GEOGRAPHY
UNIT 1(CH 1-2-3-4)
LOOKING AT THE WORLD
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The study of the earth and the ways people live
and work on it is called geography
Geography is Greek (from ‘geographia’) which
means ‘study of the earth’
Geographers are people who study the earth
Geography also deals with location, how they
differ, relationships between people, their use
of resources, and their environments
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The Study of Geography can be organized around five
themes which offer a structured way of thinking of the
world and can be used to study all geographic issues at
local, national, and global levels:
Location = Where is it?…using absolute location
(precise position on the globe) hemispheres (two
halves) latitude (imaginary parallel lines that circle the
earth) longitude (or meridians…imaginary lines from
pole to pole) absolute location (grid systems of
latitude and longitude which helps find an exact place)
and relative location (where a place is in relation to
another)
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Place = What is it like there? Each place has its own physical and
human features (land, water, and kinds of people)
Human/Environment Interaction = What is the relationship between
people and their environment? Places attract people for one reason or
another (by an ocean, lake, sunshine, farm land, etc…) and how
we adapt to our environment…change it…even creating problems
for it
Movement = How are people and places connected? Throughout
history people move in large groups (for reasons of government,
religion, land, etc) Movement now has become a part of our
everyday lives (automobile, planes, etc) and how we move goods
and services and information (internet)
Region = Geographers often divide the world into regions, or
areas, based on many categories (physical features, human
characteristics), uniform (like farm belt) and functional (focus on
central points)…like an interstate or by peoples wants and needs
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Geography and Other Subjects
Geographers study both the physical and human features of the earth and
analyze patterns and relationships of each. In this process…these topics
are linked to other subjects (science, technology, history, political science,
sociology, anthropology, and economics)
Science and Technology = like all scientists, geographers observe,
hypothesize, and collect data to prove or disprove their theories…and use
tools to research all things about the earth (satellites and GPS systems)
History and Political Science = using history of the past to understand
what was going on to help understand today and the future…and study
how governments have ruled, set boundaries and effected their people
Sociology and Anthropology = Use sociology to understand societies,
people interactions and cultures throughout time and today
Economics = Use economics to help understand the location of resources
and how much people make
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The earth is part of a system of objects that revolve around the
sun…and is made up of air, water and land, with great contrasts
that exist in the heights and depths of the earth’s surface
(atmosphere = the air that surrounds the earth)
Facts of the Earth
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Diameter = 8,000 miles
70% of earth is water (hydrosphere)
30% is land (lithosphere)
Atmosphere – 1,000 miles above earth/78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen,
1% of gases (argon)
All life on the earth’s surface is called the (biosphere)
Ave. Height = 2,800 above sea level (highest 29,028 - Mt Everest and
the lowest 1,312 below sea level – Dead Sea)
Ave. Depth of earth’s ocean’s is 12,450 feet (deepest 35,800)
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Earth’s Structure = The earth’s surface is always
changing. Internal forces bring about changes in the
earth’s surface over time. Surface forces such as wind,
flowing water, and ice also change the earth’s surface
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Inside the earth = Made up of 3 layers (Inner (solid made up of
iron and nickel) / Outer Core (made up of melted iron and
nickel) / Mantle (hot rock – made up of silicon, oxygen,
aluminum, iron and magnesium) / Crust – rocks that float on
the Mantle))
Internal forces cause crusts to move (shaking or moving of the
plates is called an earthquake) plates / folds (bends in rock
layers) / faults (breaks in the earth’s crust) can also break down
the crust
External Forces can change the earth’s surface (weathering,
erosion, glacier movement)
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Earth’s Feature’s
Photographs of the earth taken from space show that
the surface of the earth is far from uniform and are
classified into several groups (landforms / water
features)
- Landforms
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 Continents = geographers divide most of the earth’s land
surface into seven large landmasses called continents
 Major Landforms = four major kind are mountains, hills,
plateaus and plains
 Other landforms = valley, canyon, peninsula (land
surrounded by 3 sides of water) and continental shelf
(underwater extension of a continent)
