some more geographical oddities

by Richard Riehle

Kola Superdeep holeI’ve always found that spending a little time covering some of the stranger and more obscure aspects of world geography were worth the effort (when teaching middle and high school students…). I suspect that we all innately are attracted to the strange and mysterious…

So, for today I have a couple interesting ideas to ponder: what is the highest and lowest point a human can go to on the earth? I have a couple caveats though… it has to be a place which you could theoretically reach on earth (i.e. not the Marianna’s Trench, i.e. underwater…).

First, we have the deepest place you can go to…the Kola Superdeep Borehole, it is in the Kola peninsula (near Finland, and north of St. Petersburg). This borehole (started in 1970) is 40,230 feet deep! It is actually about 1/3 of the way through the continental crust at this spot.

The Deepest Hole in the world

Kola Superdeep Borehole

The next point(s) is really a topic for discussion in that there needs to be some refinement of the idea of highest place… There is the tallest mountain (in altitude)…Mount Everest (29,035 feet). Then there is the tallest mountain from the base to its top (Mauna Kea, on the island of Hawaii), with a total height (from base to top) of 33,465 feet.

Finally there is the mountain top, or, for that matter the point on earth the furthest from the core (i.e. the center of the earth). This point would be Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador. Because it is so close to the equator, and because the earth is not THAT spherical, it is 3,967.1 miles from the core. Another way of stating this would be to say that Mount Chimborazo is closer to the moon than any point on earth. OF course it is ‘only’ 20,564 feet in altitude.


Highest Mountain in the World