This is Geography Awareness Week, so be aware that this planet of ours is a pretty fascinating place, where not everything is as it seems.
For example, we’ve long known that the tallest mountain on earth is Mount Everest, in the Himalayas. Officially it’s 29,029 feet tall, though there’s periodically some debate about whether that number is perfectly accurate.
Nonetheless, it’s the highest of all Earth mountains, no exceptions. Except for the exceptions, that is.
There is a mountain that is a higher point on earth than Everest: Mount Chimborazo, in central Ecuador.
It’s 20,702 feet tall.
I know, I know, 20,000 feet is not as tall as 29,000 feet. So how is it that a mountain that’s almost two miles shorter is a higher point?
Because of the shape of the earth, which is pretty close to round, with a bulge around the equator.
Mount Everest is around the same latitude as parts of Texas and Florida, firmly ensconced in the Northern Hemisphere.
But Mount Chimborazo is in Ecuador, by the equator.
It’s right where earth’s dad bod is at its bulgiest.
It wouldn’t come close to Everest if the two mountains were side by side on a flat surface, but they’re not on a flat surface.
So Mount Chimborazo is actually closer to the moon and outer space than Everest is.
If that story doesn’t create a little geographical awareness, I don’t know what will.
You can look up just about every spot on Earth on sites like Google Maps, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll show up correctly.
For a long time the community of New Baltimore, New York showed up in map searches with a spooky purple tinge to it.
The pictures looked like the place you’d run away from a movie monster; only to be caught in the end anyway.
I mean, it could have also been caused by corrupted digital image files, but I like to think there’s just a lot of weirdness in the air and sometimes you can track it down on Google Maps.
Like I said, this planet is a pretty fascinating place.
Mount Chimborazo is Actually the Highest Point on Earth (CN Traveler)
The 20 Scariest Google Street View Images (Mashable)
Mount Chimborazo painted by Frederic Edwin Church, via Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum