Talk:Geography of Mars

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December edits of discussion page and the reversion of the main page title[edit]

I'm not saying that it should necessarily redirect this aeticle, but just that areography should contain the same information. As you know Geo- comes from "Gaia" i.e. Earth so if you are going to use geo it should be put ion inverted commas. There are lot of accurate scientific words that are not widely used. Also look at Areology or Selenology. As for removing other poeples comments, Ok I shouldn't have, but areography IS a word in the English language and is also a correct scientific term. Most "editors" probably don't have a clue about the though either.


Thanks for your interest in this article. However, as you can see below there is a detailed discussion about the usage of areography which you seemed to ignore in your redirect edit. You write that "areography is the correct scientific term." Our discussion below indicates that most editors believe that areography is not a widely used term in scientific publications. I would appreciate it if you would revert the article to "Martian Geography" and discuss here in detail your justification for the redirect to "Areography". Also, it appears that you removed comments by other editors from the discussion which I believe is generally considered not helpful.

In any case, again a sincere thank you for your interest in this article. Jespley 20:07, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Hello, all. I guess I should have been paying more attention to the entry I created! I am the individual who created the entry for "areography" in the first place a few years ago, and it was dismaying to see my definition utterly vanished and then the entry redirected to the "Geography of Mars" entry (which is pretty good, to be sure). As noted by other posters, "areography" is an old and established term for the "geo"graphy of Mars going back to the nineteenth century. As a professor of geography teaching a new course in "Areography: A Regional Geography of Mars," I revisited my old entry to link my class to it and was surprised to find it missing. I suppose I shouldn't have been, given the Wiki-Wars over such topics as evolution and creation "science." I also teach biogeography and, yes, "areography" has acquired a second meaning just in the last couple of decades in that subfield, namely, taxon geography or the geographical distribution strategies of taxa. I had added that newer meaning on my original entry, IIRC. The existence of two different meanings for the same scientific word seems to have troubled a few earlier discussants. Such divergent pairs of meanings are seen among disparate sciences whose vocabularies evolve in partial or total isolation from one another. Another one is "mesosphere," with two completely different references in geology and in meteorology. Cheers, Christine M. Rodrigue, Ph.D., Professor, Geography, California State University, Long Beach, CMRodrigue 10:07, 21 December 2006 (UTC)CMRodrigue

Hi Christine, Thanks for chiming in -- in some of my google searching on 'areography' your name and class had turned up so it's good to see other experts interested in the article. I'm the one who has done most of the pushing to rename the article from areography. In a nutshell, from my perspective as a professional planetary scientist no one uses the term areography in professional contexts. Google searches seemed to confirm this general lack of usage (see the older discussion down further). Thus, I was worried that the tail was the wagging the dog and that by having Wikipedia use the term as the primary article title we were creating an artificial sense of the popularity of the term. In other words, I'm not arguing that areography is not a correct term for Martian geography but rather it is not currently the dominant one and that the Wikipedia article should use the dominant term as its title. Nevertheless, I'm not fixed in my view so I welcome your input. Jared Espley Jespley 19:09, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Areography as a Term[edit]

There is no use in providing weblinks to subacription sites to back up your point as people can't read them. Anyway, I came across a book called "The Planet Mars" by William Sheehan which uses the term. [ The article stated "Areography" up until October this year I have also noticed.

Martian geography is a nonsense phrase - it doesn't make sense - by definition the prefix geo- is Earth specific and therefore shouldn't be used, Areography is the correct scientific term.

I suggest renaming this topic to Martian Geography. It is obvious (to me anyway) that we cannot have planetary-body-specific terms for each planetary body. How many geography-equivalent words would we need? Given the size of the universe, we would have vastly more geography-equivalents than all words in all human languages. Even if we restrict the number of -ographies to the solid-surfaced Major and Dwarf Planets, we would need separate terms for Mercury, Venus, earth, Mars, Ceres, Pluto, 2003UB3113 (and probably another 50 scattered disk objects within the next 10 years). And of course, the Moon and other major sattelites should get their own -ography... Who would that help?

Creating a term for just Mars suggests POV bias to me - it's the kind of thing an enthusiast for a particular planet might do.

