Time Zone Anomalies, Part I: The World's Strangest Time Zones (2023)

In Canada, the island of Newfoundland has a reputation for being quirky and unique. One of those quirky and unique things that sets it apart is its time zone, which is off the regular standard time zone scheme by half an hour. ("It's 10:00 tonight inThere National, 10:30 a.m. in Newfoundland.”) Nowhere else in North America does any jurisdiction varycoordinated world time(UTC) on the half hour. But if you look at the map above, you'll see why Newfoundland chose this half-hour detour, as it's right on the UTC -4 (akaAtlantic Standard Time), almost projecting at UTC -3.

Why is the sun directly overhead at 11:40 am when it can be directly overhead at 12:10 am instead? You will get sunlight half an hour later in your day and you will still be more precisely, chronologically, to the sun. However, you can find that the French collective ofSt. Pierre and Miquelonsouth of Newfoundland is half an hour ahead despite being on exactly the same longitude. East (except IDL of course)?Sandford FlemingHe must be rolling in his grave!

(Video) The world's silliest time zones

Welcome to the world of standard time, where the only international rule is to synchronize your clocks with UTC (aka Greenwich Mean Time).

Everything else is free season. Each chooses their own default time offset; everyone decides when to switch to daylight saving time (or even whether or not to use it); Everyone chooses their own time zone boundaries. No cultivated 15 degree wide tracts of land as intended, no sir. Many jurisdictions find it easier to manage their territory when all of their territory is subject to the same time zones, regardless of how they differ from solar time. For the most part, time zones seem to be shifted east more often than west to take advantage of the sun.

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The greatest gain in time outside of the IDL is along the 76-kilometer border between Afghanistan and China, which gains or loses three and a half hours depending on which direction you travel. This is because despite traversing five standard time zones since the start of Communist Party rule in China in 1949, all of China has been standardized to Beijing time (UTC+8). Unofficially, however, much of Xinjiang,including the state government, uses UTC +6 to avoid events such as sunrise at 9 a.m. in winter. The time differences between China and Pakistan (three hours), India (two and a half hours) are also irregular due to this national standardization. Nepal (two hours and 15 minutes), Bhutan (two hours), Myanmar (90 minutes) and the Russian Far East (two or three hours, depending on entry or exit time zone).

On the other hand, there is a limit where traveling north or south will only drop you 15 minutes ahead or back. This would be the border between India (UTC +5.5) and Nepal (UTC +5.75). 6, so it makes perfect sense. Nepal is slightly east centered which adds an additional 15 minutes. The only other time zones offset by 45 minutes are New Zealand's Chatham Islands and tinyWestern Australia Central West time zone.

Speaking of Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia opt for an offset at UTC +9.5 rather than UTC +9, meaning travelers from Western Australia to the Northern Territory gain 90 minutes rather than an hour.

The biggest timing discrepancy could be Russia, which has had permanent daylight saving time since the Soviet Union introduced it in 1930. As a result, the clocks are always far ahead of the sun, sometimes more than two hours in some places. The former Soviet republics of Caucasus and Central Asia follow, as does Mongolia. Adding the distraction, in 2010, the Medvedev governmenttwo whole time zones abolishedin an attempt to make the country easier to administer. There are now three different areas in total where you can cross time zones for two hours instead of just one. This also creates an unusual situation in theKaliningrad OblastExclave now one hour east of Lithuania and two hours east of neighboring Poland. Moving from Eastern Europe or Turkey to Russia and the Caucasus also gains two hours. What about this small part of the far north of Norway that borders Russia? Crossing the border into Russia gives you three hours straight! On the other hand, if you travel east to Japan or south to North Korea from Vladivostok, you lose two hours, and if you travel to China, you also gain three hours there!

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Not far behind Russia in terms of huge time jumps is perhaps an unlikely candidate: Greenland. This has a lot to do with the high latitude the island is at, as time zones narrow towards the poles. Due to the small and widely dispersed population of Greenland, the main time zone UTC -3 is simply used for most of the country. Three remote villages are too far from UTC -3 to fit properly and get their own time zones.Qaanaaqon the west coast it is UTC -4,Ittoqqortoormiiton the east coast is UTC -1, and thePort of Denmarkweather station insideNortheast Greenland National Parkis at UTC 0. This results in small areas of two and three hour time shifts around the island, plus a two hour shift between uninhabited northern Greenland and CanadaEllesmere Island.

