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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Geography (GEOG)

GEOG 010 (GN) Physical Geography: An Introduction (3) Survey and synthesis of processes creating geographical patterns of natural resources, with application of basic environmental processes in resource management.

GEOG 010

GEOG 010 Introduction to Physical Geography (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

Introduction to Physical Geography systematically examines the spatial patterns and interrelationships among physical elements at the earth's surface. Particular emphasis is given to developing an integrative view of how atmospheric, hydrologic, geomorphic, and biotic processes control the patterns of climate, water, landforms, soils, and biota across a local-to-global continuum. Those physical elements that influence and/or are influenced by people are the primary focus of study.

Physical geography does not simply discuss the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere in isolation; instead, it concentrates on understanding the integration of these realms of the natural world. For example, the study of weathering processes demonstrates how the physical and chemical breakdown of Earth's surface material depends on the interaction of air, water, and biota with rock.

The focus of physical geography is unlike the component disciplines from which it draws. On the one, hand, meteorology focuses on the atmosphere above our heads. Hydrology focuses on water in isolation from people. Geology and soil science focus on the Earth beneath our feet. Biology and ecology focus on the plants, animals, and ecosystems in isolation from people. One the other hand, physical geography concentrates on the surface of the Earth where the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere intersect. Introduction to Physical Geography is concerned with the human habitat-the life layer in which humans interact with their natural world.

Like all geography, five recurring themes permeate Introduction to Physical Geography: location, place, regions, movement, and human-environment relationships. Physical geographers not only are interested in where natural phenomena are located on Earth's surface, but also they want to know the answers to such questions as:

1. What is special about the physical processes that take place in a location?
2. How does the physical geography of a place relate to other places in the region?
3. How does energy and mass flow into and out of a region?
4. How do biophysical processes change as we move up and down spatial scales?
5. How do people influence natural processes? How do these processes influence people?

Other disciplines typically do not cover these spatial and nature-society themes systematically.

Physical geographers have developed and adopted many tools to address these themes. Maps are obvious choices, but geographers also use a wide array of photographic and imaging technologies to study the distribution of Earth processes and the processes themselves. They use geographic information systems and computer models to manipulate, display, and analyze spatial data. Introduction to Physical Geography acquaints students with many of these tools.

When the above points are taken together, physical geography emerges as a unique field of science. Introduction to Physical Geography provides a learning experience that students can get in no other discipline-one that takes an integrated view that makes the nature environment relevant.

General Education: GN
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Natural Sciences
Effective: Spring 2006

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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