The Geography Portal


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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Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is a national park located in the U.S. states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Yellowstone, widely held to be the first national park in the world, was established in 1872 by the United States Congress and is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is dominant. Yellowstone National Park spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles (8,983 km2), comprising lakes, canyons, rivers, and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered an active volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years. Half of the world's geothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism. Hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have been documented, including several that are either endangered or threatened. The vast forests and grasslands also include unique species of plants. Yellowstone Park is the largest and most famous megafauna location in the continental United States.

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Ferdinand Magellan

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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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Thames Barrier
Credit: Photo: David Iliff

The Thames Barrier, the world's second-largest movable flood barrier, as seen from Silvertown on the north bank of the River Thames during normal operation, looking across to New Charlton. The barrier is located downstream of central London and its purpose is to prevent London from being flooded by exceptionally high tides and storm surges moving up from the sea. It needs to be raised (closed) only during high tide; at ebb tide it can be lowered to release the water that backs up behind it.

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William Cullen Bryant

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