Introduction to Physical Geography
Department of Geography
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to physical geography (the study of Earth’s dynamic processes) and to engage students in a way that promotes critical and creative thinking with regards to Earth’s tectonic and atmospheric processes.
Students will not only be introduced to terrestrial, oceanic and atmospheric systems, but also will delve into understanding how these systems interact with one another to produce the climates and landscapes we see today on Earth. Interactive assignments and a colorful, goal oriented textbook will enhance the long‐term retention of these concepts covered and prepare students for future courses regarding climate, the atmosphere, oceans, volcanoes and earthquakes.
This geography course is broadly divided into two sections:
- The first half focuses on Earth’s atmospheric and oceanic processes. Topics include global Earth’s seasons, wind patterns, moisture in the atmosphere, ocean currents and freshwater movement.
- The second half will involve tectonic plate movement and related topics such as fault lines, earthquakes, volcanoes and various types of erosion.
There are no prerequisites for this course; however, any previous experiences in the following areas will be helpful to students taking this course: chemistry, physics, meteorology, climatology, and/or geology. To be clear: you do not need to have taken any of these courses to be successful in this course.
- To be able to describe what causes Earth’s seasons, and how these influence climate.
- To be able to describe the main causes for Earth’s ocean and atmospheric patterns of movement.
- To be able to sketch the main types of tectonic faults and know if and how volcanoes, earthquakes or both are associated with each type of fault.
- To be able to describe other ways in which Earth’s surface is transformed through different types of weathering and erosion processes.
Image source: http://flic.kr/p/hczJdk