Hokkaido Island

NORTHERNMOST OF the four main islands of JAPAN, Hokkaido is surrounded by the Sea of Okhotsk to the north and east, the Sea of Japan to the west, and the PACIFIC OCEAN to the south. Its northern location and frigid ocean currents from the Sea of Okhotsk make Hokkaido's climate considerably colder and drier than […]

historical geography

GEOGRAPHERS SEEK TO understand the world by examining spatial relationships. The types of questions they might ask are: Why are things located where they are? How are places different from each other? How are places like each other? How are places interconnected with each other? How do people affect their natural environment and how does […]


FROM THE GERMAN umland, a hinterland is inland territory behind and bordering a town on a coast or river, or the backcountry extending from an inland town. In both cases, the hinterland generally falls under the legal and economic jurisdiction of the same state to which the city belongs. The hinterland supplies a city with […]

Hindu Kush

HINDU KUSH (or Hindukush) is the main mountain range in the Central Asian state of AFGHANISTAN. Hindu Kush is the westernmost extension of the Pamir mountain, the Karakoram (K-2), and the western HIMALAYAS. The origin of the term Hindu Kush (which translates as “Hindu Killer” or “Killer of Hindus”) is a point of controversy among […]


THE HIMALAYAN mountain region, located between INDIA and TIBET, has the world's highest peaks. It stretches from the INDUS RIVER in the west to the Brahamaputra in the east and has a length of 1,500 mi (2,414 km) and a width from 100 to 150 mi (161 to 241 km). Northwest of the Indus, the […]


THE WORD hemisphere means “half a sphere.” In geography, the term refers to half the Earth, and the enclosing boundary line of a hemisphere is a great circle. A space traveler viewing the Earth from a great distance will see only half the earth, a hemispheric perspective. This is true because the Earth is a […]


THE HEARTLAND THEORY was developed by Scottish geographer, Sir Halford J. MACKINDER. He read his paper “The Geographical Pivot of History” before the Royal Geographical Society in London in 1904, and soon afterward published his views on the influence of geography on politics in the Geographical Journal. Mackinder's argument introduced into POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY the view […]

Heard and McDonald Islands

TWO OF THE MOST isolated spots on the globe, the Heard and McDonald Islands have only been visited a few times, and much remains to be discovered about them. The islands are located at the bottom of the world, where the INDIAN OCEAN meets the Antarctic seas, and have recently been declared a United Nations […]


HAWAII IS a U.S. state located in the central PACIFIC OCEAN near the EQUATOR and consists of eight major islands: Hawaii, Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau; 129 smaller islands are also part of Hawaii. Hawaii is not the equivalent of the Hawaiian Islands or the Hawaiian Chain, which includes other islands, such […]


HAMMADA IS AN Arabic word used to describe “desert pavement.” The deserts of the world that have sand dunes capture the imagination, but many of the world's desert areas are bleak, stony deserts. Usually, the stony deserts are level plains that are virtually devoid of vegetation and also have very little, if any, soil. These deserts can have a relatively smooth, […]


Area 27,750 square mi (44,658 square km) Population 10.57 million 2014 Capital Port-au-Prince Highest Point 8,792 ft (2,680 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $8.713 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold. HAITI IS LOCATED on the western third of the island of Hispaniola in the CARIBBEAN SEA. The country is mainly […]

Hainan Island

THE SECOND-largest island (after TAIWAN) in CHINA with an area of 13,104 square mi (33,940 square km), Hainan Island is the most southerly province located in the South China Sea. The island is situated south of Guangdong province and west of VIETNAM. The topographic structure of the island resembles a staircase, with towering mountains in […]


Area 76,772 square mi (196,850 square km) Population 763,900 2014 Capital Georgetown Highest Point 9,355 ft (2,835 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $3.228 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources bauxite, gold, diamonds, hardwood. THE NAME Guyana possibly comes from a local native word meaning “land of water,” but it could also derive from the word […]