  • I fully support this and I have started removing areography but I'm new to wikipedia so I'm trying not to screw up too many links, sections, etc. Jespley 17:31, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Help! I've realized that Geography of Mars is already taken as a page. I still feel strongly that areography as a term is not common usage and should be suppressed but I don't know the protocol for rearranging whole pages. Jespley 17:49, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm in favour of keeping it as Areography, following the example of Selenography, which is the geography of the Moon. I think the argument that this is a slippery-slope and we'll need to have names for all planets and satellites isn't a good one.. if someone wants to start an article called Geography of Venus, then there's nothing stopping them. Mlm42 18:09, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Ok, I'm willing to entertain a discussion on the issue. As I mention on the Mars:Talk page, my own admittedly anecdotal experience is that areography is not used by working Mars scientists (areologists? :)). A search at (a high traffic, NASA sponsored searchsite of professional astronomy articles) gives one hit for areography but over 100 for the combination of "Mars" and "geography". Given this and the ISI, Google scholars, and general net results cited by Stone at Mars:Talk regarding the nonuse of "areology", I suggest using the term geography and when necessary for context, Martian geography. Jespley 19:00, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
hmm.. i'm not sure your findings are quite valid, since you shouldn't be searching for articles with both the word "mars" and the word "geography".. nevertheless, i tried the searches again with "Geography of Mars" or "Martian Geography" or any other appropriate title.. Google scholar returns 14 for "geography of Mars", 10 for "Martian geography" and over 200 for areography.. but this has made me realise there is another meaning for the word Areography.. in any case, another search for "areography" and "mars" together returned 15 hits, including one that says "areography" was "the standard term used to refer to Martian surface geography in the late nineteenth century".. so i don't have an answer.. either way is fine for me; but changing the title will cause a lot of redirects. Mlm42 08:09, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, this is more complicated than I thought at first. I appreciate your response, Mlm42. In my view, there are three ways of judging what is the "right" term: 1) On the basis of what experts/professionals say 2) On the basis of what is the most popular/predominant 3) On the basis of what would make sense in an ideally constructed language.
Here are some points of evidence to consider:
  • gives 6 returns for "Martian geography" and 1 for "areography"
  • As cited by Mlm42, Google scholar gives 15 returns for "areography Mars", 6 for "Martian geography" and 14 for "geography of Mars"
  • My personal experience is that professional planetary scientists (although scientists aren't necessarily geographers) don't use the term.
  • An acquaintance (Maria Lane), who wrote her PhD thesis on the history of map making at Mars, entitled it, "Geographic Representations of the Planet Mars, 1867-1907" although she also has a conference paper entitled "Areographical Narratives: Images and Imaginations of the Planet Mars, 1867-1916" (Google "Maria" "Lane" "Mars")
  • As Mlm42 cites, she wrote that areography was "the standard term used to refer to Martian surface geography in the late nineteenth century"
  • Based on my skimming through it, the nontechnical book, "Mapping Mars" does not use the term areography in any significant way nor it is found in the index.
  • An article in "The Professional Geographer: Forum and Journal of the Association of American Geographers" says, "For example, terms such as “selenography” and “areography” are neither necessary nor desirable; “lunar geography” and “martian geography” amply ..."
  • Most of the Mars-related areography google hits appear to be related to this article from wikipedia.
  • As cited above, using areography as a term would in principle give rise to a proliferation of -graphy terms.
I think this point may be an unfair slippery-slope argument. The fact that so far only the Earth, Moon, and Mars have their own dedicated terms may simply reflect our particular long-term interest in them as (potentially) habitable places. If and when colonization of Venus and Mercury becomes more likely, we'd probably see similar terms arise, but I doubt any of us will be around to worry about that (let alone its implications for Wikipedia) by then! --Arvedui 23:02, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Areography is also used to mean the geographic range of a species
This may be your most valid reason of all, actually... but even so, I'd prefer to see a disambiguation page instead. --Arvedui 23:02, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Hence, in my opinion, areography as a term should be de-emphasized here (i.e. changing the article's title to "Geography of Mars") although we should perhaps include the quote about areography's usage in the 19th century and note that the term is less used today. Jespley 00:40, 27 September 2006 (UTC)
  • I like the term areography as well, and think it's a bit of a stretch to try to call POV on it. I'm still not convinced that the term is as disused as you suggest. For what it's worth, Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, which is widely regarded as one of the better-researched (albeit fictional) series on the topic, uses "areo-" related terms throughout, and I suspect that any future Martian colonists would probably do the same. --Arvedui 22:53, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
  • That's true. I remember encountering the word there and being confused for a moment and then thinking to myself that it was a clever invention. I'm not deadset against it -- to be honest, my main motivation for de-emphasizing it is my own personal experience that planetary scientists don't use it. Nonetheless, the google scholar search results aren't too encouraging - of the 15 for "areography mars", 5 are from the early 20th century, 4 are about early astronomers, 2 are for the species definition, 1 is from a Russian book, and 3 are modern professional documents. It's hard to tell how many scholarly articles use geography instead when refering to areography since one may not use "Martian geography" if it's clear that one is talking about Mars already. For example, I could easily imagine an article entitled, "Geographic distribution of crustal magnetic fields at Mars". Nevertheless, I'm open to hear about other people's experience with the term -- maybe nonprofessionals use the term often enough to justify it's use. It's definitely a fun word. Jespley 02:33, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
as per WP:NAME, and the fact the areography is also starting to mean 'the study of the geographical range of a species' (i.e. from 'area'). Geography of Mars is something that is understandable to everybody, and not frowned upon by experts; hence it should be moved. after all, titles should be 'useful' over 'fun'. Mlm42 08:02, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Can you give a reference for this starting? Scientists do not use it in publications and the internet gives only links related to Wikipedia. Google Scolar and ISI do not use it!--Stone 08:57, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
sorry, i'm not clear on what your asking.. if you search on Google Scholar you get the species use of the word 'areography'. this is why i think this article should be moved to Geography of Mars. Mlm42 09:00, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Definition of Martian "sea level"[edit]

