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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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Friedrich Ratzel

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Kaiparowits Plateau

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Lester Brain
Lester Brain was a pioneer Australian aviator and airline executive. Born in New South Wales, he trained with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) before joining Qantas as a pilot in 1924. He was awarded the Air Force Cross in 1929, after locating the lost aircraft Kookaburra in northern Australia. As a member of the RAAF reserve, Brain coordinated his airline's support for the Australian military during World War II. He earned a King's Commendation for his rescue efforts during an air raid on Broome, Western Australia in 1942, and was promoted to wing commander in 1944. Brain left Qantas to join the fledgling government-owned domestic carrier Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) in June 1946. Appointed its first General Manager, he swiftly built up the organisation to the stage where it could commence scheduled operations later in the year. By the time he resigned in March 1955, TAA was firmly established as one half of the Commonwealth government's two-airline system. After his departure from TAA, Brain became managing director of de Havilland Aircraft in Sydney, before joining the board of East-West Airlines as a consultant in January 1961. Appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in January 1979, Lester Brain died in June the following year, at the age of seventy-seven.

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Jamison Valley, Blue Mountains, Australia
Credit: Diliff

The Blue Mountains in Australia borders on Sydney's metropolitan area, its foothills starting approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of the state capital. Geologically, it is situated in the central parts of the Sydney Basin. Consisting mainly of a sandstone plateau, the area is dissected by gorges up to 760 metres (2,490 ft) deep.

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Stephen F. Chadwick
Stephen F. Chadwick, Governor's Biennial Message (1878)

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