Chapter 6 Outline

Chapter 6 Outline - Chapter 6 Subsaharan Africa In the...

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Chapter 6: Subsaharan Africa In the economically globalizing way of today, Africa may not be the functional core, but for most of human history, Africa was indeed the core of where human evolution began Wherever humans migrated, their ancestors had started from Africa and carried their genetic and cultural baggage with them Cradle and Cauldron o For tens of thousands of years, Africa was the source of human cultures o But in this chapter, we will encounter an Africa that has been struck by a series of disasters ranging from environmental deterioration to human dislocation on a scale unmatched anywhere in the world o The African continent contains two geographic realms The African Realm, extending from the southern margins of the Sahara to the Cape of Good Hope The Northern Realm, consisting of the western flank of the realm dominated by the Muslim faith and Islamic culture Peril of Proximity o The slave trade was one of those African disasters alluded to above o It was facilitated in part by what we may call the peril of proximity Defining the Realm Africa’s Physiography Africa accounts for about one-fifth of the Earth’s entire land surface Much of Africa is far from maritime sources of moisture and large parts of the landmass lie in latitudes where global atmospheric circulation systems produce arid conditions The Sahara in the north and the Kalahari in the south form part of this globe-girdling desert zone Rifts and Rivers o Alone among the continents, Africa does not have an Andes-like linear mountain backbone o Africa is one of only two continents containing a cluster of Great Lakes, and the only one whose lakes result from powerful tectonic forces in the Earth’s crust
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o These lakes lie in deep trenches called rift valleys , which form when huge parallel cracks or faults appear in the Earth’s crust and the strips of crust between them sink, or are pushed down, to form great, steep-sided, linear valleys o Africa’s rivers are also unusual: their upper courses often bear landward, seemingly unrelated to the coast toward which they eventually flow o Several rivers, such as the Nile and the Niger, have inland as well as coastal deltas o Except for some comparatively limited coastal plains, almost the entire continent lies above 300 meters in elevation o The margins of Africa’s plateau are marked by escarpments, often steep and step-like Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics o Africa’s remarkable and unusual physiography was one piece of evidence that geographer Alfred Wegener used to construct his hypothesis of continental drift o Tectonic forces began to split Pangaea apart o That process, now known as plate tectonics , continues, marked by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions Natural Environments Only the southernmost tip of Subsaharan Africa lies outside the tropics Although African elevations are comparatively high, they are not high enough to ward off the heat that comes with tropical location except in especially favored locales
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This note was uploaded on 02/05/2011 for the course GE 201 taught by Professor Walker during the Fall '10 term at BU.

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Chapter 6 Outline - Chapter 6 Subsaharan Africa In the...

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