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Portal:Geography

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Introduction

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.
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 Earth. 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.

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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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Friedrich Ratzel

Did you know...

Ruins of Gamleborg

  • ... that Gamleborg (fortress ruins pictured) represents Bornholm's oldest defence works?
  • ... that Chao Mae Tuptim in Bangkok is a site crammed full of wooden circumcised penis statues which are said to endow good fortune and fertility on anybody coming into contact with them?
  • ... that the Bab al-Nairab neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria, was originally a 13th-century gate planned by the Ayyubid ruler az-Zahir Ghazi, but built by his successor al-Aziz Muhammad?

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Featured biography

Caspar David Friedrich
Caspar David Friedrich was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important of the movement. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes, which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. His primary interest as an artist was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey a subjective, emotional response to the natural world. Friedrich's work characteristically sets the human element in diminished perspective amid expansive landscapes, reducing the figures to a scale that. Friedrich was born in the Swedish Pomeranian town of Greifswald, where he began his studies in art as a youth. Later, he studied in Copenhagen until 1798, before settling in Dresden. Friedrich's work brought him renown early in his career, and contemporaries such as the French sculptor David d'Angers spoke of him as a man who had discovered "the tragedy of landscape". However, his work fell from favour during his later years, and he died in obscurity. By the 1920s his paintings had been discovered by the Expressionists, and in the 1930s and early 1940s Surrealists and Existentialists frequently drew ideas from his work.

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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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Lord Byron
Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto IV (1818)

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