Coral Geography Bee

Geography Awareness Week, held every November, provides an opportunity to learn more about the study of places and the relationships that people have with their environments; as well as the ways geography affects our daily lives.

Read on to learn some geography-related facts about coral reef jurisdictions in the United States.

Map of U.S. coral reef jurisdictions
Map of U.S. coral reef jurisdictions. Credit: NOAA.

Question: What is the largest and most heavily populated island in the region of Micronesia?
Answer: Guam! Guam is a United States territory. It is over 210 square miles and home to about 168,000 people, and many different types of coral reefs.

Question: What jurisdiction is associated with the deepest point in the Atlantic?
Answer: Puerto Rico! The territory has over 1900 square miles of shallow corals, but it is also next to the Puerto Rico Trench. The Puerto Rico Trench is the deepest part of the Atlantic and sits at the boundary of the Caribbean and North American tectonic plates.

Question: What is the United States’ southernmost territory?
Answer: American Samoa! It is the only inhabited United States territory south of the equator. The territory includes two atolls, or ring-shaped coral reefs surrounding lagoons.

Question: Where can you find Crown Mountain?
Answer: The U.S. Virgin Islands! Crown Mountain on the island of St. Thomas is the highest point in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The islands are also surrounded by biologically rich coral reef ecosystems.

Question: What United States jurisdiction has the most coral reefs?
Answer: Hawai'i! You can find over 60 percent of the United States’ coral reefs in the Hawai'ian Archipelago, which includes the Main Hawai'ian Islands and the mostly uninhabited Northwestern Hawai'ian Islands.

Question: Where can you find the only shallow coral reef formations in the continental United States?
Answer: Florida! The Florida Reef Tract is over 300 miles long and extends from the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County to the Dry Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico.

Question: What jurisdiction includes the island of Saipan?
Answer: The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)! Saipan is the capital and the largest island in the CNMI. As one of the southern islands, Saipan includes some of the oldest and most developed coral reefs in the CNMI.