Portal:Geography/Featured article/archive/2006

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This is the archive of articles featured on the Geography portal in 2006.



December 2006
Old Faithful Geyser Yellowstone National Park.jpg

Yellowstone National Park is a U.S. National Park located in the western states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Yellowstone is the first and oldest national park in the world and covers 3,845 square miles (8879 km²), mostly in the northwest corner of Wyoming. The park is famous for its various geysers, hot springs, supervolcano and other geothermal features and is home to grizzly bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk. It is the core of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the largest intact temperate zone ecosystems remaining on the planet. The world's most famous geyser, the Old Faithful Geyser, is also located in Yellowstone National Park.

Long before any recorded human history in Yellowstone, a massive volcanic eruption spewed an immense volume of ash that covered all of the Western U.S., much of the Midwestern U.S., Northern Mexico and some areas of the Pacific Coast. The eruption dwarfed that of Mount St. Helens in 1980 and left a huge caldera 43 miles by 18 miles (70 km by 30 km) sitting over a huge magma chamber (see Geology section and Yellowstone Caldera). Yellowstone has registered three major volcanic eruption events in the last 2.2 million years with the last event occurring 640,000 years ago. Its eruptions are the largest known to have occurred on Earth within that timeframe, producing drastic climate change in the aftermath (See also:Supervolcano). (read more...)

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November 2006

Sarajevo is the capital city and largest urban center of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with an estimated population of 308,558 (as of 2005). It is also the capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, and the de jure capital of the Republika Srpska entity, as well as the center of the Sarajevo Canton. Sarajevo is located in the Sarajevo valley of Bosnia proper, surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated around the Miljacka river. The city is famous for its traditional religious diversity, with adherents of Islam, Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Judaism peacefully coexisting there for centuries.

Although settlement in the area stretches back to prehistoric times, the modern city arose as an Ottoman stronghold in the 15th century. Sarajevo has attracted international attention several times throughout its history: in 1914 it was the site of the assassination that sparked World War I, while seventy years later it became the host city of the 1984 Winter Olympics. More recently, Sarajevo underwent the longest siege in modern military history during the Bosnian war. Today the city is recovering and adjusting to a post-war reality, as a major center of culture and economic development in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (read more...)

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October 2006

Satellite image of Kolkata

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly. The city has a population of almost 5 million, with an extended metropolitan population of over 13 million, thus making it the third-largest urban agglomeration and the fourth-largest city in India. To the south of the city is the Sundarbans delta, the world's largest mangrove forest. The city served as the capital of British India, until 1911. Once the centre of modern education, science, culture and politics in India, Kolkata witnessed economic stagnation in the years following India's independence in 1947. Since 2000 however, an economic rejuvenation has arrested the morbid decline, leading to a spurt in the city's growth. Like other large cities, Kolkata continues to struggle with urbanisation problems like poverty, pollution and traffic congestion. A vibrant city with a distinct socio-political culture, Kolkata is noted for its revolutionary history, ranging from the Indian struggle for independence to the leftist Naxalite and trade union movements. (read more...)

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September 2006

Satellite image of Kolkata

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in eastern India on the east bank of the River Hooghly. The city has a population of almost 5 million, with an extended metropolitan population of over 13 million, thus making it the third-largest urban agglomeration and the fourth-largest city in India. To the south of the city is the Sundarbans delta, the world's largest mangrove forest. The city served as the capital of British India, until 1911. Once the centre of modern education, science, culture and politics in India, Kolkata witnessed economic stagnation in the years following India's independence in 1947. Since 2000 however, an economic rejuvenation has arrested the morbid decline, leading to a spurt in the city's growth. Like other large cities, Kolkata continues to struggle with urbanisation problems like poverty, pollution and traffic congestion. A vibrant city with a distinct socio-political culture, Kolkata is noted for its revolutionary history, ranging from the Indian struggle for independence to the leftist Naxalite and trade union movements. (read more...)

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August 2006
Cape Horn from the South

Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile; it is widely considered to be the southern tip of South America. Cape Horn is the most southerly of the great capes, and marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage; for many years it was a major milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world. However, the waters around the cape are particularly hazardous, due to strong winds, large waves, and icebergs; these dangers have made it notorious as a sailors' graveyard. Today, the Panama Canal has greatly reduced the need for cargo ships to travel via the Horn. However, sailing around the Horn is widely regarded as one of the major challenges in boating, and a number of recreational sailors continue to sail this route, sometimes as part of a circumnavigation. Several prominent ocean yacht races sail around the world via the Horn, notably the Vendée Globe, and speed records for round-the-world sailing follow the same route. (read more...)