I've removed the talk of the "fourth-degree and fourth-order spherical harmonic gravity field" (ooh!), because it's incomprehensible and the discussion then says it's not the basis of the definition anyway! But it looks like the main Mars page has a simple wording too; which is better? Not sure about the suitability of the last sentence I added; what I meant was "don't assume that a 'sea level' site on Mars has fossils of ancient beach organisms, let alone a good tiki bar." Wanted to add "...or vacation planning"; is humor forbidden?


Simply stating I created redirects makes it less offensive, but still there was a discussion and nobody could give a proof for Aerography meaning something different than the distribution of animals over a certain area. So WE, the people who have already discussed the thing, will redo the changes, because it pushes a term into use which means something different!--Stone 08:31, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Areography: Geographical Strategies of Species (Book Supplement to the Journal of Child Psychology and Psych) (Hardcover) by Rapoport, 269 pages Publisher: Pergamon; 1st English ed., rev. and enl edition (July 1982) ISBN: 0080289142----This is far from Mars!--Stone 10:42, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Areography of the genus Dendroctonus (Coleoptera : Curculionidae : Scolytinae) in Mexico Author(s): Salinas-Moreno Y, Mendoza MG, Barrios MA, Cisneros R, Macias-Samano J, Zuniga G Source: JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY 31 (7): 1163-1177 JUL 2004 --Stone 10:43, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Areography 2.0. A program to delimit distributional areas of species Author(s): Guasp AC, Curth MIT, Gonzalez DE Source: ENVIRONMENTAL SOFTWARE 11 (4): 271-275 1996--Stone 10:44, 6 December 2006 (UTC) --Stone 10:45, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

AREOGRAPHY - GEOGRAPHICAL STRATEGIES OF SPECIES - RAPOPORT,EH Author(s): SHIMWELL DW Source: JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY 71 (3): 1037-1038 1983 ----Stone 10:45, 6 December 2006 (UTC)


Is the interactive image accessible to those who may be using a braile or audio display? Perhaps an alternative access method is required. Variant 09:34, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Good point, I doubt it is, how would we find out? and any ideas on setting up an alternative access method? sbandrews (t) 07:22, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Accessibility gives some ideas sbandrews (t) 15:20, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Topography and Elevation[edit]

I don't know where the values for the max and min Mars elevations came from, but they don't agree with my sources. Carr (2006) has -8.200 km at the bottom of Hellas to +21.229 km at the peak of Olympus. Google Mars agrees. The description of the datum definition is also very confusing: it reads like the temperature is actually at 0degC at the datum, which is clearly nonsense. Is the 26km figure actually the relief of Olympus Mons? I'm guessing, but this whole article is strongly under-referenced (adding template), and this kind of sloppy error makes me think a detailed check might be in order... DanHobley (talk) 20:25, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

It wasn't the relief either, that's 22km. Changes made. Sloppy/and or out of date data here. DanHobley (talk) 20:54, 30 April 2012 (UTC)