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Welcome to Earth Site
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By Keir Chapman

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Why use Earth Site Encyclopedia

Earth-Site intends this encyclopedia to be informative for all levels of education from those studying at GCSE to those studying postgraduate. Higher level subject areas will be clearly marked making revision, research or study easier for your particular needs. We will also provide citations and further references where available.

More than just a reference encyclopedia, Earth Site is Free Educational Encyclopedia. The first online encyclopedia to have tests at the end of sections, so the user can test their knowledge and find the areas they need to improve. The tests are perfect for revision and provide another way to help with recall of the subject matter.

This is a comprehensive free encyclopaedia containing timelines, images, animations and live news feeds, making it a multimedia electronic library of reference, that we hope you will find fun, informative and a useful tool to prepare for GCSE's and other academic exams.

Earth site encyclopedia is updated daily with articles created with the latest information from reliable sources and leaders in their respective fields including Nature, NASA, ESA, The Library of congress, the CIA Factbook and more.

Earth site encyclopedia is a free resource containing thousands of articles written specifically with students in mind and organised into relevant subjects. Our aim is to make this a complete encyclopaedic reference with all the relevant knowledge of the earth i.e. all the facts and information from subjects taught in schools and colleges.




Definition of encyclopedia as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary.

Encyclopedia or encyclopaedia > Noun. A book or set of books giving information on many subjects or on many aspects of one subject and typically arranged alphabetically.

Mid 16th century: modern Latin, from pseudo Greek enkuklopaideia for enkuklios paideia meanining all round education.

Earth Site Encyclopedia
On this day
On This Day ...



In 1945 Great Britain liberates Hong-Kong from Japanese occupation.

Although most of Europe bought goods from China the trade was made very much one sided by the Chinese policy of only accepting silver in payment. China was self sufficient and even if they desired goods from Europe the Chinese port officials would not allow imports other than silver. The Qing dynasty in the 18th century ensured the control of western imports by allowing trade through just southern port of Canton (Guangzhou). This increased the value of the precious metal and many countries, particularly Spain, sought new sources of silver through mining in the Americas. This system gave China a complete monopoly on trade which caused increased tension between European and the Chinese governments. But Western governments soon found a product that the Chinese population did want and would become a new currency for the luxury items China produced (tea, silk, spices and porcelain).

During the 6th and seventh century Arabic and Turkish traders introduced opium into china but it was taken orally in small quantities for medicinal use only, leaving demand relatively small. Britain had always valued gold greater than silver and had built its economy on this basis (known as the gold standard). As its silver deposits were depleted by British huge demand for Chinese tea Britain was forced to by silver from other European countries. Attempts were made to grow tea in India but initially it was impossible to meet the publics demand.

Great Britain could however grow opium in large quantities in India and initially this commodity was accepted as payment by the Chinese government. In the 17th century the act of smoking tobacco in pipes had made its way to China from America and this created a new habit of smoking opium in China. Due to its highly addictive quality demand for the drug increased across most of China and the western powers were more than willing to supply the demand. As British production of tea in her colonies increased, reducing the demand from China, Chinese demand for opium became insatiable and soon China’s monopoly on trade decreased with more silver being exported to pay for the opium than the amount being imported for Chinese goods. This change in the status quo angered the Chinese government and they began attempting to stop the imports of Opium and sentenced people to death for its sale. But the demand remained and so did the trade and Opium was being consumed by all levels of society including large percentages of Chinese officials, the Daoguang emperor and most of his court. But many opposed to the opium trade within the court and requested highly respected Lin Zexu to become Special Imperial Commissioner of Canton in March 1839.

The British ‘Superintendent of trade to China’, Charles Elliot, ordered all British ships attempting to smuggle the drugs into China to hand over the drugs on the promise of compensation from the British government, an order which proved extremely costly to Britain.

In March 1839 several British merchants were accused of murdering a Chinese civilian while in the port of Canton. The British officials were reluctant to hand over the men as they had little or no faith in the Chinese justice system. This was the final act of injustice to the Chinese government and the First Opium War broke out on the 18th of March 1839. During this war the British tested their new weapon “The Nemesis” which was the worlds first iron warship. The Nemesis proved to be a formidable weapon that could out class its wooden counterparts in most respects especially on the 7th of January 1841 during The Second Battle of Chuenpee which was the final military conflict of the war. After the British victory in the Second Battle of Chuenpee the Convention of Chuenpee took place on the 20th of January. British Captain Charles Elliot and Chinese Governor Qishan agreed on a cease fire and certain concessions by the Chinese government to the British including ceding Hong Kong island to Britain and the promise of opening more ports up for trade with Britain. The Convention of Chuenpee was basically a draft for the Treaty of NanKing which was signed on the 29th of August and officially ended the First Opium War and officially making Hong Kong a British Possession. This treaty was known in China as the first of the unequal treaties but it did end the Canton System and allowed for free trade with China and the rest of the world. Because of the treaty China became more integrated into the world and is considered the dawn of modern Chinese history.