Gulf Stream

THE GULF STREAM, a relative newcomer on the geological scene, is an odd, fast-moving circulation of warm water that travels in an unfixed position, a few hundred miles north of FLORIDA, up the east coast of the UNITED STATES to Cape Hatteras, NORTH CAROLINA, then onto Nantucket Island, before kicking eastward across the ATLANTIC OCEAN […]

Gulf of Aqaba

THE GULF OF AQABA is the north arm of the RED SEA; it is bordered by ISRAEL, JORDAN, EGYPT, and SAUDI ARABIA. Created by seismic activity along the Afro-Syrian Rift, it is the northernmost extension of the Red Sea. It is a semi-enclosed water body that extends south some 111 mi (180 km) from Eilat […]


Area 13,942 square mi (36,120 square km) Capital Bissau Population 1.801 million (2014) Highest Point 984 ft (300 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $1.022 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, petroleum. THE REPUBLIC OF Guinea-Bissau, commonly called Guinea-Bissau, is a tropical West African nation-state. The borders include the ATLANTIC OCEAN on […]


Area 94,925 square mi (245,857 square km) Population 12.28 million (2014) Capital Conakry Highest Point 5,748 ft (1,752 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $6.624 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources bauxite, iron ore, diamonds, precious metals. GUINEA IS LOCATED in the southwestern part of West Africa. It is bordered by GUINEA-BISSAU, SENEGAL, and MALI to […]

guerrilla base

A GUERRILLA BASE or base area is a physically secure geographic location used by political dissidents from which they can launch military attacks. Historically, such bases were local or national. In 2003, the process became global, with guerrilla bases of al-Qaeda staged in AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN, the PHILIPPINES, SUDAN, and possibly South America. Since guerrilla bases […]


Area 67,661 square mi (108,890 square km) Population 16.02 million 2014 Capital Guatemala City Highest Point 13,815 ft (4,211 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $58.73 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources petroleum, nickel, rare woods. THE REPUBLIC OF GUATEMALA is located in Central America and is bordered by the PACIFIC OCEAN, the Gulf of Honduras, […]


A U.S. TERRITORY, the island of Guam is one of the largest islands in the north PACIFIC OCEAN, located about three-quarters of the distance from HAWAII to the PHILIPPINES. Its harbor, one of the best in the world, underlies the importance the island has held for the last five centuries to foreign powers in the […]


GUADELOUPE, IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA, is one of the four French overseas departments (similar to states in the UNITED STATES). Guadeloupe is also a French region. There are two main islands, Basse Terre and Grande Terre, separated by a strip of water called the Riviere Salee. Other outlying inhabited islands are dependencies, namely Saint Martin, […]

growth pole

GROWTH POLE REFERS to the concentration of highly innovative and technically advanced industries that stimulate economic development in linked businesses and industries. This concept was first introduced by Francois Perroux in 1950, was further sharpened in following publications, and finally evolved into an idea that came to take on a meaning rather different from the […]


THE EARTH IS NOT spherical but rather an ellipsoidal shape where the north and south poles are flattened and the equator bulges. This unique shape is called a geoid. In order to uniquely locate features on the Earth's surface, a reference system is required. An imaginary network of lines called a grid or graticule is […]


Area 133 square mi (344 square km) Population 106,300 (2014) Capital Saint George's Highest Point 2,756 ft (840 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $882.2 million 2014 Primary Natural Resources timber, tropical fruit, agricultural products. GRENADA IS AN independent island country in the CARIBBEAN SEA. It is a member of the British Commonwealth. The country was in the news in 1983, […]


ONE OF THE MOST northerly territories in the world is Greenland, located between the North ATLANTIC, the northeastern coasts of CANADA (Ellesmere and Baffin islands), and the ARCTIC OCEAN. More than two-thirds of the region lies above the ARCTIC CIRCLE. Greenland is technically considered part of North America, though ICELAND (usually considered part of Europe) […]