Other non-IDL instances where you can travel back in time despite traveling east:

(Video) Understanding Time Zones

  • Argentina is oddly set to UTC -3 despite crossing the UTC -4/-5 threshold (this also seems to have pushed Chile back to UTC -4 although it is clearly at UTC -5). This will set you back an hour as you move east in Paraguay.
  • There is another anomaly in India as the whole country uses a single time zone whichSeven Sister Statesfrom the north-east, who were thereafter semi-isolated from the rest of IndiaPartitionIt is 30 minutes behind and west of Bhutan and Bangladesh.
  • Western Mongolia is at UTC +7, east of northern Xinjiang. According to official Chinese law (but not local Xinjiang custom), this is a waste of one hour.
  • before 1982the two halves of Malaysia lay in two time zones 30 minutes apart. Peninsular Malaysia expanded their clocks to standardize on UTC +8 nationwide in 1982, and Singapore followed suit for economic and logistical reasons. This makes Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore essentially a UTC +8 island surrounded by UTC +7 Thailand and western Indonesia.

And finally the other non-IDL time zone limits where you can gain more than an hour in standard time:

  • Although Sudan should be at UTC +2, it has positioned itself at UTC +3, perhaps to align with the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. As a result, those entering Sudan (and now South Sudan) from the west via Chad and Central African Republic will gain two hours.
  • Iran and Pakistan occupy standard time zones (UTC +3/+4 and UTC +4/+5 respectively). Iran opted for a half-hour compromise zone; Pakistan went with standard compensation. As a result, crossing the Iran-Pakistan border takes 90 minutes and driving west into Turkey takes 90 minutes.

This post originally appeared onKeller geographerWe appreciate your commentsideas@qz.com.

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What is the strangest time zone in the world? ›

If UTC+13 sounds like a bit of a bizarre cop-out, Kiribati takes it to the extreme, with part of the country operating 14 hours ahead of UTC. Kiribati's time zone choice makes it the first place on the planet to celebrate New Year.

What countries have strange time zones? ›

Locations that use non standard time zones include India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Newfoundland, Regions of Australia, Venezuela, Nepal, Chatham Islands, and the Marquesas Islands.

How many basic time zones are there on planet Earth there are some weird exceptions )? ›

They're technically named meridians, i.e., imaginary lines that run vertically from the North Pole to the South Pole, each 15 degrees apart. With the rotation of the Earth, from east to west, each meridian represents one given hour. So, we all end up getting 24 standard time zones and 14 additional exceptions.

Why is Chatham Island 45 minutes ahead? ›

Chatham Island Standard Time (CHAST)

Countries with the Chatham Island Standard Time, in which a switch to daylight savings time is common, turn the clock forward by one hour in summer. By doing so, they switch to Chatham Island Daylight Time (CHADT) and reach UTC +13:45.

Why is Sri Lanka 5 and a half hours ahead? ›

However, Tamil Tiger controlled areas observed a time zone of UTC+05:30. Nevertheless, on April 15th. 2006, the government changed the official time to UTC+05:30. By doing so, Sri Lanka aimed to align its time zone with that of India.

Why is Kathmandu time 15 minutes different? ›

Nepal is 5 hours and 45 minutes ahead of GMT, because it sets the meridian of Nepal Standard Time at Gaurishankar, a mountain east of Kathmandu. The odd time difference between Nepal and India has resulted in a national joke that Nepalis are always 15 minutes late (or, Indians are 15 minutes early).

How many time zones is the Earth broken into? ›

To facilitate this, the world has been divided into 24 time zones. These time zones have been created with reference to the Prime Meridian itself.

Which country has only 1 time zone? ›

Though China is almost as wide as the continental United States, the whole country is officially in just one time zone — Beijing time.

What country is 2 days ahead of USA? ›

There is not a country 2 days ahead of the USA. The most ahead a country can be is one day, one rotation of the earth. In the pacific ocean, there is an international date line where it becomes the next day if you cross it going west.

What are 3 countries that have gotten rid of daylight Savings time? ›

Japan, India, and China are the only major industrialized countries that do not observe some form of daylight saving.

Why can't Russia have one time zone? ›

As recently as in 2009, Russia decided to reduce its number of time zones from 11 to 9, but this decision was then reversed in 2014. One of the main reasons behind this was economic efficiency, as in some areas people who are relatively near to each other are functioning on very different, incompatible schedules.

