Geography

Geography (from Greek: γεωγραφία, geographia, literally "earth description")[1] is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets.[2] The first person to use the word γεωγραφία was Eratosthenes (276–194 BC).[3] 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.[4][5] 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.[6] Physical geography deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere.

The four historical traditions in geographical research are: spatial analyses of natural and the human phenomena, area studies of places and regions, studies of human-land relationships, and the Earth sciences.[7] Geography has been called "the world discipline"[8] and "the bridge between the human and the physical sciences".[9]

Map of the world by the US Gov as of 2016
Physical map of Earth with political borders as of 2016

Introduction

Geography is a systematic study of the Universe and its features. Traditionally, geography has been associated with cartography and place names. Although many geographers are trained in toponymy and cartology, this is not their main preoccupation. Geographers study the space and the temporal database distribution of phenomena, processes, and features as well as the interaction of humans and their environment.[10] Because space and place affect a variety of topics, such as economics, health, climate, plants and animals, geography is highly interdisciplinary. The interdisciplinary nature of the geographical approach depends on an attentiveness to the relationship between physical and human phenomena and its spatial patterns.[11]

Names of places...are not geography...know by heart a whole gazetteer full of them would not, in itself, constitute anyone a geographer. Geography has higher aims than this: it seeks to classify phenomena (alike of the natural and of the political world, in so far as it treats of the latter), to compare, to generalize, to ascend from effects to causes, and, in doing so, to trace out the laws of nature and to mark their influences upon man. This is 'a description of the world'—that is Geography. In a word Geography is a Science—a thing not of mere names but of argument and reason, of cause and effect.[12]

— William Hughes, 1863

Just as all phenomena exist in time and thus have a history, they also exist in space and have a geography.[13]

Geography as a discipline can be split broadly into two main subsidiary fields: human geography and physical geography. The former largely focuses on the built environment and how humans create, view, manage, and influence space. The latter examines the natural environment, and how organisms, climate, soil, water, and landforms produce and interact.[14] The difference between these approaches led to a third field, environmental geography, which combines physical and human geography and concerns the interactions between the environment and humans.[10]

Branches

Physical geography

Physical geography (or physiography) focuses on geography as an Earth science. It aims to understand the physical problems and the issues of lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, pedosphere, and global flora and fauna patterns (biosphere).

Human geography

Human geography is a branch of geography that focuses on the study of patterns and processes that shape the human society. It encompasses the human, political, cultural, social, and economic aspects.

Various approaches to the study of human geography have also arisen through time and include:

Environmental geography

Environmental geography is concerned with the description of the spatial interactions between humans and the natural world. It requires an understanding of the traditional aspects of physical and human geography, as well as the ways that human societies conceptualize the environment. Environmental geography has emerged as a bridge between the human and the physical geography, as a result of the increasing specialisation of the two sub-fields. Furthermore, as human relationship with the environment has changed as a result of globalization and technological change, a new approach was needed to understand the changing and dynamic relationship. Examples of areas of research in the environmental geography include: emergency management, environmental management, sustainability, and political ecology.

Geomatics

Geabios3d
Digital Elevation Model (DEM)

Geomatics is concerned with the application of computers to the traditional spatial techniques used in cartography and topography. Geomatics emerged from the quantitative revolution in geography in the mid-1950s. Today, geomatics methods include spatial analysis, geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and global positioning systems (GPS). Geomatics has led to a revitalization of some geography departments, especially in Northern America where the subject had a declining status during the 1950s.

Regional geography

Regional geography is concerned with the description of the unique characteristics of a particular region such as its natural or human elements. The main aim is to understand, or define the uniqueness, or character of a particular region that consists of natural as well as human elements. Attention is paid also to regionalization, which covers the proper techniques of space delimitation into regions.

Related fields

Techniques

As spatial interrelationships are key to this synoptic science, maps are a key tool. Classical cartography has been joined by a more modern approach to geographical analysis, computer-based geographic information systems (GIS).

