Module 11

Module 11 - GEOGRAPHY 1700 World Regional Geography Module...

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GEOGRAPHY 1700 World Regional Geography Module 11: The Austral Realm
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GEOGRAPHY 160 Defining the Austral Realm
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Australia and New Zealand Australia and New Zealand comprise the Austral Realm . These two countries are the only fully industrialized economies in the Southern Hemisphere . In contrast to Japan and Pacific Rim countries, Australia & New Zealand do not have very high population densities . These countries were founded by European colonists (English) that pushed aside the indigenous population. The two countries lie far from the source of their cultural heritage but close to new economic partners in the western Pacific Rim.
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In size Australia is approximately 3 million sq miles, about the size of the 48 lower states of U.S.A. Australia is a continental landmass & the island of Tasmania. It lies at the core of the Australian Plate from which New Zealand broke off about 80 million years ago. Physiographically, it is has an old, wornout topography known as a peneplain. Overall, not very much vertical relief ; Great Dividing Range - Low mountain range at approximately 3,000 ft Highest peak is Mt. Kociusko 7,316 ft.
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The interior lowlands were once flooded by a shallow ocean and now contain the Lake Eyre basin . A large part of the lowlands is the Great Artesian Basin , underlain by the world’s large groundwater aquifer. Overlying rocks have placed enough pressure on the underground water that it rapidly rises to the surface when drilled. The southern lowland area is drained by the Murray and Darling Rivers . The western part is a plateau area of old shield rocks . This region has numerous mineral deposits – the foundation of its mining industry.
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Western Australia and the interior lowlands contain impressive examples of desert and eroded landforms such as Uluru (or Ayers Rock).
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Because of its separation and isolation from other land masses, the flora and fauna of Australia have evolved into very distinctive species. The biogeography of Australia has a wide variety of marsupial fauna and hundreds of species of eucalyptus trees. A debate exists over the zoogeographical boundaries of the fauna of this region of the world between the Wallace line and the Weber line that delineate how far advanced mammals progressed eastward .
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Climates - Australia also has a harsh environment like Russia over much of the continent although cold is not the problem. Australia is hot and dry (dryness especially). Australia is located between approx. 10 o S and 40 o S latitude . The high pressure belt between 20 o o latitude reduces the level of precipitation over much of the continent resulting in the large area of Australian desert .
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However, its latitudinal extent also means that Australia does contain a wide variety of climates ranging from tropical rainforests and tropical savanna along the north coast to humid subtropical, Mediterranean and marine west coast along the south and southeast coasts.
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As a result there are a variety of different environments in Australia such as the tropical environment of North Queensland that supports: sugarcane fields and tea plantations.
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This note was uploaded on 11/16/2011 for the course GEOG 1700 taught by Professor Hanik during the Spring '08 term at UConn.

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Module 11 - GEOGRAPHY 1700 World Regional Geography Module...

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