Area 51,012 square mi (130,800 square km) Capital Athens Population 10.96 million 2014 Highest Point 9,626 ft (2,917 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $237.6 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources bauxite, lignite, magnesite, petroleum. FOR OVER 4,000 years, Greece has been at the crossroads of civilizations. The great empires of the Western and Eastern worlds […]

great circle

A GREAT CIRCLE IS defined as a direction line that forms a full circle. This is also called a true azimuth. A great circle divides the Earth into equal halves and on the idealized surface of the Earth, the shortest distance between two points lies along a great circle. The equator is a great circle, […]

Great Barrier Reef

THE GREAT BARRIER REEF, located on the northeast coast of AUSTRALIA, is comprised of the world's largest cluster of coral reefs. It is 1,250 mi (2,012 km) long; running along 10 mi (16 km) of the eastern Australia shore in the north to 100 mi (161 km) in the south. Its length is comparable to […]


MANY DIFFERENT TYPES of ecosystems throughout the world are described as grasslands because they are dominated by species of grass with a range of other plant types as subordinates within the community. Grasslands occur at most latitudes and altitudes reflecting the wide range of environmental tolerances that characterize this huge taxonomic group of plants known […]

Grand Canyon

WITH DIMENSIONS of 277 mi (446 km) long and 18 mi (29 km) wide, the Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. Crafted by the Colorado River, it is an enduring and unchallenged natural symbol of North America. At its present size of 1,904 square mi (4,911 square km), […]

Grand Canal (China)

THE GRAND CANAL is one of the wonders of the world. Built in the 7th century by CHINA's Sui Dynasty, it stretches about 1,100 mi (1,800 km) across eastern China—about the same distance as MIAMI, FLORIDA, to NEW YORK CITY, or LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, to Vancouver, CANADA. The canal was built to transport rice and […]

Golan Heights

THE GOLAN HEIGHTS (in Arabic, Al-Jaw-lan) is a hilly region in southwest SYRIA, bordering nearby regions of LEBANON and JORDAN, with a highest point of 7,297 ft (2,224 m). The area is one of the most heavily disputed areas in the history of the 20th century. When the state of ISRAEL emerged after the vote […]

Gobi Desert

THE 650,000-square-mi (1,600,000-square-km) Gobi is the largest desert in CHINA and MONGOLIA; both the Taklamakan Desert (in XINJIANG) and the Changtang Desert (in TIBET and Qinghai) are only half the size. Only the SAHARA is bigger than the Gobi among the world's deserts. The Gobi separates the Republic of Mongolia from the province of Inner […]


GLOBALIZATION IS A term that is used quite frequently but whose meaning remains obscure. One definition of globalization is that is a process of complex interconnections between societies, cultures, institutions, and individuals that takes place worldwide. It also describes the increased mobility of goods, services, labor, technology, and capital. Although globalization is not a new […]

global warming

GLOBAL WARMING IS an increase in the temperature of the Earth due to an increase in greenhouse gases that reduce natural cooling. Periodically, the natural changes in the Earth's climate have produced increases and decreases in average temperature and the changes have altered the climate of the Earth. The current debate over global warming centers around […]


THE ACTION OF GLACIERS has made a huge difference in the appearance of the Earth's surface. Changes in the land from the action of glaciers is called glaciation. A glacier is a moving mass of ice, air, water, rock and sediment. Glaciers flow very slowly with gravity created by their own mass. During the last […]


GIBRALTAR IS AN overseas territory of the UNITED KINGDOM. Historically known as one of the Pillars of Hercules, the Rock of Gibraltar has guarded the entrance to the Mediterranean world since the beginning of Western civilization. Held by Great Britain since 1704 (formally since 1713), the peninsula remains one of Britain's last overseas territories, with little […]


Area 92,090 square mi (238,500 square km) Population 26.44 million (2014) Capital Accra Highest Point 2,904 ft (885 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $38.65 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources gold, bauxite, diamonds, hydropower. GHANA IS LOCATED in west-central Africa and is bordered by COTE D'IVOIRE to the west, TOGO to the east, and BURKINA […]