In their study, geographers use four interrelated approaches:

  • Systematic – Groups geographical knowledge into categories that can be explored globally.
  • Regional – Examines systematic relationships between categories for a specific region or location on the planet.
  • Descriptive – Simply specifies the locations of features and populations.
  • Analytical – Asks why we find features and populations in a specific geographic area.

Cartography

Cook chart of New Zealand
James Cook's 1770 chart of New Zealand

Cartography studies the representation of the Earth's surface with abstract symbols (map making). Although other subdisciplines of geography rely on maps for presenting their analyses, the actual making of maps is abstract enough to be regarded separately. Cartography has grown from a collection of drafting techniques into an actual science.

Cartographers must learn cognitive psychology and ergonomics to understand which symbols convey information about the Earth most effectively, and behavioural psychology to induce the readers of their maps to act on the information. They must learn geodesy and fairly advanced mathematics to understand how the shape of the Earth affects the distortion of map symbols projected onto a flat surface for viewing. It can be said, without much controversy, that cartography is the seed from which the larger field of geography grew. Most geographers will cite a childhood fascination with maps as an early sign they would end up in the field.

Geographic information systems

Geographic information systems (GIS) deal with the storage of information about the Earth for automatic retrieval by a computer, in an accurate manner appropriate to the information's purpose. In addition to all of the other subdisciplines of geography, GIS specialists must understand computer science and database systems. GIS has revolutionized the field of cartography: nearly all mapmaking is now done with the assistance of some form of GIS software. GIS also refers to the science of using GIS software and GIS techniques to represent, analyse, and predict the spatial relationships. In this context, GIS stands for geographic information science.

Remote sensing

Remote sensing is the science of obtaining information about Earth features from measurements made at a distance. Remotely sensed data comes in many forms, such as satellite imagery, aerial photography, and data obtained from hand-held sensors. Geographers increasingly use remotely sensed data to obtain information about the Earth's land surface, ocean, and atmosphere, because it: (a) supplies objective information at a variety of spatial scales (local to global), (b) provides a synoptic view of the area of interest, (c) allows access to distant and inaccessible sites, (d) provides spectral information outside the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, and (e) facilitates studies of how features/areas change over time. Remotely sensed data may be analysed either independently of, or in conjunction with other digital data layers (e.g., in a geographic information system).

Quantitative methods

Geostatistics deal with quantitative data analysis, specifically the application of statistical methodology to the exploration of geographic phenomena. Geostatistics is used extensively in a variety of fields, including hydrology, geology, petroleum exploration, weather analysis, urban planning, logistics, and epidemiology. The mathematical basis for geostatistics derives from cluster analysis, linear discriminant analysis and non-parametric statistical tests, and a variety of other subjects. Applications of geostatistics rely heavily on geographic information systems, particularly for the interpolation (estimate) of unmeasured points. Geographers are making notable contributions to the method of quantitative techniques.

Qualitative methods

Geographic qualitative methods, or ethnographical research techniques, are used by human geographers. In cultural geography there is a tradition of employing qualitative research techniques, also used in anthropology and sociology. Participant observation and in-depth interviews provide human geographers with qualitative data.

History

The oldest known world maps date back to ancient Babylon from the 9th century BC.[15] The best known Babylonian world map, however, is the Imago Mundi of 600 BC.[16] The map as reconstructed by Eckhard Unger shows Babylon on the Euphrates, surrounded by a circular landmass showing Assyria, Urartu[17] and several cities, in turn surrounded by a "bitter river" (Oceanus), with seven islands arranged around it so as to form a seven-pointed star. The accompanying text mentions seven outer regions beyond the encircling ocean. The descriptions of five of them have survived.[18] In contrast to the Imago Mundi, an earlier Babylonian world map dating back to the 9th century BC depicted Babylon as being further north from the center of the world, though it is not certain what that center was supposed to represent.[15]

