Chapter1 - Chapter 1 Foundations of Geography The Science...

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Chapter 1 Foundations of Geography The Science of Geography Geography – from geo “Earth” and graphein “to write” Geography is a method, not a body of knowledge holistic eclectic Geographers use spatial analysis Geographers use Earth systems science Geography is The science that studies the relationships among natural systems, geographic areas, society, cultural activities, and the interdependence of all of these over space . Physical Geography is The spatial analysis of all the physical elements and processes that make up the environment. Systems Theory System: interrelated set of entities, linked by flows of energy and matter, as distinct from the surrounding environment outside the system Earth’s systems are dynamic: matter and energy are stored and retrieved Energy is transformed from one type to another Matter: mass that has a physical shape and occupies space Energy: the capacity to change the motion of matter Open System Energy and/or matter flow in and out of the system (as inputs and outputs) In terms of energy, Earth is an open system – we get energy from the sun and energy travels from the Earth to space Closed System A system that is self-contained, or shut off from the surrounding environment Rarely found in nature In terms of physical matter and resources (not energy), Earth could be considered a closed system
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Earth’s Four Spheres Atmosphere Hydrosphere Lithosphere Biosphere Earth’s Shape and Dimensions Many ancient Greeks (e.g. Pythagoras 580-500 B.C.) believed Earth was a sphere Clues: ships sinking lower on horizon, Earth’s curved shadow on moon during lunar eclipse, shapes of sun and moon Earth actually a spheroid/geoid Bulge at the Equator Flattened at the poles Erastothenes, 247 B.C. Librarian in Alexandria, Egypt
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Chapter1 - Chapter 1 Foundations of Geography The Science...

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