The lost world of geography

In an age of globalisation and climate change, it's more vital than ever to understand our planet. Yet most of us are geographical illiterates. Jerome Taylor puts your knowledge to the test (answers below)
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The Independent Online

According to an Ofsted report published earlier this week, Britain's schoolchildren couldn't be less interested when it comes to geography. There are fears that boring lessons and teachers wary of field trips because of health and safety concerns are creating a generation of young people who are woefully unaware of the world around them.

When the National Geographic magazine conducted a survey of British schoolchildren two years ago, one fifth failed to locate the British Isles on a world map, and only a third could find the United States. One in 10 could not name a single continent. In 2002 Bradford even decided to open an embassy in London, so low was the city's opinion of the average Londoner's knowledge of the North. Yet geographers insist that, in an age of globalisation and climate change, their subject has never been more important. Hence this quiz. It's time to see how geographically literate you really are.

1. Which city, with a population of just 1,600, is the UK's smallest?

2. In which ocean would you find the Mariana Trench, 10,924 metres below sea level and the deepest place on earth?

3. Can you name this particular type of lake, which forms when a wide meander of a river is cut off and becomes a single body of water?

4. Worldwide, more people now live in cities than in the countryside. Is this statement true or false?

5. What is the name of the world's youngest mountain range, formed just 80 million years ago when the Indo-Australian and Eurasian plate crashed into each other?

6. After China and Russia, which nation borders the most other countries?

7. Can you name the four layers of the Earth?

8. Which highly flood-prone nation also has the highest population density of any country on earth?

9. Which of these nations does not incorporate a weapon into the design of its national flag: Kenya, Mozambique, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia?

10. Which of these countries does NOT lay claim to the Antarctic: UK, New Zealand, France, Norway, Finland, Australia, Chile or Argentina?

11. Is the Tropic of Cancer north or south of the Equator?

12. What is the name of the world's second highest mountain, and in which country it can be found?

13. Which is the world's tallest waterfall? And in which country would you find it?

14. China is the country with the largest number of time-zones: Is this statement true or false?

15. The Danube – the European Union's longest river – originates in Germany's Black Forest and empties into the Black Sea. How many countries does it travel through along its course?

16. True or false? The United Arab Emirates has the highest carbon emissions per capita.

17. Many people believe that the Cape of Good Hope is the southernmost point of Africa. They are wrong. Can you name the continent's official southernmost point, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet?

18. It was once one of the world's most important salt trading cities, entry into which was forbidden to non-Muslims. In which country will you now find Timbuktu?

19. Which of these four is NOT considered to be a greenhouse gas: methane, carbon, nitrogen and water vapour?

20. What is the world's most populous Muslim country: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India or Indonesia?

21. By 2020 Mumbai is expected to overtake Tokyo as the world's largest city. But how many people arrive there every day?

22. The Sahara may be the world's largest desert but what is the driest?

The Lost World of Geography - Answers

1. St David's; 2. Pacific; 3. Oxbow lake; 4. True; 5. Himalayas; 6. Brazil; 7. Crust, mantle, outer core, inner core; 8. Bangladesh; 9. Pakistan; 10. Finland; 11. North; 12. K2, Pakistan; 13. Angel Falls, Venezuela; 14. False (unlike most large countries China only has one time-zone (UTC+8). Russia on the other hand has 12 different time-zones); 15. 10; 17. Cirrus; 16. True; 17. Cape Agulhas; 18. A: Australia; B: New Zealand; C: Tuvalu; D Fiji; 21. Mali; 19. Nitrogen; 20. Indonesia; 21. 1,370; 22: Atacama