The ideas of Anaximander (c. 610–545 BC): considered by later Greek writers to be the true founder of geography, come to us through fragments quoted by his successors. Anaximander is credited with the invention of the gnomon, the simple, yet efficient Greek instrument that allowed the early measurement of latitude. Thales is also credited with the prediction of eclipses. The foundations of geography can be traced to the ancient cultures, such as the ancient, medieval, and early modern Chinese. The Greeks, who were the first to explore geography as both art and science, achieved this through Cartography, Philosophy, and Literature, or through Mathematics. There is some debate about who was the first person to assert that the Earth is spherical in shape, with the credit going either to Parmenides or Pythagoras. Anaxagoras was able to demonstrate that the profile of the Earth was circular by explaining eclipses. However, he still believed that the Earth was a flat disk, as did many of his contemporaries. One of the first estimates of the radius of the Earth was made by Eratosthenes.[19]

The first rigorous system of latitude and longitude lines is credited to Hipparchus. He employed a sexagesimal system that was derived from Babylonian mathematics. The meridians were sub-divided into 360°, with each degree further subdivided into 60 (minutes). To measure the longitude at different locations on Earth, he suggested using eclipses to determine the relative difference in time.[20] The extensive mapping by the Romans as they explored new lands would later provide a high level of information for Ptolemy to construct detailed atlases. He extended the work of Hipparchus, using a grid system on his maps and adopting a length of 56.5 miles for a degree.[21]

From the 3rd century onwards, Chinese methods of geographical study and writing of geographical literature became much more comprehensive than what was found in Europe at the time (until the 13th century).[22] Chinese geographers such as Liu An, Pei Xiu, Jia Dan, Shen Kuo, Fan Chengda, Zhou Daguan, and Xu Xiake wrote important treatises, yet by the 17th century advanced ideas and methods of Western-style geography were adopted in China.

PtolemyWorldMap
The Ptolemy world map, reconstituted from Ptolemy's Geographia, written c. 150

During the Middle Ages, the fall of the Roman empire led to a shift in the evolution of geography from Europe to the Islamic world.[22] Muslim geographers such as Muhammad al-Idrisi produced detailed world maps (such as Tabula Rogeriana), while other geographers such as Yaqut al-Hamawi, Abu Rayhan Biruni, Ibn Battuta, and Ibn Khaldun provided detailed accounts of their journeys and the geography of the regions they visited. Turkish geographer, Mahmud al-Kashgari drew a world map on a linguistic basis, and later so did Piri Reis (Piri Reis map). Further, Islamic scholars translated and interpreted the earlier works of the Romans and the Greeks and established the House of Wisdom in Baghdad for this purpose.[23] Abū Zayd al-Balkhī, originally from Balkh, founded the "Balkhī school" of terrestrial mapping in Baghdad.[24] Suhrāb, a late tenth century Muslim geographer accompanied a book of geographical coordinates, with instructions for making a rectangular world map with equirectangular projection or cylindrical equidistant projection.[24]

Abu Rayhan Biruni (976–1048) first described a polar equi-azimuthal equidistant projection of the celestial sphere.[25] He was regarded as the most skilled when it came to mapping cities and measuring the distances between them, which he did for many cities in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. He often combined astronomical readings and mathematical equations, in order to develop methods of pin-pointing locations by recording degrees of latitude and longitude. He also developed similar techniques when it came to measuring the heights of mountains, depths of the valleys, and expanse of the horizon. He also discussed human geography and the planetary habitability of the Earth. He also calculated the latitude of Kath, Khwarezm, using the maximum altitude of the Sun, and solved a complex geodesic equation in order to accurately compute the Earth's circumference, which was close to modern values of the Earth's circumference.[26] His estimate of 6,339.9 km for the Earth radius was only 16.8 km less than the modern value of 6,356.7 km. In contrast to his predecessors, who measured the Earth's circumference by sighting the Sun simultaneously from two different locations, al-Biruni developed a new method of using trigonometric calculations, based on the angle between a plain and mountain top, which yielded more accurate measurements of the Earth's circumference, and made it possible for it to be measured by a single person from a single location.[27]

Alexander von Humboldt-selfportrait
Self portrait of Alexander von Humboldt, one of the early pioneers of geography as an academic subject in modern sense