Area 137,845 square mi (357,021 square km) Population 80.89 million 2014 Capital Berlin Highest Point 9,721 ft (2,963 m) Lowest Point -11 ft (-3.54 m) GDP $3.853 trillion 2014 Primary Natural Resources iron ore, coal, potash, timber, lignite. THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC of Germany is one of the largest countries and has the largest population in […]

geostrophic winds

GEOSTROPHIC WINDS blow above the friction layer of the Earth, balanced between pressure gradient forces and the Coriolis force. Geo, meaning “Earth,” and strophic, or “turning,” refer to the Coriolis force of the Earth's rotation. The Coriolis force causes wind to bend, eventually equalizing with the pressure gradient force. Geostrophic winds blow aloft and parallel to […]

Georgia (U.S. state)

Georgia (U.S. state)ONE OF THE 13 original American colonies, the state of Georgia was founded by General James Oglethorpe under a charter signed by King George II of England in June 1732. Georgia is bounded on the east by the ATLANTIC OCEAN and SOUTH CAROLINA, on the west by ALABAMA, on the south by FLORIDA, […]


Area 43,310 square mi (69,700 square km) Population 4.504 million 2014 Capital T'bilisi Highest Point 17,064 ft (5,201 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $16.53 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources forests, hydropower, manganese, iron ore, copper. LOCATED IN THE REGION known as the Caucasus or Caucasia, Georgia is a small country, about the size of […]


GEOPOLITICS IS POLITICS taking place in regard to geographical circumstances, territorial relations and aspirations of political entities. It derives from the spatial settings of place as well as from territoriality as a universal dimension of human (and animal) behavior. While the spectrum of geopolitical action is very wide, it is never just derived from “geographic […]


GEOMORPHOLOGY IS the study of landforms. Landforms are surface expressions of rocks, as are various features made by rivers, groundwater, waves and currents, winds, glaciers, and corals. Landforms come in all shapes and sizes. A DELTA, PLATEAU, VOLCANO, sinkhole, and beach are all landforms. Geomorphologists are geologists and physical geographers who specialize in the study […]

geographic information system

GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION systems are widely known by their abbreviation, GIS. The most popular definition of GIS is: a computer-assisted system for the acquisition, storage, analysis, and display of geographic data. Conceptually, GIS has been defined as the digital representation of the landscape of a place (a site, a region, a planet), structured to support analysis. A […]

geographic database

A GEOGRAPHIC database can be defined as a catalog that stores data that are spatially referenced. These databases are collections of similar data that are related either through location, data structure or type, or common underlying purpose. Geographic databases can be divided into two main data concepts, graphic and nongraphic. Nongraphic data is data that […]

gender geography

GENDER GEOGRAPHERS, prominent in the discipline since the 1980s, focus their research on the differences between men and women in virtually all aspects of social, economic, and political life and the resulting inequalities that result. The sub-discipline of gender geography has grown dramatically over the past two decades and there is a specialty group within […]

Ganges River

ORIGINATING IN TIBET and flowing 1,557 mi (2,507 km) from northwest to southeast through INDIA, the Ganges River empties into the BAY OF BENGAL. Known as the Ganga in India, it is the most important river in South Asia, sustaining the lives of literally hundreds of millions of people daily. Along with its sister river […]


Area 4,361 square mi (11,300 square km) Population 1.909 million (2014) Capital Banjul Highest Point 174 ft (53 m) Lowest Point 0 m, GDP $807.1 million (2014) Primary Natural Resources peanuts, millet, sorghum, corn, sesame, cassava. GAMBIA IS BORDERED by the ATLANTIC OCEAN on the west and surrounded on the remaining three sides by SENEGAL. […]

gallery (galeria) forests

GALLERY FORESTS are commonly defined as any forest along a river or stream, especially in a grassland. Since geographers frequently cite BRAZIL as the best example of this phenomenon, we often use the Portuguese word galeria to identify it. Gallery forests are also found in places other than Brazil. For example, an article in the […]


