American Geography Quiz

Jonnathan Chadwick

Image: Robin Hill / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

America is a treasure chest of geography. There are more than 3,000 species of animals and more than 100,000 species of insects that call the country home. There are many mountain ranges, like The Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians and many more like the Great Smoky Mountains and the Adirondack Mountains. There are five Great Lakes. We have island states, peninsulas, land-locked states, big states, small states and states that see all four seasons. We have the tallest mountain and volcano in the world and the largest freshwater lake in the world.

We have acres upon acres of grassland and prairie known as the Great Plains, and it's the heart of the country. It's home to the corn belt, the American bison and the farmland that keeps the country moving. The Great Plains sits between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, and those two land forms serve as major natural borders within the country. Alaska is a treasure itself and is home to some of the most diverse land forms and wildlife on Earth. Florida is home to the most widespread tropical wilderness in the country.

From New England to the South Atlantic to the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii, America has it all. More than 2,500 historic landmarks, more than 500 natural landmarks and hundreds of national parks and forests cover the land. Let's see what you know about American geography.

America is known for its widely varying climate. What are the four main states that make up Tornado Alley?

America sees more than 1,200 tornadoes a year, and they are more common in America than any other country. Tornado Alley isn't a geographically defined boundary but is an area of the country where tornadoes are frequently reported.

Where was the country's hottest temperature ever recorded?

Death Valley is the lowest and driest place in America, and in 1911, it became the hottest place in the country when a temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley. Death Valley recorded 154 consecutive days of 100+ degree weather in 2001.

Only a handful of countries are bordered by water on three sides. Which of these bodies of water does not border America?

There are a bunch of small bodies of water that border America, like the Gulf of Alaska and the Gulf of California, but the East Siberian Sea does not border America. It borders Eastern Siberia. The Bering Strait separates Alaska from Russia.

What tropical wilderness is home to the American crocodile and Florida panther?

The Everglades are wetlands of swamps, groves, forests and marshes that cover 1.5 million acres in Southern Florida. The glades are also home to the Florida panther, which was hunted to near extinction in the 1950s and has been endangered since the '70s.

A canyon is a land form created when weather and water erode rock. Which of the following rivers carved the Grand Canyon?

The Grand Canyon is 275 miles long, 18 miles wide and one mile deep at its greatest points. The Colorado River began carving the Grand Canyon, which is located in Arizona, about 17 million years ago. It took millions of years to fully form.

Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes, but what U.S. state lays claim to more than 3 million lakes?

There are more than 3 million natural lakes in Alaska but only about 3,200 of them are named. Minnesota is home to more than 11,000 lakes and a possible 21,000 lakes if you count all the dry basins. The largest lake in Alaska is Lake Iliamna at more than 1 million square miles.

America can be broken down into nine geographic divisions. What state is not part of New England?

New England is a region in the Northeast comprised of six states: Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The region sees four distinct seasons and borders the Atlantic Ocean.

The four presidents on Mt. Rushmore represent the birth, growth, development and preservation of America. Which president is not on the monument?

John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States and the son of the John Adams, who was the second President of the United States, but is not featured on Mount Rushmore. The monument features Teddy Roosevelt, Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington.

The Great Plains is an expanse of flatland that spans 10 U.S. states. Which state is not part of the Great Plains?

The Great Plains fully encompass Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota and touch parts of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. The Plains take up an area of about 500,000 square miles.

There are more than 3,000 animal species and countless insect species in America. What is the national mammal of America?

The national bird of the United States is the bald eagle. The American bison was named the national mammal in 2016 and widely roamed the land long before people. Native Americans considered them sacred, and today, the animal is honored on government seals across the country.

Jamestown was the first permanent settlement in America. What was the most recent state to join?

Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959, and it's the only state to consist of only islands. Hawaii's eight islands were formed by volcanic eruptions. It's the southernmost state in the country and is one of two states that can commercially grow coffee, the other being California.

America is home to millions of lakes. What is the single largest freshwater lake in the world?

If you combine Lakes Michigan and Huron, it's the largest freshwater lake in the world, but if you count five Great Lakes, Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area and the largest of the Great Lakes by volume.

There are 195 countries in the world. Which of these countries is smaller than America?

The United States is the fourth largest country in the world behind Russia, Canada and China. Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world and has about 100 million fewer citizens than the United States

Old Faithful is a geyser that has erupted at least once every two hours since 2000. What state is it located in?

Old Faithful is in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, and it has erupted more than a recorded 1 million times — every 90 minutes on average. It can erupt for five minutes at 185 feet high and is one of the most popular landmarks in the country.

More than 100 people died building the Hoover Dam, which is located between what two states?

The Hoover Dam was constructed between 1931 and 1936 and was known as the Boulder Dam until Congress named it after President Herbert Hoover in 1947. Today, it generates power for more than 1 million people.

There are thousands of mountains in America. Which of the following is not a mountain range in America?

The Andes are located in South America and are the longest continental mountain range on the globe, running through seven countries. The Rocky Mountains are the longest mountain range in America, followed by the Appalachian.