The European Age of Discovery during the 16th and the 17th centuries, where many new lands were discovered and accounts by European explorers such as Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, and James Cook revived a desire for both accurate geographic detail, and more solid theoretical foundations in Europe. The problem facing both explorers and geographers was finding the latitude and longitude of a geographic location. The problem of latitude was solved long ago but that of longitude remained; agreeing on what zero meridian should be was only part of the problem. It was left to John Harrison to solve it by inventing the chronometer H-4 in 1760, and later in 1884 for the International Meridian Conference to adopt by convention the Greenwich meridian as zero meridian.[28]

The 18th and the 19th centuries were the times when geography became recognized as a discrete academic discipline, and became part of a typical university curriculum in Europe (especially Paris and Berlin). The development of many geographic societies also occurred during the 19th century, with the foundations of the Société de Géographie in 1821,[29] the Royal Geographical Society in 1830,[30] Russian Geographical Society in 1845,[31] American Geographical Society in 1851,[32] and the National Geographic Society in 1888.[33] The influence of Immanuel Kant, Alexander von Humboldt, Carl Ritter, and Paul Vidal de la Blache can be seen as a major turning point in geography from a philosophy to an academic subject.

Over the past two centuries, the advancements in technology with computers have led to the development of geomatics and new practices such as participant observation and geostatistics being incorporated into geography's portfolio of tools. In the West during the 20th century, the discipline of geography went through four major phases: environmental determinism, regional geography, the quantitative revolution, and critical geography. The strong interdisciplinary links between geography and the sciences of geology and botany, as well as economics, sociology and demographics have also grown greatly, especially as a result of earth system science that seeks to understand the world in a holistic view.