Hong Kong remained a British possession up until it was invaded and occupied by Japan on the 25th of December 1941 during World War II. When Japan announced its surrender on the 14th of August 1945 Hong Kong was officially handed back to the British Navy on the 30th of August 1945. On the 19th of December 1984 the British Prime Minister and Premier of the People’s Republic of China met in Beijing and signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration which agreed on ministration of Hong Kong returning to the ORC on the 1st of July 1997. China agreed to allow Hong Kong to remain largely autonomous but ultimately under control of the PRC for fifty years after the sign over date. In 2047 Hong Kong is expected to return entirely to the administration of China although many oppose this move.

Popular Articles


Solar System.PNGThe Solar System

This article tells the story of the creation of our Solar System around 5,000 million years ago. Explaining the creation of the sun from the left over matter after a supernova, the layout of the planets and why it all started spinning.

This article also contains animated images of the planets, moons and sun which link to further articles giving the latest information about the local celestial bodies.




This Article is all about D.N.A (Dideoxynucleic Acid) which is the coding of life.

This Article Covers:-

The components (Nitrogenous Base, Pentose
Sugars and a Phosphate Group)
The structure and Bonding of DNA.





Periodic Table.PNG

The Periodic Table of Elements

Telling the story of how the elements were constructed into a logical order that even allowed Chemists to predict the properties of elements yet to be discovered. We explain that a version by British chemist John Newlands was rejected by his piers just three years before Mendeleev created his version.

The table has ‘clickable’ atomic symbols linking to further articles about the individual elements.





Fractional Distillation.PNG Fractional Distillation

This article explains the process of separating parts or fractions of a solution by their volatility. We show the different ways fractional distillation is used from the commercial use of obtaining petrol etc from crude oil, the process of obtaining Liquid Nitrogen from liquefied air and how to set up the process in lab to separate most solutions.





Galileo Galilei.PNGGalileo Galilei

One of the greatest physicists of all time, Galileo. This article tells the story of a physicist named Galileo who refused to ignore the scientific facts and went against one of the most powerful men of his time to keep the truth alive. After seeing a telescope, Galileo built his own version and was the first recorded person to utilise the tool to look at the heavens. With it he discovered four of Jupiter’s moons, the rings of Saturn, Sun spots and the craters of the moon. But Galileo was more than an astronomer, he improved on Leonardo Da Vinci’s theories of falling bodies, gave us the concept of Inertia and many other concepts concerning gravity and dynamics (movement of objects on Earth)



The Big Bang Theory.PNGThe Big Bang Theory

The big bang theory is our most accurate explanation for the creation of the entire universe; compliant with current scientific observations, this theory has yet to be proved inaccurate.   

This article tells the story of how it all began 13.7 billion years ago with the scientific discoveries that led to its conception to the evidence of its occurrence found in Cosmic Background Radiation.





Commonwealth of Nations.PNGThe Commonwealth of Nations

The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of 53 independent countries that agree to abide by the charter of the commonwealth. This Article gives general information about the combined population, size, Gross National Products etc, the history of this union and information about each countries membership with links to profile articles concerning each country.





Geography of Earth.PNGThe Geography of Earth

Information about the world including it’s continents area of sea and land, human populations, total value for the WDP, religions, languages and it’s geology.  Links to information for the individual countries categorised within each continent is also available giving an individualcountries and global scope of the world’s geography.

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Random Facts

Becoming a better Student
Improving your learning and information retention skills


Good Source Material

One important factor is the quality of the material you use and the way it is presented. It has long been thought that multimedia learning (using words, audio, images, graphs, maps, and animation) can improve a students ability to learn and recall the information they have learnt. Looking into the subject there are many studies which have proven just that but one study in particular shows a massive improvement.

Richard Mayer is a professor of psychology at the University of California and has 25 years experience in testing student’s abilities to study when the information is presented in various ways. Recently Professor Mayer and his team performed ten different studies where students were taught scientific methods. Some of the students were taught using words alone and some were taught using words and other media. On average there was an 89% improvement in learning and recall when multimedia methods were used.




A clear workspace and set times

An oldie but still very true, it is important to have an area which tidy and has no clutter as this has been proven to help with study. Try to find a quiet area with a lot of space, sunlight and if possible a house plant. Photosynthesising plants produce more oxygen and an oxygen rich environment can help your brains performance.

