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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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physical

When Climate Change Meets Sprawl: Why Houston’s ‘Once-In-A-Lifetime’ Floods Keep Happening

But a local understanding of place is critical and this viral post–Things non-Houstonians Need to Understand–is pretty good.

“Unchecked development remains a priority in the famously un-zoned city, creating short-term economic gains for some, but long term flood risk for everyone.”

Source: projects.propublica.org

Houston’s development boom and reduction of wetlands leave region prone to more severe flooding.  Here is a great map of the change in impervious surfaces in the region from 1940 to 2017–when you combine that with record-breaking rainfall the results are catastrophic.  But a local understanding of place is critical and this viral post–Things non-Houstonians Need to Understand–is pretty good.   

Tagsphysical, fluvialwatercoastal, urban, planningtransportation, architecture.

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The American West, 150 Years Ago

In the 1860s and 70s, photographer Timothy O’Sullivan created some of the best-known images in American History. After covering the U.S. Civil War, (many of his photos appear in this earlier series), O’Sullivan joined a number of expeditions organized by the federal government to help document the new frontiers in the American West. The teams were composed of soldiers, scientists, artists, and photographers, and tasked with discovering the best ways to take advantage of the region’s untapped natural resources. O’Sullivan brought an amazing eye and work ethic, composing photographs that evoked the vastness of the West. He also documented the Native American population as well as the pioneers who were already altering the landscape. Above all, O’Sullivan captured — for the first time on film — the natural beauty of the American West in a way that would later influence Ansel Adams and thousands more photographers to come.

 

Tags: images, artlandscape, tourism, historicalUSA.

Source: www.theatlantic.com

25 Photos That Will Make You Fall in Love With Norway

“So how gorgeous is Norway? From its majestic wildlife, captivating Northern Lights shows, and snowy mountains, to its vivid landscapes, and mystifying fjords, Norway is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the outdoors. Plus, opportunities for hiking, kayaking, glacier climbing, fishing, and skiing are endless! If Noway wasn’t already on your travel bucket list, I bet it is now!”

Source: www.travelalphas.com

My wife lived in Norway for 18 months, and her love for this country is infectious.  The stunning physical geography leads to some equally magnificent cultural landscapes that were forged in a very rugged, inhospitable environment for early human settlers.   

 

Tags: Norway, place, tourismphysical, Arctic, geo-inspiration, images, artlandscape.

America’s Best Long Trails

Plan your next big hike with this map of America’s most-loved long trails.

Source: www.backpacker.com

My uncle hiked the entire Pacific Crest Trail and as a kid the enormity of that feat was both inspirational and mind-boggling.  Recently I watched an incredible documentary about an ultra-marathoner’s quest on Vermont’s Long Trail (Finding Traction: free on Amazon Prime–trailer here).  While I doubt most of us could go the full length of these trails given our jobs, fitness levels, etc., I do think that getting outside to explore some of the physical environments in our local areas this summer sounds like a fantastic idea (high-res map here).  

 

Tags: transportation, landscape, place, sportphysical, environment, mappingmap.

Massive landslide adds to ‘unprecedented’ damage along scenic Highway 1 in Big Sur area

“A massive mudslide along the California coast.  Millions tons of rock/dirt, about 1/3 mile of roadway covered 35-40 feet deep.”

Source: www.latimes.com

A steep slope, unstable ground, and changing moisture content result is this spectacular (and horrifying) example of how the Earth beneath our feet might not be as permanent as we expect it to be.

 

Questions to Ponder: Which type of mass wasting is seen in this particular example?  What conditions would lead to other types of mass wasting?  

 

Tags: physicalCalifornia, geomorphology, erosion, landforms.

How Cookiecutter Sharks Eat Is Terrifying

Do not be fooled by its adorable name—the cookiecutter shark attacks by suctioning its lips to the flesh of its victims, spins, and ejects a cylindrical plug of flesh from its prey!

Source: www.youtube.com

This is the most delightfully fun video about one of the creepiest critters of the deep. 

 

Tags: water, biogeography, environment, physical, National Geographic.

Is Zealandia the eighth continent?

“A group of geologists say they’ve enough evidence to confirm the existence of a new continent. Writing in the journal of the Geological Society of America, the group named the eighth continent ‘Zealandia.’ Scientists argue for an 8th continent, Zealandia, in the Geological Society of America.”

Source: www.youtube.com

What makes a continent a continent? There is no set definition of a continent. Some consider cultural groupings and would consider Europe as a separate continent from Asia as a consequence. Geologists consider continental shelves as the defining characteristics of a continent and thus consider Eurasia to be just one continent. We are so accustomed to seeing the coastlines, but if the ocean were drained, we’d see Zealandia and it’s ancient confidential shelf–but don’t expect all the continental maps in elementary schools to change anytime soon.

 

Questions to Ponder: Does human geography or physical geography determine what you consider a continent?  How come?       

 

Tags: physical, tectonics, geologyregions, Oceania.

Senegal’s Great Green Wall combats desertification

“A 7,000 km barrier is being built along the footsteps of the Sahara to stop the desert expanding. The Great Green Wall project started in 2007 in Senegal, along with 10 countries in Africa to combat the effects of climate change. Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports from Widou, deep in the Sahel.”

Source: www.youtube.com

The Great Green Wall initiative is composed of 11 countries that are cooperating together to combat the physical and human geographic characteristics that make the Sahel one of the more vulnerable ecosystems in the world.  This swath running through Africa is the transition zone where tropical Africa meets the Sahara.  The Sahel is susceptible to drought, overgrazing, land degradation and desertification.  These issues of resource management and land use transcend international borders so this “Green Wall” was created with the intent to protect the environment, landscapes and people of the Sahel from desert encroachment (the shorter, social media friendly version of this video is available here).

 

Tags: Africa, Senegal, development, environment, waterbiogeography, ecology, environment depend, physical, weather and climate, supranationalism, political ecology.

What are El Niño and La Niña?

“El Niño and La Niña are complex weather patterns resulting from variations in ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific–officially known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. These deviations from normal surface temperatures can have large-scale impacts not only on ocean processes, but also on global weather and climate.”

Source: oceanservice.noaa.gov

This short video from NOAA is an excellent summary that explains the ENSO cycle.  The video has a particular emphasis on how changing patterns in the Pacific Ocean currents can impact weather patterns in various regions of the United States.  

 

Tagsphysical, weather and climateregions, USA.

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