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Geography studies the location, extent, distribution, frequency and interaction of all significant elements of the human and physical environment on the Earth's surface, particularly its features and of the distribution of life on the earth, including human life and the effects of human activity. The word geography derives from the Greek γη (ge) or γαια (gaia) ("Earth") and γραφειν (graphein) ("to inscribe"). Physical geography focuses on Earth science (and is sometimes called Earth System Science). This provides an understanding of the physical, meteorological and ecological patterns of the Earth. Human geography includes economic, political and cultural geography and focuses on the social science or the non-physical aspects of the world. It examines how human beings adapt themselves to the land and how they impact the physical world. Geographers not only study the human and natural features of the Earth but also its place in the Solar System and the Universe and how this affects the Earth features (e.g. climate, sea currents and tides).



Selected article

Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, at the intersection of the borders of the provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. Ancestral Pinatubo was a stratovolcano made of andesite and dacite. Before 1991, the mountain was inconspicuous and heavily eroded. It was covered in dense forest which supported a population of several thousand indigenous people, the Aeta, who had fled to the mountains from the lowlands when the Spanish conquered the Philippines in 1565.

The volcano's eruption in June 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century. The 1991 eruption had a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 6, and came some 450-500 years after the volcano's last known eruptive activity (estimated as VEI 5, the level of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens), and some 500-1000 years after previous VEI 6 eruptive activity. Successful predictions of the onset of the climactic eruption led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the surrounding areas, saving many lives, but surrounding areas were severely damaged by pyroclastic flows, ash deposits, and later by lahars caused by rainwater remobilizing earlier volcanic deposits: thousands of houses and other buildings were destroyed.


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Howard's Pass in Nahanni National Park Reserve in Yukon, Canada.

Image credit: Jo Ohara


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