5 Geographical Misconceptions about the World

5 Geographical Misconceptions about the World

5 Geographical Misconceptions about the World
Image Credits: Earth.com

Our basic geographical knowledge is the same as everyone around us. However, it is true that our perception of the world map is rife with inaccuracies. We do not even bother to correct them because they don’t affect us directly. Let’s take a look at five geographical misconceptions that you probably didn’t know of.

Australia is Quite Empty

Australia is Quite Empty - Geographical Misconceptions

The Land Down Under is one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world. Many people believe that it can be compared to some of the emptiest and most inhospitable areas, like Mongolia.

Australia is just as developed as the US and has an area similar to the contiguous US. Australia only has a population density of 5 people per square mile. That’s because the entire population of Australia actually lives on the coasts due to the inhospitable climate of inner parts. The Australian government has acknowledged that the low density is a problem. Therefore, they are trying to turn many areas into thriving towns.

Only a Small Part of Iran is a Dry and Arid Desert

Only a Small Part of Iran is a Dry and Arid Desert - Geographical Misconceptions

When someone mentions the Middle East, a plethora of misconceptions hit us. The vast region is home to countless ethnicities, cuisines, and lifestyles. One of the most common geographical misconceptions is that Iran is a desert nation.

Most of us imagine unending views of sand dunes and camel safaris to distant oases, whenever we think of Iran. Well, it’s not your fault because that’s how it’s portrayed in the popular western media. While Iran does have deserts, they are nowhere as big as we think.

Only about 22% of Iran’s land is a desert. To put that into perspective, China has 28% of its land covered with sand. Despite that, no one classifies China as a desert nation.

Europe is a Lot Closer to the Arctic than the USA

Europe is a Lot Closer to the Arctic than USA - Geographical Misconceptions

To most people, Europe seems to be closer to the US, than the Arctic. Ask anyone whether London or New York is closer to the Arctic, the answer would (most probably) favor the latter. The fact that the average temperature of New York (in the winters) is around 10 degrees lower than the London also suggests its proximity to the Arctic.

However, this is another one of those common geographical mistakes no one seems to correct. It’s not that ridiculous, though, once you actually see the map. New York is on almost the same latitude as Azerbaijan, which – as you’d have noticed – is quite far from London. Seeing the map in 2D and then in 3D creates irregularities in the overall position of places.

Humans Don’t Really Understand the Size of the Pacific Ocean

Humans Don’t Really Understand the Size of the Pacific Ocean

When cartographers first started mapping the world, they took a lot of liberties in their calculations. Cultural prejudices and lack of proper equipment are a couple of them. Whatever the reasons may be, many of these geographical misconceptions have been cleared up.

This discrepancy is most acute in the case of the Pacific Ocean, which is perhaps the least explored ocean in the world. It covers a copious amount of the Earth’s surface. According to an estimate, about 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. The Pacific Ocean covers a whopping 33% of it.

The deepest part of this ocean has been visited only four times. By contrast, we have been to space over five hundred times.

The Third Route around the World

The Third Route around the World

Flying from the US to any country on the other side of the world provides you with two options. Depending on your location, it could either be across the Atlantic or the other side via the Pacific. The latter is almost always a longer option, as the Pacific Ocean is ludicrously vast.

Basically, we think of the world map in two dimensions. However, if we look at the map with a 3D perspective, there is another way around the world. Surprisingly, it is actually shorter than the usual previous two routes.

This flight path will take you over the Arctic if you’re lucky enough to experience it. This route is two hours faster than the rest and is one of the most scenic ones. There is nothing better than to witness the unexplored wilderness of the Arctic from an airplane.

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