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Portal:Geography

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Introduction

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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Relief map of Australia
The Commonwealth of Australia is a country in the Oceania region of the southern hemisphere, consisting of the world's smallest continent, the island of Tasmania, and over eight thousand smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area. Australia has been inhabited for about 50,000 years by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. After discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, Eastern Australia was claimed by the British in 1770, and officially settled as a British penal colony in 1788. As the population grew and new areas were explored, six largely self-governing Crown colonies were established within Australia over the course of the 19th century. On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. Since federation, Australia has had a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and a Commonwealth realm. Australia has a population of about 20 million, concentrated mainly in the coastal cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. A highly developed country and one of the wealthiest, Australia is the world's 12th-largest economy and has the world's fifth-highest per capita income.

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Ferdinand Magellan

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Dry Fork dome at Coyote Gulch, part of the Canyons of the Escalante

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Edward Drinker Cope
Edward Drinker Cope was an American paleontologist and comparative anatomist, as well as a noted herpetologist and ichthyologist. Born to a wealthy Quaker family, Cope distinguished himself as a child prodigy interested in science; he published his first scientific paper at the age of nineteen. Cope had little formal scientific training, and eschewed a teaching position for field work. He made regular trips to the American West prospecting in the 1870s and 1880s, often as part of United States Geological Survey teams. A personal feud between Cope and paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh led to a period of intense fossil-finding competition now known as the Bone Wars. Cope's scientific pursuits nearly bankrupted him, but his contributions helped define the field of American paleontology. He was a prodigious writer, with 1,400 papers published over his lifetime, although his rivals would debate the accuracy of his rapidly published works. Cope discovered, described, and named more than 1,000 vertebrate species, including hundreds of fish and dozens of dinosaurs. His theories on the origin of mammalian molars and "Cope's Law", on the gradual enlargement of mammalian species, are among his theoretical contributions.

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

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