THE IDEA THAT nature is a holistic unity has been constantly existent throughout human history. The major reemergence of the idea took place in the early 20th century in the name of holism. This reappearance of holism became the foundation of the Gaia hypothesis, the most recent recurrence of the ancient belief of the harmonious […]


Area 103,347 square mi (267,669 square km) Population 1.711 million (2014) Capital Libreville Highest Point 3,215 ft (980 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $17.23 billion (2014) Natural Resources cocoa, coffee, timber, minerals (gold). LOCATED ON THE ATLANTIC OCEAN coast in Central Africa, Gabon shares borders with CAMEROON, Republic of the CONGO, and EQUATORIAL GUINEA. […]

Fulda Gap

LOCATED IN GERMANY, between the cities of Leipzig and Frankfurt, and oriented along the Fulda River, the Fulda Gap is a name given to a mobility corridor oriented on a line that runs from Leipzig toward Frankfurt. It is bounded on the south by the Vogelsberg Hills and on the north by high ground north […]


AS WITH SO MANY geographic terms, the concept of frontiers is closely linked with other ideas. In practice, frontiers rarely remain the same; changing with time and technology, and in the process adjusting the world they have affect upon. It has become common to view frontiers in reference to some political or geographical area that lies […]

French Southern Territories

ONE OF THE MOST remote spots on Earth, the French Southern Territories consists of three groups of islands in the southern INDIAN OCEAN, not too far from the coast of ANTARCTICA, and a thin slice of the Antarctic continent itself, known as Adelie Land. No one lives permanently in these territories, but they are seasonally […]

French Polynesia

FRENCH POLYNESIA IS a French overseas territory situated in the south central PACIFIC OCEAN. There are five inhabited archipelagos: the Society, Tuamotu, Gambier, Australes, and Marquesas island chains. The islands are volcanic but the Tuamotu chain is made up of low coral atolls of which there are 80. French Polynesia numbers 121 islands in all, […]

French Guiana

FRENCH GUIANA, or Guyane francaise, is the only one of the three Guianas (British, Dutch, and French) to retain its political links with Europe. Having been a full part of the French state as an overseas department since 1946—and thus a part of the EUROPEAN UNION— its citizens look to Europe more than to South […]


Area 212,796 square mi (545,630 square km) Population 66.20 million 2014 Capital Paris Highest Point 15,863 ft (4,807 m) Lowest Point -6.6 ft (-2 m) GDP $2.829 trillion 2014 Primary Natural Resources coal, iron ore, bauxite, zinc, potash, timber. ONE OF THE DOMINANT nations of Europe since the 9th century, and of the world since […]

fractal geography

IN THE FRACTAL Geometry of Nature (1983), Benoit Mandelbrot writes, “Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth.” In an effort to more properly analyze and represent nature mathematically, Mandelbrot developed a new geometric pattern called a fractal. There are various definitions for the complex structure of […]


FORESTS COVER approximately 27 percent of the ice-free surface of the Earth, 13 million square mi or 34 million square km. The world's forests mainly occur in two broad zones: one centered in the tropical regions, the other in the Northern Hemisphere between 32 degrees N and 45 degrees N latitude. Globally, forest composition and […]

footloose industries

THE IDEA OF FOOTLOOSE industries has changed along with the transformation from an industrial to a postindustrial economy. The core concept remains the same, however: A footloose industry does not have a strong locational preference because the resources, production skills, and consumers on which it depends can be found in numerous places. Such a company […]


Florida“THE SUNSHINE State,” covering an area of 58,560 square mi (151,714 square km), is the most southern state of the UNITED STATES and is mainly a large lowlying peninsula, measuring from north to south about 430 mi (690 km), bounded by the ATLANTIC OCEAN on the east, the Gulf of Mexico on the west, and […]


