People can't believe that Detroit is actually east of Atlanta. Here's why it's true.
You'll never see America the same way.
As the old saying goes, “the map is not the territory,” and sometimes maps can be misleading. David Blattman, head of production at Barstool Sports, shared four unbelievable facts about U.S. geography on Twitter, all of which appear to be wildly incorrect, but aren't.
“These geography facts have left me speechless,” Blattman wrote on Twitter.
- Alaska is the northernmost, westernmost & easternmost state.
- You can travel north, south, east, or west in Stamford, CT & the next state you hit is NY.
- Reno is further west than LA.
- Detroit is further east than Atlanta.
Each one of these bullet points deserves a fact check, but Snopes stepped in to make sense of the last one, which feels false. Is Detroit, a midwestern city, really east of Atlanta, a city that’s a 4-hour drive from the east coast?
Yes, Detroit is east of Atlanta.
\u201cThese geography facts have left me speechless:\n\n\u2022Alaska is the northernmost, westernmost & easternmost state.\n\n\u2022You can travel north, south, east or west in Stamford, CT & the next state you hit is NY.\n\n\u2022Reno is further west than LA.\n\n\u2022Detroit is further east than Atlanta.\u201d— David Blattman (@David Blattman) 1588217582
“Atlanta is actually west of Detroit. Its coordinates are (emphasis added): 33.7488° N, 84.3877° W while Detroit's are 42.3314° N, 83.0458° W,” Bethania Palma at Snopes confirmed. The fact-checking site reached out to geographer Maria Lane for further comment.
She explained that our eyes are fooled by their locations because the east coast extends further east as it moves north. Conversely, in the south, the coast moves towards the west. This makes Atlanta appear to be much further east.
We are also fooled by how we’ve determined what’s “east coast” and what's "midwest.”
"So it shouldn't be any surprise that places on the southern 'east coast' are further west than places on the northern 'east coast,'" Lane wrote. "And northern places that we consider 'inland' or 'midwest' when compared to those far-north areas of the east coast, can still be relatively farther east than coast-adjacent places in the South."
This Tumblr post from @realtivegeography explains it perfectly.
So what about the other three hard-to-believe geographical facts?
Alaska is the northernmost, westernmost and easternmost state.
It makes sense that Alaska is the northernmost and westernmost state. It also has the title of easternmost because the Aleutian Islands arc right up to the edge of the Western Hemisphere and cross over into the Eastern Hemisphere. Alaska’s Semisopochnoi Island (179° East) is so far west it actually lies in the Eastern Hemisphere. Alaska’s Little Diomede island lies only 4 km from Big Diomede, a Russian territory. In the dead of winter, when the water around the island freezes, one can walk from the U.S. to Russia in under an hour.
You can travel north, south, east or west in Stamford, Connecticut, and the next state you hit is NY.
Blattman explained this perfectly in a tweet with a map showing how it works.
I think the Stamford one is my favorite. pic.twitter.com/pLLzjtxkpd— David Blattman (@davidblattman) April 30, 2020
Reno is further west than Los Angeles.
How can Reno, Nevada, be west of Los Angeles, California? Los Angeles has beaches, and Reno is 128 miles from the coastline. Much like how the east coast recedes west as it heads south, the west coast does the same, pushing Los Angeles to the east of Reno.
Reno, Nevada in relation to Los Angeles, California.
via Google Maps