Great Lakes formed by volcanoes? American students score poorly on geography tests

Photo: Toasty Ken (Flickr)

Giant volcanoes formed the Great Lakes in prehistoric times.

Not quite, but that’s what seven percent of U.S. 12th-grade students guessed on geography tests last year.

More than half of students got it right: The Great Lakes formed when large volumes of freshwater melted from ice sheets and settled into depressed land.

A recent segment of Yahoo! Who Knew? highlights a low level of geography knowledge among American students – only 20 percent scored proficient or better on tests in 2010.

The U.S. team also lost to Russia, Canada and Taiwan at the World Geography Championship in San Francisco last month.

Do you know more Great Lakes geography than a 12th-grader? Test your knowledge here.

4 thoughts on “Great Lakes formed by volcanoes? American students score poorly on geography tests

  1. Honestly as a geologist that’s a lie lake erie and lake ontario were formed by volcanic eruptions and you can clearly see craters and also the remaining of the old cone NYS geological studies were done early 1800s and proved this that’s why they have temperature spikes in winter time of anywhere from 20-30 degrees warmer for 2-3 hrs in the deepest areas, also around the genesee river area and st laurence river areas pumice has been floating on and off for decades during these warming up sessions. beware just because some fool lies and writes a book don’t make it the truth

  2. I agree with Gary. Question #2 was a toss-up–although I happened to guess right. I did get one “wrong”, but I disagree with the answer given (hey–I should have had 100%!). The Ottawa National Forest is the only national forest in the U.P. which is solely between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Part of the Hiawatha National Forest (the answer given) is between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, but part is also between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

  3. You couldnt be more right and wrong at the same time. Volcanic fissures plumed lava flows into Lake superiour by The Island Royal, you really should study this it is interesting.

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