OF ALL THE NATURAL hazards in the world, floods are the most widespread. Historically, floods have killed more people and caused more damage than any other type of natural disaster. A flood is defined as an overflowing of water on an area that is normally dry. There are several types of flooding, including river flooding, […]


FLOODPLAINS HAVE been a focal point of settlement throughout history and of controversy in recent decades. Humans are drawn to floodplains to cultivate the fertile soils that compose them. Floodplains are some of the best lands for growing crops, but they come with a price. Sometimes, rivers exit their banks and inundate the flat lands […]


Area 130,500 square mi (338,000 square km) Population 5.464 million 2014 Capital Helsinki Highest Point 4,426 ft (1,328 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $270.7 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources timber, metals arable land. AS CITIZENS OF the northernmost country in Europe, the people of Finland have long experienced the effects of their nation's absolute […]


Area 6,767 square mi (18,270 square km) Population 887,000 2014 Capital Suva Highest Point Tomanivi 4,343 ft (1,324 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $4.030 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources timber, fish, gold, copper, offshore oil. THE REPUBLIC OF the Fiji Islands, a part of Oceania, is an archipelago in the South PACIFIC OCEAN, about […]

Fertile Crescent

THE FERTILE CRESCENT, an area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, was called Mesopotamia by the ancient Greeks. This meant “the land between the rivers.” The Fertile Crescent extends from the eastern shore of the MEDITERRANEAN SEA to the PERSIAN GULF and gets its name from its shape. James Breasted, an archeologist from the University […]


GEOGRAPHICALLY, a federation (from the Latin foedus, meaning “league,” “ covenant,” or “ alliance”) is a political system created by the voluntary association of distinct political units and formally established by treaty or compact. It is a system of dual sovereignty. Each unit maintains some form of independent administrative power or local identity and sovereignty. […]


FAYUM (also spelled “Faiyum” or “Fayyum”), comes from the Coptic Phiom (“sea”), and geographically designates a muhafazah (governorate), formerly a mudiria (province) of Upper EGYPT, an oasis in northcentral Egypt adjacent to the NILE RIVER, with significant paleontological and archaeological interest. Fayum is one of 26 administrative divisions of the Arab Republic of Egypt and […]

Faroe Islands

THE FAROE OR FAEROE Islands (Faeroerne in Danish, Faroyar in Faroese, meaning the “Sheep Islands”) are located at the intersection of the North ATLANTIC OCEAN and the Norwegian Sea, roughly equidistant between NORWAY, SCOTLAND, and ICELAND. Their closest neighbors are the Shetland Islands, 190 mi (305 km) to the southeast. Like the Shetlands, the Faroes […]

Falkland Islands

THE FALKLAND ISLANDS, a British dependency contested by ARGENTINA, which calls them the Islas Malvinas, are located in the South ATLANTIC OCEAN near South America, approximately 300 mi (483 km) east of Argentina. The Falkland Islands consist of two main islands (East and West Falklands), which are divided by the Falkland Sound. There are more […]

facilities mapping

FACILITIES MAPPING (FM) is the process of digitally identifying and mapping facilities infrastructure with the explicit goal to improve operational management and planning tasks such as dispatching, inventorying, and maintenance. Some examples of facilities include utilities (gas, water, telephone, and electricity), airport siting, and transportation planning. In the past, when a facilities map was needed, […]

exotic rivers

THERE IS A WRITTEN record on the land in the Near East. Here, civilization arose out of the mysteries of the stone age and gave rise to cultures that moved eastward to CHINA and westward through Europe and across the ATLANTIC OCEAN to the Americas. Achievements of ancient origin serve as constant reminders of our […]

Everest, Mount

A PEAK ON THE CREST of the Great Himalayan range in Asia, Everest is the highest point on the Earth. It lies in the Central HIMALAYAS on the border between NEPAL and CHINA (Tibet). Three barren ridges, the southeast, northeast and west culminate in two summits at Everest (29,028 ft or 8,848 m) and South […]

