Portal:Geography

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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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Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is a United States national park in Navajo and Apache counties in northeastern Arizona. The park's headquarters is about 26 miles (42 km) east of Holbrook along Interstate 40 (I-40), which parallels the BNSF Railway's Southern Transcon, the Puerco River, and historic U.S. Route 66, all crossing the park roughly east–west. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, the park covers about 146 square miles (380 km2), encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands. The site, the northern part of which extends into the Painted Desert, was declared a national monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962. About 600,000 people visit the park each year and take part in activities including sightseeing, photography, hiking, and backpacking. The park's earliest human inhabitants arrived at least 8,000 years ago. By about 2,000 years ago, they were growing corn in the area and shortly thereafter building pit houses in what would become the park. Later inhabitants built above-ground dwellings called pueblos. Although a changing climate caused the last of the park's pueblos to be abandoned by about 1400 CE, more than 600 archeological sites, including petroglyphs, have been discovered in the park. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers visited the area, and by the mid-19th century a U.S. team had surveyed an east–west route through the area where the park is now located and noted the petrified wood. Later roads and a railway followed similar routes and gave rise to tourism and, before the park was protected, to large-scale removal of fossils. Theft of petrified wood remains a problem in the 21st century.

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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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Shasta Dam
Credit: Photo: Russell Lee, FSA-OWI; Restoration: Chick Bowen

Shasta Dam, an arch dam across the Sacramento River at the north end of the Sacramento Valley, California, during its construction in June 1942. The dam mainly serves long-term water storage and flood control in its reservoir, Shasta Lake, and also generates hydroelectric power. At 602 ft (183 m) high, it is the ninth-tallest dam in the United States and forms the largest reservoir in California.

Selected quote

Henry David Thoreau
The tops of mountains are among the unfinished parts of the globe, whither it is a slight insult to the gods to climb and pry into their secrets, and try their effect on our humanity. Only daring and insolent men, perchance, go there. Simple races, as savages, do not climb mountains - their tops are sacred and mysterious tracts never visited by them.
Henry David Thoreau, "Ktaadn" (1848)

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