If studying for exams then it is helpful to plan which subjects you will study during particular sessions. Planning ahead can help you focus and utilise your time more effectively spreading it across the topics as required.




Use it or loose it

In January 2004 the pier reviewed magazine Nature explained how the grey matter in people’s minds increased when they learnt to juggle but then reverted back when they stopped. The study took test subjects and monitored their brains using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to measure any changes to their brains when they were taught a task (in this case juggling). The imaging showed that the amount of grey matter in the area responsible for visual memory increased as they were practicing juggling. The subjects then stopped juggling and after a while they were measured again revealing that the new grey matter had gone.

The study demonstrates something already known by Neurobiologist and called ‘Synaptic Pruning’.

This is a natural process that the brain goes through especially in adolescents where many of the synaptic pathways created as children (as children we overproduce these pathways) but, no longer required, are lost but this allows others to strengthen (New Scientist issue 2826).

By repeated learning techniques such as reading from source, making notes and rewriting the information in your own words you strengthen these synaptic links associated with the subject matter and make it easier to remember. In the same way if studying for exams using revision cards which have concise pieces of information on can be very useful, if you periodically read through them.


  1. Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg 93053, Germany
  2. Department of Psychiatry, University of Jena, 07740 Jena, Germany
  3. Institute of Neuroradiology, University of Regensburg, Regensburg 93053, Germany





Always remain a student

Never be afraid to look things up you are not completely sure about. Not only does this keep your brain making new or stronger synaptic pathways but it may give you a different view on things which makes it all just click into place. Maths is a prime example, being showed a certain method for percentages can make all the difference. At school I was taught several stages to the process and it wasn’t until leaving when someone taught me a much simpler way. Now if I want to calculate 15% of any amount I simply times that number by 0.15 and there is my answer, simple.

A study also suggests that when you have a answer to a question that you know but can’t quite remember, trying to remember the answer can make things worse. Psychologist Karin Humphreys and Amy Beth Warriner suggest that the time it takes for you to remember a fact that is on the tip of your tongue, puts your brain in that same state when you try to remember the fact in the future.

In their study they took a group of thirty people and asked them a series of questions and the response time was monitored, some they knew some they didn’t but some the answer was on the tip of their tongue. They were then re-asked the questions two days later and it was found that the answers that sat on their tongue on day 1 were more likely to stay on their tongue on day 2.

“The extra time that people spend trying to dredge up the word is what the researchers describe as "incorrect practice" time. Instead of learning the correct word, people are learning the mistake itself” explains Humphreys.

Take advantage of the great age we live in and instead of trying to recall the answer from memory, look it up and you will remember it much clearer next time you come across it.



Shark Fetus-icon.pngTiger Sharks embryos develop teeth while in the womb.  For them survival of the fittest begins from this point on as they start to attack each other as soon as their teeth are developed.


Box of Tissues.PNG

The medical term for a runny nose is Rhinorrhea


Mercury rotates so slowly and orbits the sun so quickly that it only has 1.5 days in one of its years.


Orchid Public Domain.PNGThe word orchid comes from the Latin ‘Orchidaceace’ meaning testicle. It got this name because of the shape of its roots and they were presented to women by men as a sign of their intentions.


Pizza Public Domain.PNG

If you had a Pizza with the Radius of ‘Z’ and thickness ‘A’ then its volume would be calculated by Pi x Z x Z x A


Aftermath of Anglo-Zanzibar War (worlds shortest war 38 mins).PNGThe world’s shortest war in recorded history was fought on the 27th of August 1896 between Britain and Zanzibar. After 38 minutes Zanzibar surrendered.

Periodic Table of Elements.PNG
The only letter that is not present on periodic table of elements is ‘J’


Flag of the United States of America.PNGIn 1917 John D. Rockefeller was co-founder of the ‘Standard Oil Company’ and was said to have a net worth of $340 billion. In 1917 he could have paid of the entire public debt on his own. Bill Gates is thought to have a net worth of $76.8 billion but his fortune would barley cover two months interest of the current American public debt.

 house fly public domain.PNG

Houseflies find sugar with their feet, which are 10 million times more sensitive than human tongues.


Honey Bee public domain.PNGA foraging honey bee will travel up to 60 miles a day. They must extract nectar from several million flowers to make a single pound of honey.


Pluto.PNGThe dwarf Planet Pluto takes 248 ‘earth years’ to make one full orbit of the Sun. Since its discovery in1930 it has only travelled a third of its orbit.



Chinese Flag.PNGBy 2020 the amount of Chinese men of marriageable age will outnumber the female population of china by 30 million.


Fijian Flag.PNGIn 1875 the king of Fiji returned from a state visit to Australia with measles which killed a quarter of his own people.



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