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Water features
 The amount of water on the earth remains constant as it moves from
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ocean to air to ground to ocean
Water covers most of the earth’s surface – almost all of it is salt
water (Four Oceans – Pacific/Atlantic/Indian/Arctic)
*some geographers say 5 (Southern Ocean)
Smaller bodies of salt water are called sea’s / gulf’s / bay’s
Other water forms are of the earth include lakes, streams and rivers
Groundwater – (wells and springs) rain and melted snow that is
filtered through the soil
Water Cycle (pg 35)
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The earth has as much water now as ever will be, this is due to
all the water that comes back to the oceans
 The cycle begins with ‘evaporation’ – changing of liquid water into
vapor or gas
 Goes to the air, is released by precipitation, returned to earth with
gravity…then eventually returns to the ocean for the cycle to start
again
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Earth’s Resources
Elements from the earth that are not made by people but can be
used by them are called natural resources
The earth supports human life because it provides what is needed
for survival
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Minerals and Fuels
 Minerals = substance from the earth that are not living or not made from
living things
 Fossil fuels = (coal, oil, gas) that form the remains of plants and animals that
lived years ago
Value of Resources = Use, Supply and changes over time help
determine the value of resources…and may change over time
 Managing Resources = some resources replace themselves naturally
(renewable resources) and not (non-renewable) – over 2,000 different
minerals to help support human life (fossil fuels especially are
valuable)
 Distribution of Resources = all resources are not evenly spread over
the world and how distribution of resources occurs is how well we
relate to one another. (import = brought into / export = sent out of a
country)
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Earth-Sun Relationship
Weather: is the condition of the atmosphere in
one place during a short period of time (day to
day…to season)
Climate: is a term for weather patterns that an
area typically experiences during a long period
of time
They are influenced by the amount of direct
sunlight a place receives
They are also affected by ocean currents /
winds / and features of the earth’s surface
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GREEN HOUSE EFFECT
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EARTH’S TILT AND ROTATION
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Only a small amount of the sun’s radiation reaches the earth’s
atmosphere…most is reflected back…but enough remains to warm the
earth’s land and water (it has been compared to a greenhouse)
The earth has an Axis (imaginary line that runs through the center
between the poles) and because the earth’s axis is tilted, some places
receive sun more than others which affect Temperature (measurement
of hot/cold in degrees on a scale – F and C) It spins on its axis causing
day and night. The sun shines on the earth all the time, but due to its
axis spin, parts face away from the sun
EARTH’S REVOLUTION
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As the earth rotates on its axis, it also travels in orbit, or path, around
the sun (revolution – or trip around the sun – 1 yr or 365.25 days) It
has equinox’s (where day and night are equal) in spring (March) and
fall (September) and solstice’s (shortest amount of sun and longest
amount of sun)
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Factors Affecting Climate
All places on the earth are not heated or cooled equally. The kind
of climate that a place has depends in part on latitude, elevation,
wind , ocean currents, and land forms
Latitude (lines that separate climate zones)
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Between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn are known as low
latitudes / Poles at the Arctic and Antarctic are known as polar areas
/ the latitudes between the North and South Poles and the Arctic and
Antarctic Circle are called high latitudes / Between the Tropics of
Cancer and Capricorn and their Circles (Arctic and Antarctic) are
known as middle latitudes
Elevation
The temperature of a place depends on its elevation. As the earth’s
atmosphere thins as altitude increases, temperature decreases
with altitude (3.5 degree’s for every 1,000 ft)
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Wind and Ocean Currents
Wind and water, combined with effects of the sun, create weather and
climate for earth
Wind Patterns – air moving across the surface of the earth is called wind which
affect climate (wind chill) and winds that blow fairly constant are called
prevailing winds
 Ocean currents are cold and warm ‘rivers’ of sea waters…they flow in circular
patterns moving clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counter clockwise
in the Southern Hemisphere
 As it flows away from the polar areas, it creates warm currents / as it moves
away from the equator, it creates cold currents…ocean temperature affects
climate (what are those called???)