Notable geographers

Institutions and societies

Publications

Notes and references

  1. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Online Etymology Dictionary". Etymonline.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Geography". The American Heritage Dictionary/ of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. Retrieved 9 October 2006.
  3. ^ Eratosthenes (2010-01-24). Eratosthenes' Geography. Translated by Roller, Duane W. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-14267-8.
  4. ^ Pidwirny, Dr. Michael; Jones, Scott. "Chapter 1: Introduction to Physical Geography". Physicalgeography.net. University of British Columbia Okanagan. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  5. ^ Bonnett, Alastair (2008). What is Geography?. SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-1-84920-649-5. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  6. ^ Johnston, Ron (2000). "Human Geography". In Johnston, Ron; Gregory, Derek; Pratt, Geraldine; et al. The Dictionary of Human Geography. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 353–360.
  7. ^ Pattison, William D. (Summer 1990). "The Four Traditions of Geography" (PDF). Journal of Geography (published 1964). September/October 1990 (5): 202–206. doi:10.1080/00221349008979196. ISSN 0022-1341. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  8. ^ Bonnett, Alastair (March 2003). "Geography as the world discipline: connecting popular and academic geographical imaginations". Area. 35 (1): 55–63. doi:10.1111/1475-4762.00110. ISSN 0004-0894.
  9. ^ Dorn, Harold (1991). The Geography of Science. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-4151-4.
  10. ^ a b Hayes-Bohanan, James (29 September 2009). "What is Environmental Geography, Anyway?". webhost.bridgew.edu. Bridgewater State University. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  11. ^ Hornby, William F.; Jones, Melvyn (1991-06-28). An introduction to Settlement Geography. Cambridge University Press (published 29 June 1991). ISBN 978-0-521-28263-5. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  12. ^ Hughes, William. (1863). The Study of Geography. Lecture delivered at King's College, London by Sir Marc Alexander. Quoted in Baker, J.N.L (1963). The History of Geography. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-85328-022-4.
  13. ^ "Chapter 3: Geography's Perspectives". Rediscovering Geography: New Relevance for Science and Society. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 1997. p. 28. Retrieved 2014-05-06.
  14. ^ "What is geography?". AAG Career Guide: Jobs in Geography and related Geographical Sciences. American Association of Geographers. Archived from the original on October 6, 2006. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  15. ^ a b Kurt A. Raaflaub & Richard J.A. Talbert (2009). Geography and Ethnography: Perceptions of the World in Pre-Modern Societies. John Wiley & Sons. p. 147. ISBN 978-1-4051-9146-3.
  16. ^ Siebold, Jim. "Slide 103". henry-davis.com. Henry Davis Consulting Inc. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  17. ^ Delano Smith, Catherine (1996). "Imago Mundi's Logo the Babylonian Map of the World". Imago Mundi. 48: 209–211. doi:10.1080/03085699608592846. JSTOR 1151277.
  18. ^ Finkel, Irving (Winter 1995). A join to the map of the world: A notable discovery. British Museum Magazine. pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-0-7141-2073-7.
  19. ^ Tassoul, Jean-Louis; Tassoul, Monique (2004). A Concise History of Solar and Stellar Physics. London: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-11711-9. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  20. ^ "Hipparchus of Rhodes". tmth.edu.gr. Thessaloniki Science Center and Technology Museum. 2001. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  21. ^ Sullivan, Dan (2000). "Mapmaking and its History". Rutgers University. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  22. ^ a b Needham, Joseph (1959). Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and the Earth. Science and Civilization in China. 3. Taipei: Caves Books, Ltd. p. 512. ISBN 978-0-521-05801-8. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Science and Scholarship in Al-Andalus". IslamiCity.com. IslamiCity. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  24. ^ a b Edson, Evelyn; Savage-Smith, Emilie (Winter 2007). "Medieval Views of the Cosmos". International Journal of the Classical Tradition. 13:3: 61–63. JSTOR 30222166.
  25. ^ King, David A. (1996). Rashed, Roshdi, ed. Astronomy and Islamic society: Qibla, gnomics and timekeeping (PDF). Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science. 1. pp. 128–184. ISBN 978-0-203-71184-2. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  26. ^ Aber, James Sandusky (2003). "Abu Rayhan al-Biruni". academic.emporia.edu. Emporia State University. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  27. ^ Goodman, Lenn Evan (1992). Avicenna. Great Britain: Routledge. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-415-01929-3. Retrieved 10 November 2016. It was Biruni, not Avicenna, who found a way for a single man, at a single moment, to measure the earth's circumference, by trigonometric calculations based on angles measured from a mountaintop and the plain beneath it – thus improving on Eratosthenes' method of sighting the sun simultaneously from two different sites, applied in the ninth century by astronomers of the Khalif al-Ma'mun.
  28. ^ Aughton, Peter (2009). Voyages that changed the world. Penguin Group. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-84724-004-0. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  29. ^ "Société de Géographie, Paris, France". socgeo.org (in French). Société de Géographie. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  30. ^ "About Us". rgs.org. Royal Geographical Society. Archived from the original on 18 October 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  31. ^ "Русское Географическое Общество (основано в 1845 г.)". rgo.org.ru (in Russian). Russian Geological Society. Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  32. ^ "History". Amergeog.org. The American Geographical Society. Archived from the original on 2016-10-17. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  33. ^ "National Geographic Society". state.gov. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
Bay

A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean, a lake, or another bay. A large bay is usually called a gulf, sea, sound, or bight. A cove is a type of smaller bay with a circular inlet and narrow entrance. A fjord is a particularly steep bay shaped by glacial activity.

A bay can be the estuary of a river, such as the Chesapeake Bay, an estuary of the Susquehanna River. Bays may also be nested within each other; for example, James Bay is an arm of Hudson Bay in northeastern Canada. Some large bays, such as the Bay of Bengal and Hudson Bay, have varied marine geology.

The land surrounding a bay often reduces the strength of winds and blocks waves. Bays were significant in the history of human settlement because they provided safe places for fishing. Later they were important in the development of sea trade as the safe anchorage they provide encouraged their selection as ports.

Elevation

The elevation of a geographic location is its height above or below a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface (see Geodetic datum § Vertical datum).

The term elevation is mainly used when referring to points on the Earth's surface, while altitude or geopotential height is used for points above the surface, such as an aircraft in flight or a spacecraft in orbit, and depth is used for points below the surface.

Elevation is not to be confused with the distance from the center of the Earth. Due to the equatorial bulge, the summits of Mount Everest and Chimborazo have, respectively, the largest elevation and the largest geocentric distance.