America is bordered by ocean on three sides. What U.S. state has the most coastline?

Alaska has almost five times the amount of coastline than the next-closest state, which is Florida, followed by California and then Hawaii. Alaska has more than 6,600 miles, and although Hawaii's completely surrounded by water, it only has 750 miles of coastline.

More than 500 American sites have been designated as national natural landmarks. What state is home to the most natural landmarks?

The Redwood National Park might be the most popular natural landmark in California, which is home to 36 landmarks. Indiana has the second most natural landmarks with 30 and is home to the Marengo Cave and Hoosier Prairie.

America is split among several time zones. Which of the following states is not in the Mountain Time Zone?

Mountain Time Zone is two hours behind New York City and one hour ahead of Los Angeles. Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah are all completely within Mountain Time Zone, and 10 other states also have Mountain Time locations.

There are four major deserts in America. Which of the following is not an American desert?

The Great Basin Desert is the largest desert in America at 190,000 square miles and sits between the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the west and the Rockies to the east. The hottest desert in America is the Mojave Desert.

How many states does the Mississippi River border or run through?

The Mississippi River runs more than 2,300 miles from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico and is similar in size to the Missouri River. The river's width ranges from 20 feet to 11 miles and is one of the most important water systems in the country.

California is home to more than a dozen salt flats. What U.S. state is home to the Bonneville Salt Flats?

The Bonneville Salt Flats are about 40 square miles large and are located in Northwest Utah on the border of Nevada. The salt pan was home to several land-speed records for decades before other locations became better suited for the challenge.

The largest cliff dwelling in America is the 150-room Cliff Palace, located in what U.S. state?

The Cliff Palace is a 150-room complex in Mesa Verde National Park in Southwestern Colorado. The palace was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and was home to about 100 Ancestral Puebloans. The area was inhabited by Paleo-Indians since as early as 7500 BC.

Elephant Butte, Three Sisters and the North Window are all land forms you can find in what area of America?

The rock formations of Monument Valley can be found on the Arizona-Utah border. Close to 100,000 acres feature sandstone buttes that sit along a 17-mile stretch and are some of the most iconic land formations in the country.

The Great Lakes consist of the five biggest lakes in America. What is the largest lake in America besides the Great Lakes?

The Great Salt Lake is located in Utah, where the capital is Salt Lake City, and it's the largest salt-water lake in the Western Hemisphere, covering an area of 1,700 square miles.

The highest point in all of North America sits in what U.S. state?

Mount Denali (aka Mount McKinley) is located in Alaska and is the highest point in North America at 20,310 feet. It doesn't crack the top 100 highest mountains in the world, and the 10 highest American peaks are all in Alaska.

The Great Lakes serve as a border between America and Canada. Which of these Great Lakes borders the most states?

Lake Erie is the shallowest and smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the second-smallest by surface area, but it borders four U.S. states, which is the same as Lake Michigan. Lake Huron only borders one state.

Many of America's most important rivers are named after states. Which of these state rivers is shortest?

The Missouri River is more than 2,300 miles long, and the Ohio River is only 981 miles long, which is still pretty long. It flows from Pennsylvania to Illinois along the border of six states, and it's about 300 miles longer than the Tennessee River.

There are about 330 million people in America. What is the cow population of America?

There are more than 1.5 billion cows in the world and about 94 million of them reside in the United States. Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma all have more cows than people. Texas has a cow population approaching 13 million. India is home to the most cows, with 330 million of them.

In what state will you find the geographic center of the lower 48 states?

The center of the lower 48 states is in Smith County, Kansas, but the center of all of America is in Butte County, South Dakota. The geographic center of all of North America is close to Rugby, North Dakota.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture manages more than 150 forests. What is America's largest national forest?

The Tongass National Forest is a temperate rain forest located in Alaska and consists of more than 16 million acres. It's home to an abundance of black bears, bald eagles, wolves, deer, sea lions and porpoises.

The Montezuma Castle is a five-story, 45-room apartment complex that dates back to the 12th century. Where is it located?

The Montezuma Castle functioned more like an apartment building, and Montezuma had nothing to do with it. The people who discovered it attributed everything Native American to the Aztecs, so they just assumed this was Montezuma's castle. It was actually built by the Sinagua people.

The greatest distance between any two points in the lower 48 states is between California and Maine. How far apart are they?

It's 2,901 miles between North Farallon Island, California, and Sail Rock, Maine, the greatest distance between two points in the 48 contiguous states. The farthest distance between any two American points is almost 6,000 miles between Hawaii and Florida.

The Great Plains sit between the Mississippi River and Rocky Mountains. What is the largest grassland in America?

Little Missouri National Grassland is the largest grassland in the country and is actually located in North Dakota. The grassland consists of more than 1 million acres and is managed by the National Park Service.

Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world. Where is the tallest mountain in the world?

Mt. Everest is more than 29,000 feet above sea level and Mauna Kea — a dormant volcano on the Island of Hawaii — is 13,000 feet above sea level, but it extends 20,000 feet below sea level to total 33,000 feet tall. It's also the tallest volcano in the world.

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