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Portal:Geography

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Introduction

True-color image of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center image.
True-color image of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center image.
Physical map of Earth with political borders as of 2016

Geography (from Greek: γεωγραφία, 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 γεωγραφία 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 deals 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 deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere.

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Altrincham
Altrincham is a market town within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, in Greater Manchester, England. It lies on flat ground south of the River Mersey about 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Manchester city centre, 3 miles (5 km) south-southwest of Sale and 10 miles (16 km) east of Warrington. As of the 2001 UK census, it had a population of about 41,000. Historically a part of Cheshire, Altrincham was established as a market town in 1290, a time when most communities were based around agriculture rather than trade, and there is still a market in the town today. Further socioeconomic development came with the extension of the Bridgewater Canal to Altrincham in 1765 and the arrival of the railway in 1849, stimulating industrial activity in the town. Outlying villages were absorbed by Altrincham's subsequent growth, along with the grounds of Dunham Massey Hall, formerly the home of the Earl of Stamford, and now a tourist attraction with three Grade I listed buildings and a deer park. Altrincham today is an affluent commuter town, partly because of its transport links. It is also home to Altrincham F.C. and an English Premier League ice hockey club, Manchester Phoenix.

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Zhang Heng
Zhang Heng was an astronomer, mathematician, inventor, geographer, cartographer, artist, poet, statesman, and literary scholar from Nanyang, Henan, and lived during the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25–220) of China. After beginning his career as a minor civil servant, he eventually became Chief Astronomer, Prefect of the Majors for Official Carriages, and then Palace Attendant at the imperial court. His uncompromising stances on certain historical and calendrical issues led to Zhang being considered a controversial figure, which prevented him from becoming an official court historian. Zhang applied his extensive knowledge of mechanics and gears in several of his inventions. He invented the world's first water-powered armillary sphere, to represent astronomical observation; improved the inflow water clock by adding another tank; and invented the world's first seismometer, which discerned the cardinal direction of an earthquake 500 km (310 mi) away. Furthermore, he improved previous Chinese calculations of the formula for pi. His fu (rhapsody) and shi poetry were renowned and commented on by later Chinese writers. Zhang received many posthumous honors for his scholarship and ingenuity, and is considered a polymath by some scholars.

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Maid of the Mist
Credit: Photo: Saffron Blaze

One of the tour boats of the Maid of the Mist tour of Niagara Falls. The tour starts off at a calm part of the Niagara River (from both the American and Canadian sides) near the Rainbow Bridge, and takes its passengers past the American and Bridal Veil Falls, then into the dense mist of spray inside the curve of the Horseshoe Falls. The first Maid of the Mist was launched in 1846 as a ferry service between the Canadian and American sides, predating by two years the construction of the first Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge. However, with the opening of the bridge, the ferry service lost business, and by 1854, became a tourist attraction instead.

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