Geographical feature

Geographical features are naturally-created features of the Earth. Natural geographical features consist of landforms and ecosystems. For example, terrain types, (physical factors of the environment) are natural geographical features. Conversely, human settlements or other engineered forms are considered types of artificial geographical features.

Geography of China

China has great physical diversity. The eastern plains and southern coasts of the country consist of fertile lowlands and foothills. They are the location of most of China's agricultural output and human population. The southern areas of the country (South of the Yangtze River) consist of hilly and mountainous terrain. The west and north of the country are dominated by sunken basins (such as the Gobi and the Taklamakan), rolling plateaus, and towering massifs. It contains part of the highest tableland on earth, the Tibetan Plateau, and has much lower agricultural potential and population.

Traditionally, the Chinese population centered on the Chinese central plain and oriented itself toward its own enormous inland market, developing as an imperial power whose center lay in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River on the northern plains. More recently, the 18,000 km (11,000 mi) coastline has been used extensively for export-oriented trade, causing the coastal provinces to become the leading economic center.

The People's Republic of China has an area of about 9,600,000 km2 (3,700,000 sq mi). The exact land area is sometimes challenged by border disputes, most notably about Taiwan, Aksai Chin, the Trans-Karakoram Tract, and South Tibet. The area of the People's Republic of China is 9,596,960 km2 (3,705,410 sq mi) according to the CIA's The World Factbook. The People's Republic of China is either the third or fourth largest country in the world, being either slightly larger or slightly smaller than the United States depending on how the area of the United States is measured. Both countries are smaller than Russia and Canada and larger than Brazil.

Geography of India

India lies on the Indian Plate, the northern portion of the Indo-Australian Plate, whose continental crust forms the Indian subcontinent. The country is situated north of the equator between 8°04' to 37°06' north latitude and 68°07' to 97°25' east longitude. It is the seventh-largest country in the world, with a total area of 3,287,263 square kilometres (1,269,219 sq mi). India measures 3,214 km (1,997 mi) from north to south and 2,933 km (1,822 mi) from east to west. It has a land frontier of 15,200 km (9,445 mi) and a coastline of 7,516.6 km (4,671 mi).On the south, India projects into and is bounded by the Indian Ocean—in particular, by the Arabian Sea on the west, the Lakshadweep Sea to the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the east, and the Indian Ocean proper to the South . The Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar separate India from Sri Lanka to its immediate southeast, and the Maldives are some 125 kilometres (78 mi) to the south of India's Lakshadweep Islands across the Eight Degree Channel. India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands, some 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) southeast of the mainland, share maritime borders with Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia. Kanyakumari at 8°4′41″N and 77°55′230″E is the southernmost tip of the Indian mainland, while the southernmost point in India is Indira Point on Great Nicobar Island. The northernmost point which is under Indian administration is Indira Col, Siachen Glacier. India's territorial waters extend into the sea to a distance of 12 nautical miles (13.8 mi; 22.2 km) from the coast baseline.The northern frontiers of India are defined largely by the Himalayan mountain range, where the country borders China, Bhutan, and Nepal. Its western border with Pakistan lies in the Karakoram range, Punjab Plains, the Thar Desert and the Rann of Kutch salt marshes. In the far northeast, the Chin Hills and Kachin Hills, deeply forested mountainous regions, separate India from Burma. On the east, its border with Bangladesh is largely defined by the Khasi Hills and Mizo Hills, and the watershed region of the Indo-Gangetic Plain.The Ganga is the longest river originating in India. The Ganga–Brahmaputra system occupies most of northern, central, and eastern India, while the Deccan Plateau occupies most of southern India. K2, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, is the highest point in India at 8,611 m (28,251 ft) and the world's 2nd highest peak. Climate across India ranges from equatorial in the far south, to alpine and tundra in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. the geographic view of India is pretty expository and vivid in the terms of area, mountains and relief.