European Union

THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU), with 25 member states in 2004, had its initial organization created after World War II for the purpose of rebuilding Europe after the turmoil and devastation of the war. It was thought that economic and political cooperation would greatly reduce the risks of repeating such a conflict and would be the […]

Ethiopian Highlands

ETHIOPIA IS A LANDLOCKED nation located in northeastern Africa in an area known as the HORN OF AFRICA. While containing large stretches of plains in the east and south, the country is dominated by highlands, which rise to well over 3,000 ft (1,300 m), and the Great Rift Valley, which is several hundred meters below sea […]


Area 435,184 square mi (1,127,127 square km) Population 96.51 million (2014) Capital Addis Ababa Highest Point 15,158 ft (4,620 m) Lowest Point -410 ft (-25 m) GDP $54.80 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources precious metals, natural gas. ETHIOPIA IS LOCATED in northeastern Africa, an area rich in geography, climate, and history. The Great Rift Valley, […]


Area 16,852 square mi (43,211 square km) Population 1.314 million 2014 Capital Tallinn Highest Point 1,050 ft (318 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $25.90 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources oil shale, peat, phosphorite, clay, limestone, dolomite. FOR CENTURIES DOMINATED by its larger and stronger neighbors, since independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, […]


AN ESKER IS A LONG, narrow, often snakelike ridge of sand and gravel deposited on top of the ground where a glacier has retreated. Eskers often follow valleys and lowlands, although some can go uphill. Most eskers are a single ridge, but there are also braided ridges, which are similar in shape to river tributaries. […]


IN GEOLOGY, an escarpment is a steep edge of a ridge or cliff, characterized by an abrupt transition in altitude between two relatively level but differently composed series of sedimentary rocks, differing in age and composition. Escarpments, also known informally as “scarps,” are usually representative of the line of erosion of newer rock over the […]


EROSION HAS MADE huge changes in the surface of the Earth and is still doing so today. Erosion is the removal of materials from the Earth's surface by a variety of processes. The material is eventually deposited elsewhere, often far from where it started. Most erosion is caused by the action of wind, water, or […]


Area 46,662 square mi (121,320 square km) Population 6.536 million (2014) Capital Asmura Highest Point 9,959 ft (3,018 m) Lowest Point -248 ft (-75 m) GDP $3.858 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources precious metals, natural gas. ERITREA IS LOCATED in northeastern Africa, an area known as the HORN OF AFRICA, where the RED SEA empties […]

Erie, Lake

LAKE ERIE, bordered by the province of Ontario in CANADA to the north, NEW YORK to the east, PENNSYLVANIA and OHIO to the south, and MICHIGAN to the west, is the shallowest of the Great Lakes at only 62 ft (18.9 m) and it remains the smallest in volume. Lake Erie is 241 mi wide […]


THE TERM erg is the Bedouin name for a very large body of sand dominated by sand dunes. Bedouins are an African tribe of nomadic herders living in the northern SAHARA DESERT. Two equivalent English-language terms are sand sea and dune field. Transverse dunes typically are part of ergs, or sand seas. As sand is […]

Equatorial Guinea

Area 10,831 square mi (28,051 square km) Population 778,100 (2014) Capital Malabo Highest Point 9,870 ft (3,008 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $14.31 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources petroleum, wood uranium, gold, manganese. EQUATORIAL GUINEA is located in west-central Africa just north of the equator. It is made up of Rio Muni on the African […]


THE WORD EPIDEMIOLOGY is derived from the Greek epi (“upon”), demos (“people”), and logos (“study of”). It refers to the study of phenomena that have been put “upon” people, specifically, afflictions that weigh upon the health of a population over space and time. Epidemiology is a multidimensional science that deals with the study and occurrence […]