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July 2006
Lastovo Town

Lastovo (Italian: Lagosta, Latin: Augusta Insula, Greek: Ladestanos, Illyrian: Ladest) is an island, town and municipality in the Dubrovnik-Neretva county in Croatia. The island has an area of 46 km² and a population of 835 of which 93% are ethnic Croats. The municipality is slightly bigger because it includes another 45 islands and islets covering a total area of approximately 56 km². The island is rich in architecture, featuring many buildings from the 15th and 16th centuries. There are a large number of churches for its relative size, which is a testament to the island's long standing Roman Catholic tradition. The major cultural event, apart from the normal celebrations on the Catholic calendar, is the event known as the Poklad, or carnival. The island today relies mostly on its natural beauty and preservation to attract a reasonable amount of tourists each season. Currently the Croatian government is preparing a bill to make the island and its archipelago a nature park. (more...)

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June 2006
Zion Canyon at sunset in Zion National Park as seen from Angels Landing looking south.

Zion National Park is a United States National Park located near Springdale, Utah in the southwestern United States. The principal feature in the 229-square-mile (593 km²) park is Zion Canyon, 15 miles (24 km) long and up to half a mile (800 m) deep, which was cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. Other notable park features include the Great White Throne, Checkerboard Mesa, Kolob Arch, Three Patriarchs, and the Virgin River Narrows. The geology of the Zion and Kolob canyons area includes nine formations that together represent 150 million years of mostly Mesozoic-aged sedimentation. At various periods in that time, warm, shallow seas, streams, ponds and lakes, vast deserts and dry near-shore environments covered the area. Uplift associated with the creation of the Colorado Plateaus lifted the region 10,000 feet (3000 m) starting 13 million years ago. (more...)

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May 2006
NASA imagery

Antarctica is the continent at the extreme southern latitudes of the Earth, containing the South Pole. It is surrounded by the Southern Ocean and divided in two by the Transantarctic Mountains. On average, it is the coldest, driest, windiest, and highest of all the continents. With 98% of it covered in ice, Antarctica, at 14 million km², is the third-smallest continent (after Europe and Australia). Because there is little precipitation, the entire continent is technically a desert and is thus the largest in the world. There are no permanent human residents and only cold-adapted plants and animals survive there, including penguins, fur seals, mosses, lichens, and many types of algae. The name "Antarctica" comes from the Greek ανταρκτικός (antarktikos), meaning "opposite the Arctic." Although myths and speculation about a Terra Australis ("Southern Land") go back to antiquity, the first sighting of the continent is commonly accepted to have occurred in 1821 by the Russian expedition of Mikhail Lazarev and Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen. Antarctica is not under the political sovereignty of any nation, although seven countries (Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom) maintain territorial claims, which are not recognized by other countries. Human activity on the continent is regulated by the Antarctic Treaty, which was signed in 1959 by 12 countries and prohibits any military activity, supports scientific research, and protects the continent's ecozone. (more...)

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April 2006

Satellite image of South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is a large republic in Southern Africa. It is located at the southern tip of the continent, and borders Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho, the latter being entirely surrounded by South African territory. Its economy is the largest and most well developed of the entire African continent, with modern infrastructure common in nearly all of the country. South Africa has the largest population of people of European descent in Africa, the largest Indian population outside of Asia, as well as the largest Coloured community in Africa, making it one of the most ethnically diverse countries on the continent. Racial and ethnic strife between the white minority and the black majority have played a large part in the country's history and politics. The National Party began introducing the policy of apartheid after winning the general election of 1948; however, it was the same party under the leadership of F.W. de Klerk who started to dismantle it in 1990. The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, and regular free and fair elections are held since 1994, making it a regional power and among the most stable democracies in Africa. (more...)

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March 2006
NASA imagery

The geography of India is extremely diverse, with landscape ranging from snow-capped mountain ranges to deserts, plains, hills and plateaus. Climate ranges from equatorial in the far south, to tundra in the Himalayan altitudes. India comprises most of the Indian subcontinent and has a long coastline of over 7,000 km (4,300 miles), most of which lies on a peninsula that protrudes into the Indian Ocean. India is bounded in the west by the Arabian Sea and in the east by the Bay of Bengal. The fertile Indo-Gangetic plain occupies most of northern, central and eastern India, while the Deccan Plateau occupies most of southern India. To the west of the country is the Thar Desert, which consists of a mix of rocky and sandy desert. India's east and northeastern border consists of the high Himalayan range. The highest point in India is disputed due to a territorial dispute with Pakistan; according to India's claim, the highest point (located in the disputed Kashmir territory) is K2, at 8,611 m (28,251 feet). The highest point in undisputed Indian territory is Kanchenjunga, at 8,598 m (28,208 feet). (more...)

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February 2006
Flag of Australia

The Commonwealth of Australia is a country in the southern hemisphere comprising the world's smallest continent and a number of islands, the largest of which is Tasmania. Australia has been inhabited for about 50,000 years by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Eastern Australia was claimed by the British in 1770, and officially settled as a British penal colony on 26 January 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 and remains a Commonwealth Realm. Australia currently has a population of about 20.5 million, concentrated mainly in the coastal cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. (more...)

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