Why are Australian time zones so weird? ›

In its colonial days South Australia was on a central time zone - an hour behind the east - until 1899. Under pressure from the chamber of commerce to adopt eastern standard time (EST), the government of the day came up with a compromise that put clocks 30 minutes behind those on Australia's eastern seaboard.

Why can't we all have the same time zone? ›

Since different parts of Earth enter and exit daylight at different times, we need different time zones. People have lived in different time zones for a long time, but it hasn't always been as organized as it is today. Just over a century ago, towns and cities set their own time.

Is there a time zone that doesn't change? ›

Today, most of Arizona (except the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands don't change their clocks.

What state has the most time zones? ›

Thirteen. Oregon and Idaho are split between the Mountain and Pacific time zones. Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, North and South Dakota are divided between Central and Mountain time zones. Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee are split between Eastern and Central time zones.

Why Arizona doesn't change the time? ›

Arizona was granted an exception to Daylight Savings Time in the late 1900s due to the extreme heat our state experiences. If the Grand Canyon State were to "spring forward," the sun wouldn't set until 9 p.m. during the summer. This would impede nighttime activities as well as push back bedtime for children.

How can New Zealand be 13 hours ahead? ›

Daylight savings time in New Zealand - the complicated version. In spring, summer and autumn in New Zealand, Daylight Savings Time increases the time difference to 13 hours ahead of GMT. So during the months of roughly September to April, New Zealand is on UTC + 13.

What country is ahead a day? ›

Kiribati – pronounced Kiribas – is the only nation on Earth to permanently trespass into GMT+14: the earliest time zone in the world. You can think of Kiribati as the eternal land of tomorrow: if it's Sunday where you are, it's probably Monday in Kiribati.

Are there any time zones with no land? ›

There is one timezone that is completely uninhabited: the UTC-12:00.

Which country is most ahead in time? ›

It is also referred to as the "latest time zone" on Earth, as clocks in it always show the 'latest' (i.e., most advanced) time of all time zones. UTC+14:00 stretches as far as 30° east of the 180° longitude line and creates a large fold in the International Date Line around the Pacific nation of Kiribati.

Why is India half an hour off? ›

So why are some cities 30 or 45 minutes off? That has largely to do with the politics in each of those places. For example, in New Delhi, India, they found themselves halfway between two meridians, and therefore decided to be 30 minutes between each, as opposed to adopting one time or the other.

Is there any country that is 24 hours ahead? ›

The nation of Samoa also observed the same time as the Samoa Time Zone until it moved across the International Date Line at the end of 29 December 2011; it is now 24 hours (25 hours in southern hemisphere summer) ahead of American Samoa.

What countries are 30 minutes off? ›

It took many decades before all time zones were based on some standard offset from GMT or Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). By 1929, the majority of countries had adopted hourly time zones, though some countries such as Iran, India, Myanmar and parts of Australia had time zones with a 30-minute offset.

How many time zones are there in human body? ›

The 24 time zones, created in accordance to each hour of the day, are theoretically drawn vertically like longitudes over the globe. The Co-ordinated Universal Time (UTC) is used to regulate time and date around the world.

How many time zones does the United States use? ›

U.S. Daylight Saving Time

The map shows the six time zones into which the United States is divided. The territory of the 50 US states extends over eight standard time zones, from UTC (GMT) −4 to −11 hours. There are six designated US time zones; and there are four time zones in the contiguous USA.

Who created the time zones? ›

Sir Sanford Fleming, a Canadian engineer, was the first person to propose the use of worldwide time zones back in 1878. His idea was to divide the world into 24 time zones that were each 15 degrees of longitude apart. The reason for this is that the earth rotates 15 degrees every hour, or 360 degrees in 24 hours.

Why is China all in one time zone? ›

But in 1949, as the Communist Party consolidated control of the country, Chairman Mao Zedong decreed that all of China would henceforth be on Beijing time for the purposes of national unity.

Which country has only 11 hours? ›

You will be surprised to hear the truth behind it. This strange clock is in the city of Solothurn in Switzerland. There is a clock on the town square of this town where the clock has only 11 hourly markings.

