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26 September 2007 @ 11:13 pm
Scientists reveal Kansas is flatter than a pancake  
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Scientists have confirmed what many cross-country motorists long have suspected: Kansas is flatter than a pancake.

A study published recently in the tongue-in-cheek Annals of Improbable Research compares the geography of Kansas to that of a griddle cake purchased at International House of Pancakes.

"Simply put, our results show that Kansas is considerably flatter than a pancake," wrote the researchers from Southwest Texas State University and Arizona State University.

Blame Brandon Vogt, a doctoral student at Arizona State University, for the topic. Three researchers were eating breakfast when the talk turned to how flat their pancakes really were.

Vogt suggested comparing the pancake to Kansas. While a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Vogt made frequent trips across the state on Interstate 70 to visit friends in Columbia, Mo.

'It's flatness -- there's nothing to see, nowhere to stop," Vogt said.

The researchers used a confocal laser microscope to map the terrain of a flapjack. And then, they compared that data to elevation data for Kansas from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The researchers discovered the pancake is much bumpier than it first appears.