Aren’t world maps and globes enjoyable to study?

We can dream of visiting exotic places, like the South Pole, the Amazon Rainforest or the Himalayan Mountains.

Here are four geography questions. See how you do.

Don’t Google for the answers until you at least give them a try.


1) Put the six continents listed below in size order, most square miles to least. Then rank them by human population.

  • Africa
  • Antarctica
  • Australia
  • Eurasia (Europe and Asia)
  • North America
  • South America

2) What is the significance of the Arctic and Antarctic Circles?

3) Which extends further south? Africa, Australia or South America

4) Name one of the South American countries due south of Galveston?


1) 2009 data

Continent                    Size                    Population


                    square miles)

1. Eurasia                    21.0                    4.7 billion

2. Africa                    11.7                       1.1 billion

3. North America                    9.4            0.5 billion

4. South America                    6.9            0.4 billion

5. Antarctica                    5.5*                 2,000-3,000 researchers

6. Australia                    3.0                    0.03 billion

Totals                    57.5                           6.70 billion

 2) The Arctic Circle is the southernmost latitude in the northern hemisphere at which the sun can remain continuously above or below the horizon for 24 hours (at the June solstice and the December solstice respectively). Exactly the same but reversed in direction and time for the Antarctic Circle. This is “the land of the midnight sun.”

3) You might think it would be Australia. However, South America extends furthest south followed by Australia then Africa.

4) There are no South American countries due south of Galveston. The only country directly south of Galveston is Mexico (still North America). The next stop after that as far as land goes it Antarctica. If you answered Ecuador you were close. The Galápagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean, which are part of Ecuador, are just a little east of the line running due south of Galveston.

*Approximate because of the changing ice shelves

Joe Concienne of Galveston, a chemical engineer who spent much of his career in Texas City, writes an occasional column on the basic concepts of science. He can be reached at

(1) comment

Steve Fouga

Joe, I love this kind of stuff! I got most right, missed some badly!

Keep the articles coming; they're very enjoyable.

Still hoping for an explanation of local tides...[smile]

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