What countries are a whole day ahead of the US? ›

  • Fiji.
  • Kiribati: Gilbert Islands.
  • Marshall Islands.
  • Nauru.
  • New Zealand.
  • Russia: Chukotka, Kamchatka.
  • South Pole.
  • Tuvalu.

What country is 7 hours ahead of California? ›

The United Kingdom is 7 hours ahead of California.

What country is 5 hours ahead of New York? ›

When the time was 07:00AM on Sunday, February 12 in London, it was 02:00AM in New York. London is 5 hours ahead of New York. Press any time in the table below to open and share the event time page.

What are the 2 states that don't do daylight Savings? ›

Congress would need to act to allow states to change, however, since federal law doesn't permit it. The only states in the union that don't observe daylight saving time are Hawaii and Arizona, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, though the Navajo Nation, which cuts through part of Arizona, does.

What states are getting rid of daylight savings time 2022? ›

US States Ready to Remove DST
  • 2022: Kentucky.
  • 2021: Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Montana.
  • 2020: Idaho, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming.
  • 2019: Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington.
  • 2018: Florida and California.
Sep 30, 2022

What city in the US doesn't do daylight Savings? ›

As of August 2021, the following states and territories are not observing DST: Arizona, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, The Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

What zone does Russia lie? ›

Russia is a transcontinental country stretching vastly over two continents, Europe and Asia. It spans the northernmost edge of Eurasia, and has the world's fourth-longest coastline, at 37,653 km (23,396 mi).
Geography of Russia.
ContinentEurope and Asia
Exclusive economic zone7,566,673 km2 (2,921,509 sq mi)
18 more rows

Does Russia use 12 or 24 hour clock? ›

In Russian, you can use both the 12-hour and the 24-hour clock systems. The 12-hour system is common in everyday conversation, while the 24-hour system is used in formal settings, such as official documentation or news broadcasts.

Did the USSR have 11 time zones? ›

All this timekeeping havoc is bound to further baffle a nation that has had its share of confusion for 1991. March 31 is when clocks usually are moved forward an hour for summer time in the Soviet Union, which has 11 time zones.

What are the craziest time zones? ›

If UTC+13 sounds like a bit of a bizarre cop-out, Kiribati takes it to the extreme, with part of the country operating 14 hours ahead of UTC. Kiribati's time zone choice makes it the first place on the planet to celebrate New Year.

What country has the weirdest time? ›

Chatham Islands, New Zealand

New Zealand's Chatham Islands uses Chatham Standard Time Zone, an unusual time zone that is UTC +12:45. Along with Nepal and the unofficial Australian Central Western Time, it is the only three time zones that use a 45-minute offset from UTC.

What are some crazy time zones? ›

Some other examples are Afghanistan, running on GMT+4:30 and Burma, which uses GMT+6:30. North Korea too runs on a half-hour time zone, GMT+8:30 to be precise, which is what the Korean region used before the Japanese occupation.

What would happen if we all lived in the same time zone? ›

Imagine if the entire Earth had a single time zone. Noon would be the middle of the day in some places, but it would be morning, evening, and the middle of the night in others. Since different parts of Earth enter and exit daylight at different times, we need different time zones.

Why we should get rid of time zones? ›

Advantages. The same time is used globally, which removes the requirement of calculations between different zones. Possible health benefits as people who live on the eastern side of a time zone are out of sync with the circadian rhythms.

What is the biggest time zone difference possible? ›

You can see that the most extreme time zones are +14 hours at Line Islands (Kiribati), and -12 hours in and around Baker Islands (US). Therefore, the maximum possible difference between times on Earth is 26 hours. That means that at 11:00 PM of a Monday in Baker Island, it is 1:00 AM of a Wednesday in Line Islands.

What state has no time zone? ›

Two states — Hawaii and most of Arizona — already observe permanent standard time (the time between November and March), meaning they don't change their clocks at all.

Can the government change time zones? ›

Under Federal law, there are two ways in which an area in the United States can be moved from one time zone to another: By statute: Congress may enact a statute changing the time zone. By regulation: The Secretary of Transportation may issue regulations making changes.

What happens to Arizona if daylight savings time is permanent? ›

What will Arizona do if daylight saving becomes permanent? The Sunshine Protection Act would not extend to states such as Arizona, with the exception of the Navajo Nation, that do not observe daylight saving time. If the legislation becomes law, Arizona and California would always be on the same time.

