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Portal:Geography

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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 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.

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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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Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone was an American pioneer and hunter whose frontier exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone is most famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now the U.S. Commonwealth of Kentucky, which was then beyond the western borders of the Thirteen Colonies. Despite resistance from American Indians, for whom Kentucky was a traditional hunting ground, in 1775 Boone blazed the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky. There he founded Boonesborough, one of the first English-speaking settlements beyond the Appalachian Mountains. Before the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 European people migrated to Kentucky and Virginia by following the route marked by Boone. He was a legend in his own lifetime, especially after an account of his adventures was published in 1784, making him famous in America and Europe. After his death, he was frequently the subject of tall tales and works of fiction. His adventures—real and legendary—were influential in creating the archetypal Western hero of American folklore. In American popular culture, he is remembered as one of the foremost early frontiersmen, even though the mythology often overshadows the historical details of his life.

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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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Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, 1902 edition, Part Two (1902)

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