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Portal:Geography

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Introduction

Physical map of Earth with political borders as of 2016

Geography (from Greek: γεωγραφία, geographia, literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the word γεωγραφία was Eratosthenes (276–194 BC). Geography is an all-encompassing discipline that seeks an understanding of Earth and its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but also how they have changed and come to be.

Geography is often defined in terms of two branches: human geography and physical geography. Human geography deals with the study of people and their communities, cultures, economies, and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across space and place. Physical geography deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere.

True-color image of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center image.
True-color image of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center image.
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Caldera Mt Tambora Sumbawa Indonesia.jpg
Mount Tambora is an active stratovolcano on Sumbawa island, Indonesia. Sumbawa is flanked both to the north and south by oceanic crust and Tambora was formed by the active subduction zones beneath it. This process raised Mount Tambora as high as 4,300 m (14,000 ft), making it one of the tallest peaks in the Indonesian archipelago, and drained off a large magma chamber inside the mountain. In 1815, Tambora erupted with a rating of seven on the Volcanic Explosivity Index; the largest eruption since the Lake Taupo eruption in AD 181. With an estimated ejecta volume of 160 km3 (38 cu mi), Tambora's 1815 outburst was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history. Heavy volcanic ash falls were observed as far away as Borneo, Sulawesi, Java and Maluku islands. Most deaths from the eruption were from starvation and disease, as the eruptive fallout ruined the local agriculture. The death toll was at least 71,000 people, of whom 11,000–12,000 were killed directly by the eruption. The eruption created global climate anomalies in the following years. 1816 became known as the Year Without a Summer because of the impact on North American and European weather. During an excavation in 2004, a team of archaeologists discovered a civilization obliterated by the 1815 eruption, known as the "Pompeii of the East".

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Amundsen's party at the South Pole, December 1911

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The title page of Tractatus de globis et eorum usu
Robert Hues (1553–1632) was an English mathematician and geographer who made observations of the variations of the compass off the coast of Newfoundland. He either went there on a fishing trip, or joined a 1585 voyage to Virginia arranged by Walter Raleigh and led by Richard Grenville which passed Newfoundland on the return journey to England. Between 1586 and 1588, Hues travelled with Thomas Cavendish on a circumnavigation of the globe, taking the opportunity to measure latitudes. Beginning in August 1591, Hues travelled with the Earl of Cumberland, intending to complete a circumnavigation of the globe. During the voyage, Hues made astronomical observations while in the South Atlantic, and also observed the variation of the compass there and at the Equator. Cavendish died on the journey, and Hues returned to England in 1593. In 1594, Hues published his discoveries in the Latin work Tractatus de globis et eorum usu (Treatise on Globes and their Use) which was written to explain the use of globes that had been made and published by Emery Molyneux in late 1592 or early 1593, and to encourage English sailors to use practical astronomical navigation. Hues' work subsequently went into at least 12 other printings in Dutch, English, French and Latin.

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Matua (island)
Credit: NASA

A view from space of an explosive eruption of Sarychev Peak on June 12, 2009. The volcano is the central peak of Matua, an uninhabited island in the Kuril archipelago in the Sea of Okhotsk east of Russia and north of Japan. During World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army had an airfield on the island, which was taken over by the Soviet Border Troops after the war and abandoned in 1999.

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Horace Walpole
Horace Walpole, letter to Sir Horace Mann (1774)

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Antarctica (orthographic projection).svg
Antarctica
Afro-Eurasia (orthographic projection).svg
Afro-Eurasia
Americas (orthographic projection).svg
Americas
Australia (orthographic projection).svg
Australia
Africa (orthographic projection).svg
Africa
Eurasia (orthographic projection).svg
Eurasia
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North America
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Oceania
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Europe
Asia (orthographic projection).svg
Asia
South America (orthographic projection).svg
South America
Supercontinents:
Gondwana • Laurasia • Pangaea • Rodinia


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