What city has two time zones? ›

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Tanur Tsiknakis and her husband, Michalis, now have two sets of clocks in their home they must follow — each on a separate time zone one hour apart.

Which country has only one time zone? ›

Though China is almost as wide as the continental United States, the whole country is officially in just one time zone — Beijing time.

Does Florida have 2 time zones? ›

Florida • Time zones: Central time (western panhandle) and Eastern time • In Florida, the Eastern and Central time zones divide along the Apalachicola River. Eastern time is called "fast time" and Central time is called "slow time."

Will Florida stop Daylight Savings Time? ›

In the last five years, 19 states have enacted legislation or passed resolutions to provide for year-round daylight saving time — Florida being one of them. Two states — Arizona and Hawaii — currently observe permanent standard time.

Why doesn t Arizona have basements? ›

Because the ground doesn't freeze in Phoenix, you only have to dig 18 inches below the surface to pour concrete footing for a house. If you want a basement, you'll have to go out of your way to dig deeper. That's complicated by a common soil phenomena in the state called caliche.

What happens if daylight savings is permanent? ›

Making the time change permanent would make the chronic effects of any sleep loss more severe, not only “because we have to go to work an hour earlier for an additional 5 months every year but also because body clocks are usually later in winter than in summer with reference to the sun clock,” according to a statement ...

Is New Zealand a day ahead of the US? ›

When the time was 08:00PM on Sunday, February 12 in New Zealand, it was 02:00AM in New York. New Zealand is 18 hours ahead of New York.

Why does everything close so early in New Zealand? ›

While early closing was promoted as a way to ensure men got home to their families at a respectable hour, critics questioned their condition when they arrived. New Zealand's binge-drinking culture has been blamed on the fact that six o'clock closing taught generations of men to drink as fast as possible.

What country is 10 hours ahead? ›

The Chamorro Time Zone, formerly the Guam Time Zone, is a United States time zone which observes standard time ten hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+10:00). The clock time in this zone is based on the mean solar time of the 150th meridian east of the Greenwich Observatory.

Where does the day end in the world? ›

For any given date, the latest place on Earth where it would be valid, is on Howland and Baker Islands, in the IDLW time zone (the Western Hemisphere side of the International Date Line). Therefore, the day ends AoE when it ends on Howland Island. The convention originated in IEEE 802.16 balloting procedures.

Where does the day start first? ›

The international date line, established in 1884, passes through the mid-Pacific Ocean and roughly follows a 180 degrees longitude north-south line on the Earth. It is located halfway around the world from the prime meridian — the 0 degrees longitude line in Greenwich, England.

Is there a 0 time zone? ›

The Greenwich Mean Time corresponds to the UTC 0 time zone, i.e., the Coordinated World Time with an offset of 0 hours. It corresponds to Western European time, which is valid in Portugal, for example, but is officially referred to as GMT in the United Kingdom and several African countries.

Why is India's time zone so weird? ›

This is because India is in the middle of the longitude of 82.5° E. After it became an independent country in 1947, India decided to be 30 minutes between the two countries which are Bangladesh and Pakistan. The time in Pakistan is set to UTC +5:00, while Bangladesh sets its time zone to UTC +6:00.

What if the earth had 1 time zone? ›

Imagine if the entire Earth had a single time zone. Noon would be the middle of the day in some places, but it would be morning, evening, and the middle of the night in others. Since different parts of Earth enter and exit daylight at different times, we need different time zones.

What time is no in Texas? ›

Current Local Time in Locations in Texas with Links for More Information (71 Locations)
DentonSun 6:01 pm
El PasoSun 5:01 pm
Fort WorthSun 6:01 pm
GalvestonSun 6:01 pm
67 more rows

What does Zulu hour mean? ›

Zulu time is measured in hours, minutes and seconds using the Gregorian calendar, military time divisions of hours and minutes, and a 24-hour format. Zulu timekeeping starts at midnight instead of 12 noon or 12 midnight, which is the standard reference for most other time zones.


1. World Time Zones EXPLAINED
2. A History of Time Zones
(The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered)
3. Why There Are NO Flights Between East Asia & South America
4. Canada & The United States's Bizarre Border
(CGP Grey)
5. 15 World’s Strangest Borders, You Will Regret If You Don't See Them
(Missing Files)
6. Anomalous Behaviour of Water | How Ice Supports Life on Earth | BYJU'S NOW WE KNOW


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