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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Hawai'i.jpg
Mauna Loa is an active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii. Mauna Loa is Earth's largest volcano, with a volume estimated at approximately 18,000 cubic miles (75,000 km³), although its peak is about 36 m (120 ft) lower than that of its neighbor, Mauna Kea. Lava eruptions from Mauna Loa are very fluid and the volcano has extremely shallow slopes as a result. The volcano has probably been erupting for at least 700,000 years and may have emerged from the sea about 400,000 years ago. Its magma comes from a hotspot in the Earth's mantle far beneath the island that has been responsible for the creation of the Hawaiian island chain for tens of million of years. The slow drift of the Pacific Plate will eventually carry the volcano away from the hotspot, and the volcano will thus become extinct within 500,000 to one million years from now. The first recorded summiting of Mauna Loa was in 1794 by naturalist Archibald Menzies, then-Lieutenant Joseph Baker, and two others. Mauna Loa's most recent eruption occurred from March 24, 1984 to April 15, 1984. In view of the hazards it poses to population centers, Mauna Loa is part of the Decade Volcanoes program, which encourages studies of the most dangerous volcanoes. Mauna Loa has been intensively monitored by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) since 1912. Observations of the atmosphere are undertaken at the Mauna Loa Observatory, and of the Sun at the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory, both located near its summit.

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Albert Stanley, 1st Baron Ashfield
Albert Stanley, 1st Baron Ashfield was managing director, then chairman of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) from 1910 to 1933 and chairman of the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) from 1933 to 1947. At a young age, he held senior positions in the developing tramway systems of Detroit and New Jersey. In 1907, his management skills led to his recruitment by the UERL, which was struggling through a financial crisis. He quickly integrated the company's management and used advertising and public relations to improve profits. As managing director of the UERL from 1910, he led the take-over of competing underground railway companies and bus and tram operations to form an integrated transport operation known as the Combine. He was Member of Parliament for Ashton-under-Lyne from December 1916 to January 1920 and was President of the Board of Trade between December 1916 and May 1919. He returned to the UERL and then chaired it and its successor the LPTB during the organisation's greatest period of expansion between the two World Wars, making it a world-respected organisation considered an exemplar of the best form of public administration.

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National Palace of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake
Credit: Photo: Logan Abassi, UNDP Global

This photo, taken the day after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, shows the damage it caused to the National Palace of Haiti. The palace's collapsed cupola has become a symbol of the devastation caused by the quake. The Haitian government is currently in the process of demolishing the remains in preparation for reconstruction.

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

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