What does one call a thousand geo-oddities? Ultimately I decided to use the metric prefix "Kilo," although kilogeooddity and kilooddity both looked clunky with all of those extra vowels. Ultimately I coined the phrase kiloanomaly, equating to units of a thousand objects combining to form singular anomalies. It almost sounded like a Hawaiian word. I liked it!

There were numerous examples of kiloanomalies. I’ll highlight a few of my favorites.

Thousand Oaks

Thousand Oaks, California, USA

The City of Thousand Oaks in California was probably the most well-known urban forest of a thousand oaks that I uncovered, with over 125 thousand residents. There were plenty of others of the same name too, even in California (neighborhoods in Berkeley and San Jose at the very least). I then found Thousand Oaks in Florida, Missouri, and Texas, and a Thousand Oaks golf course in Michigan.

That’s a lot of acorns!

Thousand Islands

Thousand Islands, USA and Canada

I noted in Just as Enigmatic that the area known as the Thousand Islands on the Saint Lawrence River between Canada and the United States didn’t actually have a thousand islands. Rather, those early explorers must have had a sense of modesty because there were actually 1,864 islands once they were all tallied.

What about Thousand Island (without an "s" after Island) salad dressing? Logically enough, "According to The Oxford Companion of Food and Drink, ‘the name presumably comes from the Thousand Islands between the United States and Canada in the St. Lawrence River.’"

Valley of a Thousand Falls

I learned of a Valley of a Thousand Falls in Mount Robson Provincial Park, in British Columbia, Canada. It’s the area between two small bodies of water, Berg Lake and Kinney Lake, on the map displayed above.

What do a thousand falls look like? I found a short YouTube video that provided a nice preview.

The valley can be accessed from the Berg Lake Trail:

… a world-renowned backcountry hiking trail. Gaining just under 800 metres in 23 kilometres, the trail traverses three biogeoclimatic zones. This trail takes hikers to some of the best scenery in the province. Beyond Kinney Lake, the trail enters the Valley of a Thousand Falls. Fed by the massive Mist, Berg and Robson glaciers, visitors often see huge sections of ice break off or “calve” into the blue/green, silt-laden waters of Berg Lake.

Biogeoclimatic is a great word that I need to add to my vocabulary although I still like kiloanomaly more.

Valley of a Thousand Hills

Valley of a Thousand Hills, South Africa

The second valley with a thousands objects I discovered online was the Valley of a Thousand Hills in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. I wanted to use a better map. Unfortunately, I found it hideously difficult to find a Terrain View option on the new Google Maps and apparently it’s impossible to embed an object in that mode. I’ll provide a link though: (map).

The Valley of a Thousand Hills is a major tourism destination.

The breathtaking Valley of a Thousand Hills is an exciting component of Durban and South Africa’s province of KwaZulu-Natal – the Kingdom of the Zulu… an hour’s drive from the centre of Durban. The area is named after the thousands of hills which tumble down to the mighty Umgeni River, which flows from the distant Drakensberg Mountains to the warm inviting Indian Ocean.

It’s centered on the confluence of the Umgeni and Msunduzi (Duzi) Rivers, halfway between Durban and Pietermaritzburg

Thousand Ships Bay

Thousand Ships Bay, Solomon Islands

I found very little on Thousand Ships Bay in the Solomon Islands. It’s located "on the south coast of Santa Isabel Island… between San Jorge Island and Santa Isabel Island." The story goes — and who knows if it’s true — that the label came from "Spanish explorer Mendaña who named the location ‘Thousand Ship Bay’ [because he] believed a thousand ships could fit into the bay." Álvaro de Mendaña y Neira was indeed the first European to see the Solomon Islands in 1568. He named a lot of its individual islands so maybe the story had a grain of truth. However, the explanation seemed pretty lame even if true.

Many centuries later,Thousand Ships Bay was "occasionally used by the Japanese as a seaplane base or temporary ship anchorage from May to August 1942."

Thousand Circles

A hearty thank you to everyone who read all the way to the end of this post. The very first Twelve Mile Circle entry appeared on November 6, 2007. This is article number 1,000. I hope I’m still motivated to write when it’s time to feature The Land of 10,000 Lakes.

10 Replies to “Kiloanomaly”

  1. Congrats on your 1,000 posts! Great work! Always a pleasure to read – and to know I’m not the only one appreciating geo-oddities.

  2. Best geography blog there is on the whole internet!
    Congrats indeed, I hope you have a beer brewed in the nations capital, purchased in one of the commonwealths, out of a growler blown in Accident, MD.
    Keep up the great work!

  3. I’ve always wondered if there were a thousand oaks in Thousand Oaks. Pretty sure there aren’t a thousand palms in (somewhat) nearby Thousand Palms, CA. Both are much more impressive than 29 Palms, CA.

    1. I tend to make a joke whenever I travel though one of these places, such as “I only counted 998 oaks. What a ripoff!” There’s also a retreat center not too far from Lake Arrowhead called Thousand Pines, where I’ve made that joke as well. People who travel with me frequently probably want to reflexively punch me in the face when they see a sign indicating a destination named for a specific number of trees.

  4. Congratulations!! I hope that we have many more years of 12 mile Circle. The topics on here are regular conversation points between me and my family and I have already hooked my twin brother on your site.

  5. Slightly more “official” than the Land of 10,000 Lakes, there’s also the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in Alaska, which did have a huge amount of these back when it was named – courtesy of a river submerged under volcanic ash – but had since cooled off and has none of them today.

    Coincidentally, Lev Uspensky cites the largest number appearing in a place name as 100,000 – in the name “Laccadives” (aka Lakshadweep), which supposedly means “a lakh of islands” (i.e. 100,000 of them); he proceeds to mention that the area of that archipelago divided by 100,000 would make each individual island pretty tiny, and that the number is almost certainly exaggerated (the actual figure is in fact 39, as I easily found on Wikipedia). The second biggest number he lists is 20,000 – the city of Ventimiglia in Italy; its connection to the number had, IIRC, been since disproven pretty conclusively. I’m not aware of any other geographic features with names mentioning numbers over 10,000; Uspensky apparently wasn’t either. (He does list the Russian city of Tyumen as a possibility for 10,000 exactly).

    As for names with “thousand”, Uspensky lists about half a dozen different places, of which by far the most famous is Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar (Wikipedia agrees with the derivation).

  6. In Utah there is a Thousand Lake Mountain…that has no lakes. Wikipedia has this fascinating and slightly hilarious explanation “Thousand Lake Mountain is covered in boulders while Boulder Mountain has many lakes. There are several stories supposing to explain the mismatched names, most feasibly a cartographer writing the names he had been given on the wrong hills and not catching the mistake before maps were published.”

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