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.

In this month

David Harvey

Did you know...

Ruins of Gamleborg

  • ... that Gamleborg (fortress ruins pictured) represents Bornholm's oldest defence works?
  • ... that Chao Mae Tuptim in Bangkok is a site crammed full of wooden circumcised penis statues which are said to endow good fortune and fertility on anybody coming into contact with them?
  • ... that the Bab al-Nairab neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria, was originally a 13th-century gate planned by the Ayyubid ruler az-Zahir Ghazi, but built by his successor al-Aziz Muhammad?

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Featured biography

Sylvanus Morley
Sylvanus Morley was an American archaeologist, epigrapher and Mayanist scholar who made significant contributions towards the study of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization in the early 20th century. He is particularly noted for his extensive excavations of the Maya site of Chichen Itza. He also published several large compilations and treatises on Maya hieroglyphic writing, and wrote popular accounts on the Maya for a general audience. To his contemporaries he was one of the leading Mesoamerican archaeologists of his day; although more recent developments in the field have resulted in a re-evaluation of his theories and works, his publications (particularly on calendric inscriptions) are still cited. Overall, his commitment and enthusiasm for Maya studies would generate the interest and win the necessary sponsorship and backing to finance projects which would ultimately reveal much about the Maya of former times. In his role as director of various projects sponsored by the Carnegie Institution, he oversaw and encouraged many others who later established notable careers in their own right. His involvement in clandestine espionage activities at the behest of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence was another, surprising, aspect of his career, which came to light only well after his death.

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Bay of Kotor
Credit: Ggia

The Bay of Kotor is a winding bay on the Adriatic Sea in south-western Montenegro. It is a ria of the disintegrated Bokelj River which used to run from the high mountain plateaus of Mount Orjen. The bay has been inhabited since antiquity and has some well preserved medieval towns, making it an important tourist attraction in Montenegro.

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