by area) in the world?
Question: Which U.S. state is known as The Prairie State, and which is The Land of Enchantment?
Answer: Illinois is The Prairie State, and New Mexico is The Land of Enchantment.
Question: In April of 1964, which two African countries merged to become Tanzania?
Answer: Tanganyika and Zanzibar
Question: Mesopotamia was a historical region whose name meant "between two rivers". To which two rivers does the name refer?
Answer: Mesopotamia was located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
Question: Where is the largest land area in the U.S. retained by a Native American tribe?
Answer: The Navajo Nation has the largest reservation in the country. The reservation straddles the Four Corners region and covers more than 27,000 square miles of land.
Question: How many U.S. state names are only one syllable?
Answer: Only one: Maine.
Question: California contains the lowest place in North America: Badwater Basin in Death Valley. About how many feet below sea level is it?
Answer: Badwater Basin is 282' below sea level.
Question: Which state is known as the Gem State?
Answer: Idaho is the Gem State.
Question: Africa's most populous country is: Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, or Egypt?
Answer: The most populous country in Africa is Nigeria (181,563,000), and the second most populous is Ethiopia (103,764,000).
Question: Which state has only 6 sides, all of which are quite straight ?
Answer: Utah is the state.
Question : About how long are the Rocky Mountains from northern British Columbia to New Mexico?
Question: Which of these countries is NOT on the Equator: Brazil, Australia, Kenya, or Indonesia?
Answer: Australia is not on the Equator.
Question: Canada is divided into 10 provinces and 3 territories. How many of these can you name?
Question: Mt. Etna, a stratovolcano in Italy, is one of the most active volcanoes on Earth. Do you know where in Italy it is located?
Answer: It is on the northeastern side of the island of Sicily.
In the Near East and northern Africa, the term wadi means: a. oasis, b. valley, c. plateau, d. mountain peak.Answer - Wadi means valley, and in some cases, it may refer to a dry riverbed that occasionally fills with water during a heavy rainy season.
Question: What is a narrow landform, with water on both sides, connecting two larger land areas called?
Answer: An isthmus.
Question: With which six states does Idaho share a border?
Answer: Idaho shares its border with Washington and Oregon to the west, Montana and Wyoming to the east (and southeast), and Nevada and Utah to the south
Question: Which river flows through 10 countries, more than any other river in the world?
Answer: It is called a caldera.
Answer: That state is Nevada.
Answer: The most abundant element in the earth's crust is oxygen.
Answer: That South American country is Chile
Answer: The Appalachian Trail (approximately 2,190 miles long) travels through 14 states, beginning in Georgia and ending in Maine.
Question: Can you name a canal whose construction began in Rome?
Answer: A canal whose construction began in Rome, New York, was the Erie Canal.
Answer: The southernmost place is Hilo, Hawaii.
Answer: The pole of inaccessibility (location that is the most challenging to reach due to its remoteness from geographical features that could provide access) in North America is about 7 miles north of Allen, South Dakota.
Answer: California's Death Valley:1. On July 10, 1913, a record high 134° F was recorded 2. Badwater Basin in Death Valley is 282' below sea level 3. With several mountain ranges between Death Valley and the ocean, it lies in a severe rain shadow and receives an annual rainfall of about 1.5".
Answer - Georgia is the largest state entirely east of the Mississippi River in land area, although Michigan is the largest if water is included in size.
Answer - The only state flag in the United States that is not rectangular is the state flag of Ohio.
Answer - As they are commonly referred to today, the 13 Original colonies are: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
Answer - All 54* countries in Africa are in the African Union
*This includes all internationally recognized territories and states on the continent by the UN and the African Union.
Which is the largest Scandinavian country in square miles?
Answer - At 173,860 square miles, Sweden is the largest. Norway is second with 148,718, and Denmark is third at 16,576.
Which states have the lowest and the highest average rainfall per year?
Answer - Hawaii has the highest at 63.70", and Nevada has the lowest at 9.54".
What do the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn represent?
Answer - According to Wikipedia - “The Tropic of Cancer is currently 23°26′13.3″ north of the Equator. It is the most northerly circle of latitude on the Earth at which the Sun can be directly overhead. The Tropic of Capricorn is 23° 26′ 22″ south of the Equator. It marks the most southerly latitude at which the sun can appear directly overhead.”
Which state is home to the highest point (6,684') east of the Mississippi River?
Answer - Located in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, Mount Mitchell is the highest US mountain east of the Mississippi River.
What is the course or direction of flow of most Russian rivers?
Answer - Most Russian rivers flow north, eventually into the Arctic Ocean.
What is the longest mountain range on the earth?
Answer - The mid-ocean ridges of the world are connected and form a
continuous mountain range over 40,000 miles long. The world's longest
above-ground mountain range is the Andes (4,300 miles long)
Which state has the highest mean elevation, and which state has the lowest mean elevation?
Answer: Colorado has the highest mean elevation (6,800'), and Delaware has the lowest (60').
The town of Rugby in which state is considered to be the "Geographic Center of the North American Continent"?
Answer: North Dakota