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  • end of Year Geography Quiz, Question 33:

    33. Do any U.S. states have perfectly square or rectangular borders?

  • #2
    I was under the impression that both Wyoming and Colorado are perfect rectangles.

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    • #3
      Re: end of Year Geography Quiz, Question 33:

      Originally posted by gh
      33. Do any U.S. states have perfectly square or rectangular borders?
      Yes.

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      • #4
        Hawaii?

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        • #5
          LOL

          Actually, I did laugh when I saw brian's answer, but then another trivia question occurred to me. Other than Hawaii, are there states with no borders at all consisting of a straight line?

          Another one. Apart from Colorado and Wyoming, are there any states with borders consisting entirely of straight lines?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by tandfman
            Another one. Apart from Colorado and Wyoming, are there any states with borders consisting entirely of straight lines?
            Utah. New Mexico almost does but there's a tiny piece near El Paso that follows the Rio Grande River.

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            • #7
              Correct.

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              • #8
                Colorado and Wyoming have straight line borders, but not a square or a rectangle. Their borders follow longitude lines and are not a rectangle.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Double R Bar
                  Colorado and Wyoming have straight line borders, but not a square or a rectangle. Their borders follow longitude lines and are not a rectangle.
                  But if you follow that line of reasoning, no borders can be truly straight because of the curvature of the earth. To me, CO and WY have straight line borders.

                  Edit - Double R Bar is correct. I originally misread his comment. He was not disputing that the lines were straight--he was just saying that those straight lines did not form a rectangle or square. He's right. There are all sorts of geometric figures consisting of four straight lines that do not form a rectangle or a square. CO and WY are trapezoids, if I remember my high school geometry correctly.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tandfman
                    To me, CO and WY have straight line borders.
                    Unless you're living in Flatland, I agree. I understand that the northern border is shorter than the southern border, but for us sphere-livers, the borders are indeed 4 straight lines!

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                    • #11
                      "official" answer:

                      33. No. The eastern and western borders of such states as Wyoming and Colorado look like they're parallel, but they actually follow lines of longitude that converge at the poles.

                      The quizmaster has since added

                      <<-- Roger L. Duba wrote to say that our answer to Question 33 ("Do any U.S. states have perfectly square or rectangular borders?"), while technically correct, was somewhat misleading. No, we said, the eastern and western borders of such states as Wyoming and Colorado might look like they're parallel, but they actually follow lines of longitude that converge at the poles.

                      "Colorado's western border (and Utah's eastern border) has a slight bend in it," Duba wrote. "The story is that one boundary survey party started at the Wyoming line and worked south, while another started from Four Corners and worked north. When they met, neither would admit they were wrong, so they just left a jog in the boundary. At one time, an attempt was made to straighten it, but residents of both states objected. Those living in Colorado did not want to be moved into Utah, and vice versa."

                      In checking, I came across several slight variations to the surveying story, but Duba is absolutely right that there's a little zig in the otherwise-straight border.>>

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                      • #12
                        I knew about the zig in Colorado's western border, but didn't know if Wyoming had any zags. The offset in Colorado's is so small you need a reasonably sized map before it even becomes apparent (look at Google maps and zoom in to see.) I have a nice Delorme wall map of CO, about 40"x60", and it's pretty obvious there.

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                        • #13
                          I started to comment on this whole mess back at the get-go (non- parallel
                          longitude lines) but since I was ineligible on this question I deleted. But I KNEW it would get brought up by others !!

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                          • #14
                            Of course, you can take the stance that in pure geometric terms, there is no such thing as a straight line (in all planes) on the surface of the earth. Any line between points A & B has to bend somehow!

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                            • #15
                              The Western US is replete with surveying errors. When oil and gas was discovered in the area, a long narrow vacancy along the east side of the Texas panhandle adjoining Oklahoma was a bonanza for the first to figure out this strip was unleased.

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