Study Guide: People, Places & Environment - Midterm

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Geo Midterm – Review
The Geographical Approach

Geography = Only discipline that examines patterns of phenomena on Earth.

Geographers are interested in locational aspects of Earth phenomena (can it be mapped?) * Physical geography involves natural phenomena
* Human/cultural geography involves phenomena caused by inhabitants

Many different fields of geography overlap one another. All geographers are interested in: * A focus on spatial relationships (terrestrial)
* Geographic patterns (+ how they’re created)
* Where things are, why they’re there, how they got there

*Fundamental Geographical Concepts

* Place
* Location – absolute & relative
* Latitude: Angular distance on the surface of the Earth measured North/South of the equator * Longitude: Angular distance on the surface of the Earth measured East/West of the equator *Equator is always at 0° latitude

* Region
* Distribution in Space
* Distance
* Scale
* Time & Temporal Change
* Earth-human relationships

GPS determines position based on triangulation from satellites orbiting Earth using coordinates of latitude/longitude or easting/northing.

“White Lies” on Maps

Maps must tell white lies in order to be accurate. They are attempting to represent a complex 3D world on a 2D plane and therefore must offer a selective, incomplete view of reality to present data accurately. This can be done through using different colors and designs to represent data in the desired way.

Temporal Changes

* Places change through time and over distance
* Changes in physical environment vary from small/temporary (ex. river channel changes) to permanent (ex. mountain uplift over long period) * Humans are causing the Earth to change faster than ever before.

*Spheres of the Earth System

* Atmosphere: Dynamic, gaseous mixture extending from a few meters underground to 60,000 km above earth. * Lithosphere: The outer shell of solid earth (lithos = rock). * Hydrosphere: All of the water on, in or above the earth (71%). * Cryosphere: All forms of frozen water on or beneath the surface. * Biosphere: The zone of life (plants, animals, humans & soil).

All 5 “spheres” are interrelated and dependant on one another, or “holistic”.

Systems Theory

“System” = Any ordered, interrelated set of things, linked by flows of energy and matter. * Open system: Inputs AND outputs of energy and matter, exchanges both with surrounding environment. (ex. Cars) * Closed system: Self-contained, rare in nature. Open only to transfers of energy. (ex. Earth)

System Feedback

* Positive: Amplifies or encourages responses.
* Negative: Slows or dampens responses, self-regulation, common in living things.

Earth & the Environment

Earth in Space

* Earth is dynamic, depends on a single source of radiant energy (sun). * Unique as its distance from the sun allows for the origin and evolution of life. * Revolves around the sun once a year, constantly rotating. * Results in the amount of daylight in a given day varying between seasons. * Uneven distribution of solar energy results in seasons.

*Dynamic Earth

Earth is driven by 2 sources which are fueled by radioactive decay. * Sun: Heats surface, provides energy for photosynthesis, controls weather/hydrological systems, and supports life. * Earth’s Core: Movement of plates, formation of land, forges many natural resources It is interconnected through the 5 “spheres”, which are all key to each other’s survival and balance.

History of the Earth

* 4.56 billion years old

Earth has been through 2 eons, each of which is divided into eras:

* Precambrian Eon:
- Hadean era
- Archaen era
- Proterozoic era
* Phanerozoic Eon:
* Paleozoic era
* Mesozoic era
* Cenozoic era (present)

The Precambrian eon stretched from 4600 to 570 million years ago. It was important as it covered the...
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