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GEOGRAPHY (Gr. yil, earth, and ypiick...

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Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 619 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GEOGRAPHY (Gr. yil, earth, and ypiickty, to write), the exact and organized knowledge of the distribution of phenomena on the surface of the earth. The fundamental basis of geography is the vertical relief of the earth's crust, which controls all mobile distributions. The grander features of the relief of the lithosphere or stony crust of the earth control the distribution of the hydrosphere or collected waters which gather into the hollows, filling them up to a height corresponding to the volume, and thus producing the important practical division of the surface into land and water. The distribution of the mass of the atmosphere over the surface of the earth is also controlled by the relief of the crust, its greater or lesser density at the surface corresponding to the lesser or greater elevation of the surface. The simplicity of the zonal distribution of solar energy on the earth's surface, which would characterize a uniform globe, is entirely destroyed by the dissimilar action of land and water with regard to radiant heat, and by the influence of crust-forms on the direction of the resulting circulation. The influence of physical environment becomes clearer and stronger when the distribution of plant and animal life is considered, and if it is less distinct in the case of man, the reason is found in the modifications of environment consciously produced by human effort. Geography is a synthetic science, dependent for the data with which it deals on the results` of specialized sciences such as astronomy, geology, oceanography, meteorology, biology and anthropology, as well as on topographical description. The physical and natural sciences are concerned in geography only so far as they deal with the forms of the earth's surface, or as regards the distribution of phenomena. The distinctive task of geography as a science is to investigate the control exercised by the crust-forms directly or indirectly upon the various mobile distributions. This gives to it unity and definiteness, and renders superfluous the attempts that have been made from time to time to define the limits which divide geography from geology on the one hand and from history on the other. It is essential to classify the subject-matter of geography in such a manner as to give prominence not only to facts, but to their mutual relations and their natural and inevitable order. The fundamental conception of geography is form, including
End of Article: GEOGRAPHY (Gr. yil, earth, and ypiickty, to write)
GEOID (from Gr. yij, the earth)

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