Chapt1 - Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth I. Geography as a...

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Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth I. Geography as a Field of Learning A. defining geography 1. “Earth description” 2. areal/spatial differentiation of elements on Earth’s surface B. 2 branches of geography 1. Physical/environmental geography : elements that are natural in origin 2. cultural/human geography : elements related to human endeavor 3. geography bridges the gap between physical and social sciences C. “Why what is where and so what? II. Science and Geography A. Science as a Field of Learning 1. science does not prove ideas but rather works by eliminating alternative explanations 2. theory: the highest order of understanding for a body of information in science B. Numbers and Measurement Systems 1. English system: used by USA 2. SI: International System of Units (metric): used by most of the world and the entire scientific community a. basic unit of length: meter b. basic unit of mass: gram c. basic unit of volume: liter III. The Environmental Spheres A. lithosphere : solid, inorganic portion of Earth B. atmosphere : gaseous envelope of air that surrounds the Earth C. hydrosphere : water in all its forms on Earth 1. cryosphere: subsphere of the hydrosphere that encompasses water frozen as snow or ice D. biosphere : all parts of the Earth where living organisms can exist IV. The Solar System A. planets revolve around the sun in elliptical orbits from west to east B. four inner terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars C. four outer Jovian planets mostly composed of gases: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune V. The Size and Shape of the Earth A. Eratosthenes (200 BC) early calculations B. oblate spheroid 1. rotation → equatorial bulge ; flattening at poles 2. Earth’s diameter ≈ 7,900 miles a. polar = 7,900 miles b. equatorial = 7,927 miles C. topographic irregularities → Earth’s maximum vertical relief ≈ 20 km/12 mi a. Mount Everest = 29,035 ft above sea level
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Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth – p. 2 of 7 b. Mariana Trench (Pacific Ocean) = 36,198 ft below sea level VI. The Geographic Grid A. Intro 1. grid system: network of intersecting lines 2. reference features on Earth a. rotation axis : imaginary line that connects the North Pole and the South Pole b. equator 1) plane of the equator: imaginary plane passing through Earth halfway between the poles and perpendicular to the axis of rotation 2) equator : imaginary midline of Earth where the plane of the equator intersects the Earth’s surface 3. circles a. great circle : line drawn on the surface of a sphere by a plane that passes through the center of the sphere 1) the largest circle that can be drawn on a sphere; it divides the sphere into 2 equal hemispheres a) circle of illumination : edge of the sunlit hemisphere that is a great circle separating Earth into a light half and a dark half 2) only one great circle can be constructed to include any 2 points (unless diametrically opposed), and it’s always the shortest distance between the points (great circle route)
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Chapt1 - Chapter 1: Introduction to Earth I. Geography as a...

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