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General Information, Facts & Tables
[Records]

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Overview

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The lists below detail the measured extremes of various categories of natural and man made subjects.
 

Animal

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Fastest Land Animal:
Cheeta (acinonyx jubatus); 114 km/h (71 mph).

Fastest Water Animal:
Sailfish (istiophorus platypterus) 112 km/h (69 mph).

Fastest Air Animal
Common Eider (somateria mollissima); 76 km/h (47 mph)

Heaviest Land Animal:
African Elephant (loxodonta africana); 7 500 kg (16 584 lb).

Heaviest Water Animal:
Blue Whale (balaenoptera musculus) 137 tonnes (151. ton).

Heaviest Air Animal
Mute swan (cygnus olor); 22.5 kg (49 lb 6 oz)
 

Astronomical

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Nearest Star:
Alpha Centauri A; Constellation: Centaurus; 4.4 light years.

Nearest Galaxy:
Sagittarius Dwarf, Diameter: 10 000 light years, Distance: 82 000 light years.

Largest Planet (In our Solar System):
Jupiter, 142 984 km (88 846 mi).

Smallest Planet (In our Solar System):
Pluto, 2 390 km, (1 485 mi).

Largest Telescope:
Mt Graham, Arizona, USA, Aperture 11.8m (38.7 ft).

See Also: World Astronomical Superlatives
 

Climate

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Hottest Recorded Temperature:
Al-Azizlyah, Libya, 57.7 ºC, 136 ºF.

Coldest Recorded Temperature:
Vostok, -89.4 ºC (-129 ºF).

Most Recorded Rainfall
Waialeale, Hawaii, USA. 335 days per year.

Least Recorded Rainfall
Arica, Chile; 1 day every 6 years.

Fastest Wind Speed:
Mt Washington, New Hampshire, USA; 12/4/1934; 317 km/h (231 mph).

Highest Barometric Pressure:
Agata, Siberia; 31/12/1968; 1 083.8 mb (32 in); 262 m (862 ft) above sea level.

Lowest Barometric Pressure:
Typhoon Tip 480 km (300 mi) west of Guam, Pacific Ocean; 12/10/1979; 870 mb (25.69 in).

Heaviest Recorded Snowfall
Bessans, Savoie, France; 19 hours 5-6/4/1969; 1 730mm (68.11 in).

Heaviest Recorded Hailstones
Gopalganj, Bangladesh; 4/4/1986; 1.02 kg (2.25 lb).
 

Geographical

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Smallest Country:
Vatican City, 0.44 sq km (0.17 sq mi).

Largest Country:
Russia, 17 075 200 sq km (6 592 772 sq mi).

Largest Island
Greenland (Kalaatdlit Nunaat), North America, 2 175 600 sq km (1 068 sq mi).

Greatest River System (Outflow):
Amazon, South America, Flow 219 000 m/s (7 773 912 ft/s).

Longest River:
Nile; Africa; Outflow into Mediterranean Sea; 6 650 km (4 132 mi).

Largest Lake:
Caspian Sea; Central Asia; Area 386 400 sq km (149 200 sq mi).

Deepest Lake
Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia; 1 742m (5 714 ft).

Largest Ocean / Sea:
Pacific Ocean (including marginal seas);
Area 165 250 000 sq km (63 800 000 sq mi);
Volume 707 600 000 cu km (169 900 000 cu mi).

Greatest Waterfall (Capacity)
Inga, Democratic Republic of Congo, Flow 42 476 m/s (1 500 000 ft/s).

Greatest Waterfall (Height)
Angel, La Gran, Sabrana, Venezuela; River: Caroni; 980 m (3 212 ft) 

Longest Glacier:
Lambert-Fisher Ice Passage; Antarctica; 515 km (320 mi).

Deepest Sea / Ocean Trench
Marianas, Depth: 10 911 m (35 798 ft).

Deepest Depression
Dead Sea; Israel / Jordan; -403 m (-1 322 ft).

Deepest Valley
Kali Gandaki, Nepal; ~4 400 m (~14 400 ft)

Deepest Gorge
River Colca, Peru; 4 360 m (14 300 ft).

Longest Gorge
Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA; 350 km (217 mi).

Longest Cave System:
Mammoth Cave System, USA, 579 364 m (1 900 800 ft).

Deepest Cave System:
Voronja Cave, Georgia, USSR; 2 080 m (6 824 ft).

Largest Desert:
Sahara, Northern Africa, Libyan, Libya, Egypt, Suddan; 8 600 000 sq km (3 320 000 sq mi).

Highest Mountain:
Everest, Nepal / China, Conquered 29/5/1953, Height: 8 850 m (29 053ft).

Highest Volcano
Tupungato, Chile / Argentina, Last eruption: 1986, Height: 6 570 m (21 555 ft).

See Also: World Natural Superlatives
 

Human

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Tallest Human:
Robert Pershing Wadlow (1918 - 1940) USA, 2.72 m (8 ft 11 in).

Oldest Human:
Jeanne Calment (21/2/1875 - 4/8/1997) 122 years, 5 months, 14 days.
 

Population

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Smallest Country:
Vatican City, 0.44 square kilometres, 0.17 square miles.

Largest Country:
Russia, 17 075 200 square kilometres, 6 592 772 square miles.

Largest Country Population:
China, 1 130 000 000

Densest Country Population:
Macau; 18 432 per sq km.

Largest City Population:
Tokyo-Yokohama, 27 000 000.
 

Structures

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Tallest Building:
Taipei 101; Taipei; 509 m (1 671 ft).

Tallest Structure
Warszawa Radio Mast; Kpnstantynow, Poland; 645m (2 118 ft).

Highest Dam:
Rogun, Vakhsh, Tajikistan, 335 m (1 099 ft).

Greatest Capacity Dam:
Syncrude Tailings Dam, Alberta, Canada; 540 000 000 cu m (706 000 000 cu yd).

Longest Suspension Bridge:
Akashi-Kaikyo; Kobe-Naruto; Japan 1 991 m (6 532 ft).

Longest Cable Stayed Bridge:
Stonecutters; Hong Kong; 1 018 m (3 339 ft).

Longest Rail Tunnel:
Seikan; Japan; 53 850 km (176 673 mi).

Longest Road Tunnel:
Laerdal; Norway; 24 510 m (80 413 ft).

See Also: World Man Made Superlatives
 

Transport

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Fastest Vehicle:
Andy Green, Thrust SSC, 15/10/1997, 1 227.99 km/h (763.04 mph).

Fastest Rail Vehicle:
French TGV; 3/4/2007; 574.8 km/h (356 mph).

Fastest Motorcycle:
Chris Carr, BUB Number 7, 5/9/2006, 564.68 km/h (350.88 mph).

Fastest Water Vehicle Jet Driven:
Ken Warby, Spirit of Australia, 8/10/1978, 511.13 km/h (317.60 mph).

Fastest Water Vehicle Propeller Driven:
Dave Villwock, Miss Budweiser, 13/3/2004, 354.849 km/h (220.493 mph).

Fastest Aircraft:
Lockheed SR-71A, 28/7/1976, 3 529.560 km/h (2 193.167 mph).