Portal:Geography
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Portal:Geography

The Geography Portal

Physical map of Earth with political borders as of 2016

Geography (from Greek: , 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 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 is concerned 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 is concerned 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. Geography has been called "the world discipline" and "the bridge between the human and the physical sciences". (Full article...)

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Location North America.svg
North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea, and to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean. However, Greenland, because it is on the North American Tectonic Plate, is included as part of North America geographically. (Full article...)

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Man sitting on a folding chair, writing in a notebook and smiling as he looks towards the camera
Johnston, 13 hours before his death at the
1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens

David Alexander Johnston (December 18, 1949 - May 18, 1980) was an American United States Geological Survey (USGS) volcanologist who was killed by the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in the U.S. state of Washington. A principal scientist on the USGS monitoring team, Johnston was killed in the eruption while manning an observation post six miles (10 km) away on the morning of May 18, 1980. He was the first to report the eruption, transmitting "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!" before he was swept away by a lateral blast. Despite a thorough search, Johnston's body was never found, but state highway workers discovered remnants of his USGS trailer in 1993.

Johnston's career took him across the United States, where he studied the Augustine Volcano in Alaska, the San Juan volcanic field in Colorado, and long-extinct volcanoes in Michigan. Johnston was a meticulous and talented scientist, known for his analyses of volcanic gases and their relationship to eruptions. This, along with his enthusiasm and positive attitude, made him liked and respected by many co-workers. After his death, other scientists lauded his character, both verbally and in dedications and letters. Johnston felt scientists must do what is necessary, including taking risks, to help protect the public from natural disasters. His work, and that of fellow USGS scientists, convinced authorities to close Mount St. Helens to the public before the 1980 eruption. They maintained the closure despite heavy pressure to re-open the area; their work saved thousands of lives. His story became intertwined with the popular image of volcanic eruptions and their threat to society, and a part of volcanology's history. To date, Johnston, along with Harry Glicken, is one of two American volcanologists known to have died in a volcanic eruption. (Full article...)

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