I have a good friend who has often reminded me that his home state of Kansas has been proven to be “flatter than a pancake.” Jerome Dobson, a University of Kansas geographer, has released the result of a study that indicates that rival Illinois (my home state) is in fact flatter and even Illinois is not as flat as . . . Florida. To add insult to injury, Kansas actually comes in a measly seventh in flattest.
Dobson’s team found that, due to Florida’s coastal plains, it is the flattest of the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. Illinois came in over North Dakota, Louisiana and Minnesota. The least flattest is West Virginia.
Illinois owes its new distinction to glaciation that left a flat expanse.
One of most interesting aspects of the study is Dobson’s observation that the whole pancake analogy is a poor measure. He notes that any pancake, if expanded to the size of a state, would be more hilly than most states.
Other studies have found the same thing:
A perfect flatness quotient, in which no two points on a surface are at different levels, would be 1.0. The pancake was a surprisingly spiky 0.957, with both sharp spikes and an overall ‘lump’ in the center. Kansas, majestic prairie state that it was, left that pancake, metaphorically, in the dirt. It was an ultra-flat 0.9997, designated by the scientists as ‘damn flat.’ It had both less of an overall slope than the pancake and fewer small hills.
Source: Chicago Tribune