AN ENTREPOT (from the Latin emporium) is a settlement founded specifically for commercial activity or a market or mart located within or on the periphery of an administrative/political center. The origins of the entrepot are traced to the commercial behavior of ancient societies. Traders entering foreign territory were exposed to numerous natural and cultural hazards. […]

energy geography

ENERGY GEOGRAPHY IS a subdiscipline of geography that draws from many philosophical and thematic traditions, but it is primarily positioned in the interface of environmental and economic concerns. The extraction, harnessing, and consumption of the natural resources that supply society with our energy needs have always been central to economic activities. Over time, however, it […]


AN ENCLAVE is a political unit that is completely enclosed within a foreign territory. It is called an “exclave” from the perspective of the country that has sovereignty over it. An enclave can also exist on a subnational level when a subdivision has land outside its parent territory. The enclaves can be created for geological, […]


ELEVATION CAN BE defined as a measure of the height above mean sea level. When specifying a location on (or above) the surface of the Earth, elevation is commonly considered to be the third coordinate, complementing measures of LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE. Similarly, bathymetric measurements provide a depth below mean sea level to the floor of […]

electoral geography

ELECTORAL GEOGRAPHY is a part of POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY. It is the geographical study of political space in democratic states. Electoral research in dictatorships can be useful although, their citizens are not really freely choosing. Electoral geography is therefore a special study of electoral processes and districts to map election results and then to test the […]

Elburz Mountains

THE ELBURZ (or Alborz) Mountains are a narrow mountain range that curve along the southern shore of the Caspian Sea in the north of IRAN. From west to east, the range measures about 600 mi or 970 km long. The Elburz range forms a climatic barrier between the Caspian and the Central Iranian Plateau. The […]

Elbrus, Mount

MOUNT ELBRUS IS the highest point in Europe, at 18,513 ft (5,642 m). It is the central peak of the CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS range, located 6.8 mi (11 km) north of the main ridge that forms the boundary between GEORGIA and RUSSIA, thus placing the mountain within Europe, since the traditional dividing line between Asia and […]

El Salvador

Area 8,108 square mi (21,000 square km) Population 6.384 million 2014 Capital San Salvador Highest Point 8,956 ft (2,730 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $25.22 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans. THE REPUBLIC of El Salvador is located on the PACIFIC OCEAN in Central America, between GUATEMALA and HONDURAS. It […]

El Nino and La Nina

EL NINO AND La Nina are parts of global weather systems that recur every two to seven years. An El Nino, which usually lasts 12 to 18 months, is characterized by warm winters and wet springs in North America, a lessening of monsoonal rains in Asia, and droughts affecting Africa and the south PACIFIC OCEAN. […]


Area 622,272 square mi (1,001,450 square km) Population 83.39 million (2014) Capital Cairo Highest Point 8,625 ft (2,629 m) Lowest Point -436 ft (-133 m) GDP $286.5 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources cotton, rice, corn. EGYPT HAS BEEN a unified state for more than 5,000 years and is one of humanity's oldest civilizations of great […]


Area 109,483 square mi (283,560 square km) Population 15.98 million 2014 Capital Quito Highest Point 20,561 ft (6,267 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $100.5 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower. ECUADOR IS A SMALL country located on the west coast of South America. The equator crosses the country, thus giving Ecuador […]


THE ECONOMIC COMMUNITY of West African States (ECOWAS), also known in French as Communaute Economique des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (CEDEAO), was first formally set out at the Monrovia Group meeting in April 1968. By the Treaty of Lagos, 15 representatives from West African states formed ECOWAS in Lagos, NIGERIA, on May 28, 1975. […]


THE CONCEPT OF the ecosystem began with the establishment of the science of ecology which is credited to Ernst Haekel, a German zoologist who coined the term ecology in 1869. He based this term on the Greek word oikos, meaning “a place in which to live.” It was another 60 years before the term ecosystem […]

economic geography

KNOWLEDGE OF ECONOMIC geography was first essentially descriptive, with a focus on the REGION and its economy, demography, and social characteristics. It represented the typical approach in research agenda in North America and Western Europe. The birth of economic geography dates from the age of European exploration, with an expansion in commercial geography from the […]