Geography of Taiwan

Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa, is an island in East Asia; located some 180 kilometres (112 miles) off the southeastern coast of mainland China across the Taiwan Strait. It has an area of 36,104 km2 (13,940 sq mi), which includes other nearby islands such as Penghu (127 km2 (49 sq mi)). The East China Sea lies to the north, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Luzon Strait directly to the south and the South China Sea to the southwest. The island makes up 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China, which is also known as "Taiwan".

Taiwan is a tilted fault block, characterized by the contrast between the eastern two-thirds, consisting mostly of five rugged mountain ranges parallel to the east coast, and the flat to gently rolling plains of the western third, where the majority of Taiwan's population reside. There are several peaks over 3,500 m, the highest being Yu Shan at 3,952 metres (12,966 ft), making Taiwan the world's fourth-highest island. The tectonic boundary that formed these ranges is still active, and the island experiences many earthquakes, a few of them highly destructive. There are also many active submarine volcanoes in the Taiwan Straits.

The climate ranges from tropical in the south to subtropical in the north, and is governed by the East Asian Monsoon. The island is struck by an average of four typhoons in each year. The eastern mountains are heavily forested and home to a diverse range of wildlife, while land use in the western and northern lowlands is intensive.

History of geography

The history of geography includes many histories of geography which have differed over time and between different cultural and political groups. In more recent developments, geography has become a distinct academic discipline. 'Geography' derives from the Greek γεωγραφία – geographia, a literal translation of which would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes (276–194 BC). However, there is evidence for recognizable practices of geography, such as cartography (or map-making) prior to the use of the term geography.

Human geography

Human geography is the branch of geography that 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. Human geography attends to human patterns of social interaction, as well as spatial level interdependencies, and how they influence or affect the earth's environment. As an intellectual discipline, geography is divided into the sub-fields of physical geography and human geography, the latter concentrating upon the study of human activities, by the application of qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Index of geography articles

This page is a list of geography topics.

Geography is the study of the world and of the distribution of life on the earth, including human life and the effects of human activity. Geography research addresses both the questions of where, as well as why, geographical phenomena occur. Geography is a diverse field that seeks to understand the world and all of its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but how they came to be, and how they have changed since then.

Levant

The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands; that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to Cyrenaica.The term entered English in the late 15th century from French. It derives from the Italian Levante, meaning "rising", implying the rising of the sun in the east, and is broadly equivalent to the term Al-Mashriq (Arabic: الْمَشْرق‎, [ʔalmaʃriq]), meaning "the east, where the sun rises".In the 13th and 14th centuries, the term levante was used for Italian maritime commerce in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Greece, Anatolia, Syria-Palestine, and Egypt, that is, the lands east of Venice. Eventually the term was restricted to the Muslim countries of Syria-Palestine and Egypt. In 1581, England set up the Levant Company to monopolize commerce with the Ottoman Empire. The name Levant States was used to refer to the French mandate over Syria and Lebanon after World War I. This is probably the reason why the term Levant has come to be used more specifically to refer to modern Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Cyprus. Some scholars misunderstood the term thinking that it derives from the name of Lebanon. Today the term is often used in conjunction with prehistoric or ancient historical references. It has the same meaning as "Syria-Palestine" or Ash-Shaam (Arabic: الـشَّـام‎, /ʔaʃ-ʃaːm/), the area that is bounded by the Taurus Mountains of Turkey in the North, the Mediterranean Sea in the west, and the north Arabian Desert and Mesopotamia in the east. Typically, it does not include Anatolia (also called Asia Minor), the Caucasus Mountains, or any part of the Arabian Peninsula proper. Cilicia (in Asia Minor) and the Sinai Peninsula (Asian Egypt) are sometimes included.

The term Levant was widely used to describe the region from the 18th to the mid-19th centuries, and has had steady but lower usage since the late 19th century; several dictionaries consider it to be archaic today. Both the noun Levant and the adjective Levantine are now commonly used to describe the ancient and modern culture area formerly called Syro-Palestinian or Biblical: archaeologists now speak of the Levant and of Levantine archaeology; food scholars speak of Levantine cuisine; and the Latin Christians of the Levant continue to be called Levantine Christians.The Levant has been described as the "crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, and northeast Africa", and the "northwest of the Arabian plate". The populations of the Levant share not only the geographic position, but cuisine, some customs, and history. They are often referred to as Levantines.

