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Portal:Geography

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The Geography Portal


Map of Earth

Map of Earth

Geography is the science that studies the lands, the features, the inhabitants, and the phenomena of the Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes (276–194 BC). Four historical traditions in geographical research are the spatial analysis of the natural and the human phenomena (geography as the study of distribution), the area studies (places and regions), the study of the human-land relationship, and research in the Earth sciences. Modern geography is an all-encompassing discipline that foremost seeks to understand the Earth and all of its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be. Geography has been called "the world discipline" and "the bridge between the human and the physical science". Geography is divided into two main branches: human geography and physical geography.

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Surtsey eruption 1963.jpg
Surtsey (Icelandic, meaning "Surtr's island") is a volcanic island off the southern coast of Iceland. At 63°18′11″N 20°36′17″W / 63.303°N 20.6047°W / 63.303; -20.6047Coordinates: 63°18′11″N 20°36′17″W / 63.303°N 20.6047°W / 63.303; -20.6047 Surtsey is the southernmost point of Iceland. It was formed in a volcanic eruption which began 130 metres (426 ft) below sea level, and reached the surface on 15 November 1963. The eruption lasted until 5 June 1967, when the island reached its maximum size of 2.7 km2 (1.0 sq mi). Since then, wind and wave erosion have caused the island to steadily diminish in size: as of 2002, its surface area was 1.4 km2 (0.54 sq mi). The new island was named after Surtr, a fire jötunn or giant from Norse mythology. It was intensively studied by volcanologists during its eruption, and afterwards by botanists and biologists as life forms gradually colonised the originally barren island. The undersea vents that produced Surtsey are part of the Vestmannaeyjar (Westmann Isles) submarine volcanic system, part of the fissure of the sea floor called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Vestmannaeyjar also produced the famous eruption of Eldfell on the island of Heimaey in 1973. The eruption that created Surtsey also created a few other small islands along this volcanic chain, such as Jólnir and other, unnamed peaks. Most of these eroded away fairly quickly.

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Molyneux's 1592 terrestrial globe, owned by Middle Temple
Emery Molyneux was an Elizabethan maker of globes, mathematical instruments and ordnance. His terrestrial and celestial globes, first published in 1592, were the first to be made in England and the first to be made by an Englishman. Molyneux was known as a mathematician and maker of mathematical instruments such as compasses and hourglasses. His globes were the first to be made in such a way that they were unaffected by the humidity at sea, and they came into general use on ships. He became acquainted with many prominent men of the day, including the writer Richard Hakluyt and the mathematicians Robert Hues and Edward Wright. He also knew the explorers Thomas Cavendish, Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh and John Davis. Davis probably introduced Molyneux to his own patron, the London merchant William Sanderson, who largely financed the construction of the globes. When completed, the globes were presented to Elizabeth I. Molyneux emigrated to Amsterdam with his wife in 1596 or 1597. He succeeded in interesting the States-General, the parliament of the United Provinces, in a cannon he had invented, but he died suddenly in June 1598, apparently in poverty. The globe-making industry in England died with him. Only six of his globes are believed to be still in existence.

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Laguna Beach, California
Credit: D Ramey Logan

An aerial view of Laguna Beach, a seaside resort city and artist community located in southern Orange County, California, US. The region was originally known to the Spanish as "La Cañada de Las Lagunas" which means "The Canyon of the Small Lakes", in reference to two lakes found near the head of Laguna Canyon.

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