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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The Cannikin warhead being lowered into test shaft
Amchitka, a volcanic, tectonically unstable island, is a part of the Rat Islands group of the Aleutian Islands located in southwest Alaska. It is about 68 kilometres (42 miles) long, and ranges from 3 to 6 km (2–3.75 mi) in width. Courtesy of its maritime climate, it is particularly susceptible to storms, and is mostly shrouded with overcast skies. The island was inhabited for more than 2,500 years by the Aleut people, but has had no permanent population since 1832. It was included in the Alaska Purchase of 1867, and since then has been part of the United States. During World War II, it was used as an airfield by US forces in the Battle of the Aleutian Islands.

Amchitka was selected by the United States Atomic Energy Commission to serve as the site for underground detonations of nuclear weapons. Three such tests were carried out: Long Shot, an 80 kiloton blast in 1965; Milrow, a 1 megaton blast in 1969; and Cannikin in 1971 – at "under 5 megatons", the largest underground test ever conducted by the United States. The tests were highly controversial, with environmental groups fearing that the Cannikin explosion, in particular, would cause severe earthquakes and tsunamis. Amchitka is no longer used for nuclear testing, although it is being constantly monitored for the leakage of radioactive materials.

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Amundsen's party at the South Pole, December 1911

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Parastylotermes fossil

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Georg Forster
Georg Forster was an 18th-century German naturalist, ethnologist, travel writer, journalist, and revolutionary. At an early age, he accompanied his father on several scientific expeditions, including James Cook's second voyage to the Pacific. His report from that journey, A Voyage Round the World, contributed significantly to the ethnology of the people of Polynesia and remains a respected work among both scientists and ordinary readers. As a result of the report Forster was admitted to the Royal Society at the age of 22 and he came to be considered one of the founders of modern scientific travel literature. Forster was a central figure of the Enlightenment in Germany, and corresponded with most of its adherents, including Georg Christoph Lichtenberg who was a close friend of his. His ideas and personality influenced strongly one of the greatest German scientists of 19th century, Alexander von Humboldt. In July 1793, while he was in Paris as a delegate of the young Mainz Republic, Prussian and Austrian coalition forces regained control of the city and Forster was declared an outlaw. Unable to return to Germany and separated from his friends and family, he died in Paris of illness in early 1794.

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Sella
Credit: Dmitry A. Mottl

The Sella is a plateau shaped massif in the Dolomites mountains of northern Italy. The Sella lies north of the Marmolada and to the east of the Langkofel. The highest peak is Piz Boè at 3.151m/ 10,338 ft above sea level. The Sella lies between the four Ladin valleys of Badia, Gherdëina, Fascia, and Fodom and is divided between the provinces of South Tyrol, Trentino and Belluno.

As you can see from this picture the snow is notorious for piling up atop the mountain.

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Andrew Scott Waugh
Andrew Scott Waugh, Report on Mounts Everest and Deodanga (1858)

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