 Water and Winds interact with temperature to cause precipitation (falling of
moisture to the earth – rain, sleet, hail, snow)
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Landforms
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The earth’s surface features can also affect climates (large bodies of water will
keep temperature in an area constant, mountains - windward side for cooler
moisture and leeward side for warmer moisture, flat open area’s with wind)
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WORLD CLIMATE PATTERNS
Geographers divide the earth into five major climate regions that
affect natural vegetation (plant life that grows in an area)
Tropical Climate
Are found in or near the low latitudes or tropics (divided into two
kinds – rainforest and savanna)
 Rainforest = Hot and wet throughout the year w/ thick vegetation
 Savanna = Have a dry season in winter and wet season in the summer
and are further away from the equator than the rainforests
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Dry Climate
Because of Vegetation are divided into two types (desert and steppe)
Desert = area with sparse plant life and little rain…hot during the day
and cold at night (desert climates cover 1/5 of the earth’s land surface)
 Steppe = often bordering deserts, have short grasses without many
trees
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Mid-Latitude Climate
The world has four mid-latitude climate regions
Marine West Coast Climate = found along west coast lines between 30
and 60 degrees north and south – cool summers / mild winters – some
heavy rainfall and grow deciduous trees (lose leaves in autumn) and
mixed forests (evergreen and deciduous trees)
 Mediterranean Climate = weather and vegetation near the
Mediterranean Sea (costal lands between 30-40 degrees north and
south) with mild rainy winters and hot sunny summers with chaparral
vegetation (woody brushes and short trees)
 Humid Subtropical Climate = mid-latitude regions in the southern
parts of continents – short and mild winters with stormy summers
vegetation is prairie land (grasslands and forests)
 Humid Continental Climate = controlled by land masses (not so much
by winds and water) snowy winters and shorter/cooler summers
(located only in Northern Hemisphere)
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High Latitude Climate
There are three types of High Latitude Climates (temps
average below freezing for half the year with frozen
subsoil known as permafrost)
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Sub-arctic = severe conditions where plant life is limited
(mostly needle leaved evergreens)
tundra = bitter cold with limited sunlight / vegetation is
limited to mosses, short grass and brush
ice cap = frozen all year around / no vegetation (except plants
that can live on rocks - lichens)
Highland Climate = mountain areas that vary with
elevation (some can be on the equator but high enough
to be snow covered year-round)
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People, Climate and Environment
Climate affects the kinds of clothing people
wear, kind of houses they build, and methods
of transportation they use
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People adapt to their environments to survive
(clothing, food, style and color of houses)
Climate naturally changes over time but
theories exist that change climate
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Variation of the sun’s energy, volcanic activity, and
human activity (carbon dioxide from burning fossil
fuels, tearing down rain forests, etc…)
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Culture – is the way of life of a group of people
with common traditions, interests, and beliefs
It also includes its history, government,
language, religion, beliefs, art, literature and
music
Cultures are shaped by the various ways a
group of people meet their economic needs
(early people hunted/gathered/grew their
foods… then they were able to grow
enough…then people could specialize and
trade services…and towns and cities began and
grew where trade routes crossed)
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Today about half of the worlds people still make their living
through agriculture
There are two ways to classify agriculture
Traditional or subsistence farming (depends heavily on human labor,
animal power and basic tools) that grows enough for themselves
 Commercial farming – chiefly for sale (using modern machinery,
chemicals, and farm large area with little man power)
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Industry – a business that produces goods or services is called an
industry (number and kinds vary from country to country)
Countries that produce great quantities of goods and services and
employ many workers are known as developed countries (using
science and technology…and have good health care)
Countries that don’t produce great quantities are known as
developing countries (mainly still rural and most are traditional
farmers… and have substandard health care)
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Population Growth and Distribution
The worlds population is more than seven billion and growing
rapidly (some countries/regions are growing faster than others)
A country’s population growth is largely based on the relationship
between the birthrate and its death rate (difference between the
two is the natural growth rate)
When the two rates are more or less equal, a country has reached
what is called zero population growth
Some places the death rate has slowed, due to improved health
care and lifestyle, which have a rapid population growth rate
Rapid growth rates present many challenges – enough food,
housing, nonrenewable resources
Population Distribution – or population pattern
Population Density – average number of people in a square mile
Most people live where there is fertile soil and favorable climates
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The environment is a source of many challenges to the worlds
people (some are caused by natural occurrences and some are a
direct result of people’s actions)
Occurrences and conditions in the environment that people cannot
control are known as environmental hazards (which can result in
damages or even loss of life)
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Pollution – a serious environmental problems today that come(s)
in the form of pollution
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Tornado, hurricane, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions
Air, water, soil, solid waste, toxic – which affect the planet and our
way of life
Clean up and regulation
People have developed ways to control pollution (air and water
treatment)
 Governments have worked at attempts to regulate (limit) harmful
material that are put into the environment
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Cultural Expressions
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A society expresses its culture through such things as language,
religion and art. (from the beginning of time people developed
different ways of expressing their cultures)
Cultural Origins – Over time many cultures have built cities,
developed writing systems, and achieved varying kinds of
developments in the arts, sciences, government and business.
