Digging to China and Other Adventures

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Digging to China

If you could dig to China, you'd have to begin in Chile or Argentina. If you started digging in Hawaii, you'd end up in the Kalahari Desert. If you started at the South Pole, you'd reach the North Pole. These are antipodes (pronounced an-TIP-o-deez), places opposite each other on the globe.

Go Fly a Kite

If you put a kite aloft in the trade winds it would fly west, directed by the Earth's rotation. The trade winds blow just north and south of the equator. Watch out for the doldrums, an area between the two belts of trade winds which has long periods with no wind.

Send a Message in a Bottle

Throw a bottle into the Gulf Stream off the coast of Florida. It may wash ashore in Bermuda or far north on the shores of Iceland! (Other ocean currents are the Humboldt, Equatorial, Japan, and Antarctic.)

Ride a River of Ice

Climb on the Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound in Alaska, but don't expect a fast ride. A turtle moves faster in 10 minutes than this glacier moves in a day.

Float on an Iceberg

The largest iceberg ever was sighted in the south Pacific Ocean in 1956. It was 208 miles long and 60 miles wide, about the size of Belgium.

Meet Fata Morgana

Fata Morgana is the name for a mirage associated with the enchantress Morgan Le Fay, of Arthurian legend. It is caused by a layer of hot air over water or two layers of air with unequal density. (What appears to the human eye is a shape as simple as a cottage or as wondrous as a castle.) Fata Morgana occurs in the Strait of Messina, near Japan, and over the Great Lakes in the U.S.

These Shoes Are Made for Floating

In 1991, thousands of Nike shoes fell off a cargo ship northeast of Hawaii. Scientists learned about ocean currents by locating the shoes as they washed ashore on the west coast of the U.S.

Finding Places

Here is a formula for finding opposite places in the world. Find the latitude of your starting place. Change the direction. For example, if it's north make it south. Find the longitude. Subtract it from 180. Change the direction. For example, if it's east, make it west. The new latitude and longitude will be the opposite point on the globe. Where is the opposite of your home?


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