List of places in England

Here is a list of places, divided by ceremonial county of England.

Oasis

In geography, an oasis (; plural: oases ) is the combination of a human settlement and a cultivated area (often a date palm grove) in a desert or semi-desert environment. Oases also provide habitat for animals and spontaneous plants.

Outline of geography

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to geography:

Geography – study of earth and its people.

Peninsula

A peninsula (Latin: paeninsula from paene "almost” and insula "island") is a landform surrounded by water on the majority of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding water is usually understood to be continuous, though not necessarily named as a single body of water. Peninsulas are not always named as such; one can also be a headland, cape, island promontory, bill, point, or spit. A point is generally considered a tapering piece of land projecting into a body of water that is less prominent than a cape. A river which courses through a very tight meander is also sometimes said to form a "peninsula" within the (almost closed) loop of water. In English, the plural versions of peninsula are peninsulas and, less commonly, peninsulae.

Philosophy of geography

Philosophy of geography is the subfield of philosophy which deals with epistemological, metaphysical, and axiological issues in geography, with geographic methodology in general, and with more broadly related issues such as the perception and representation of space and place.

Region

In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment (environmental geography). Geographic regions and sub-regions are mostly described by their imprecisely defined, and sometimes transitory boundaries, except in human geography, where jurisdiction areas such as national borders are defined in law.

Apart from the global continental regions, there are also hydrospheric and atmospheric regions that cover the oceans, and discrete climates above the land and water masses of the planet. The land and water global regions are divided into subregions geographically bounded by large geological features that influence large-scale ecologies, such as plains and features.

As a way of describing spatial areas, the concept of regions is important and widely used among the many branches of geography, each of which can describe areas in regional terms. For example, ecoregion is a term used in environmental geography, cultural region in cultural geography, bioregion in biogeography, and so on. The field of geography that studies regions themselves is called regional geography.

In the fields of physical geography, ecology, biogeography, zoogeography, and environmental geography, regions tend to be based on natural features such as ecosystems or biotopes, biomes, drainage basins, natural regions, mountain ranges, soil types. Where human geography is concerned, the regions and subregions are described by the discipline of ethnography.

A region has its own nature that could not be moved. The first nature is its natural environment (landform, climate, etc.). The second nature is its physical elements complex that were built by people in the past. The third nature is its socio-cultural context that could not be replaced by new immigrants.

San Andreas Fault

The San Andreas Fault is a continental transform fault that extends roughly 1,200 kilometers (750 mi) through California. It forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, and its motion is right-lateral strike-slip (horizontal). The fault divides into three segments, each with different characteristics and a different degree of earthquake risk. The slip rate along the fault ranges from 20 to 35 mm (0.79 to 1.38 in)/yr.The fault was identified in 1895 by Professor Andrew Lawson of UC Berkeley, who discovered the northern zone. It is often described as having been named after San Andreas Lake, a small body of water that was formed in a valley between the two plates. However, according to some of his reports from 1895 and 1908, Lawson actually named it after the surrounding San Andreas Valley. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Lawson concluded that the fault extended all the way into southern California.

In 1953, geologist Thomas Dibblee concluded that hundreds of miles of lateral movement could occur along the fault. A project called the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD) near Parkfield, Monterey County, was drilled through the fault during 2004 – 2007 to collect material and make physical and chemical observations to better understand fault behavior.

Summit

A summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. Mathematically, a summit is a local maximum in elevation. The topographic terms acme, apex, peak (mountain peak), and zenith are synonymous.

Tributary

A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the main stem river drain the surrounding drainage basin of its surface water and groundwater, leading the water out into an ocean.

A confluence, where two or more bodies of water meet together, usually refers to the joining of tributaries.

The opposite to a tributary is a distributary, a river or stream that branches off from and flows away from the main stream. Distributaries are most often found in river deltas.

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