(these cultures are called civilization)
 Learning from the past – before the rise of civilizations, people
focused on basic needs…then developed a system of
communication and written records, then people could study
written information and developed history. (time before
written records is known as prehistory)
 Culture Hearths – Four ancient civilizations made special
contributions to world cultures (Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and
China) These areas are known as cultural hearths (or places
where civilization began)
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Cultural Change – are influenced and changed by
internal and outside forces (cultural diffusion – the
spread of peoples, ideas, practices, and goods from
one culture to another)
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Cultural Contacts
 Travel and trade are activities that have encouraged contacts
between different groups of people (migration, inventions and
exploration)
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Cultural Barriers
 While some factors encourage cultural contact others create barriers
(natural, like mountains, and others like languages, customs and
beliefs)
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Changes (far reaching)
 People and their cultures change and evolve through time.
Exploration, Industrial Revolution and Technology have helped
change and helped limit these barriers
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Cultural Change – are influenced and changed by
internal and outside forces (cultural diffusion – the
spread of peoples, ideas, practices, and goods from
one culture to another)
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Cultural Contacts
 Travel and trade are activities that have encouraged contacts
between different groups of people (migration, inventions and
exploration)
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Cultural Barriers
 While some factors encourage cultural contact others create barriers
(natural, like mountains, and others like languages, customs and
beliefs)
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Changes (far reaching)
 People and their cultures change and evolve through time.
Exploration, Industrial Revolution and Technology have helped
change and helped limit these barriers
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World Culture Regions Today Geographers often divide the
planet into areas called culture regions (they may not have clear
boundaries…so there are many views on this…but have divided
in to 10 regions)
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Governments
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Some factors that help divide the world are governments, social
groups, economic systems, language and religion
People who study governments are called Political Scientists among
some cultures, governments are more important than the individual
(Authoritarian) while others the people are more important
(Democracy) while some combine the two (Constitutional Monarchy)
Social Groups
People who study people’s relationships to one another in groups are
called Sociologists (they study how people use certain measures to
meet their needs)
 They look at social groups/literacy rates/urbanization
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Economic Systems
 A country’s economic systems is the way in which the people of the country
produce, get, and use goods and services
 The value of all goods and services produced annually by the citizens, in or
outside a country, is called the gross national product (GNP)
 The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) covers all things produced within a
country
 Per capita income measures how much money per person a country or region
earns
 Those three items help classify countries
Language and Religion
 Scientists who study people’s cultures are called Anthropologists (they trace
the development of people’s cultures by considering factors such as language
and religion)
 Language (many languages spoken in a culture region often belong to a
language family – having similar beginnings) Language is the most powerful
tool of communication (ways people share information) and helps them
preserve their past through written words (history & literature)
 Religion – very important factor in peoples cultures (organized way of
worshipping a spiritual being or thinking on life) and are part of societies
traditions, practices and beliefs which get passed on throughout the ages
(major world religions – Christianity, Jewish, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism)
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