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Classroom geography
Random items that I think might be useful in the classroom
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Interactive - Where Americans came from, state by state

Interactive - Where Americans came from, state by state | Classroom geography | Scoop.it
Charts showing how Americans have moved between states for 112 years.
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Earth-Science Review - Natural and human-induced geohazards and impacts in karst

Earth-Science Review - Natural and human-induced geohazards and impacts in karst | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

Karst environments are characterized by distinctive landforms related to dissolution and a dominant subsurface drainage. The direct connection between the surface and the underlying high permeability aquifers makes karst aquifers extremely vulnerable to pollution. A high percentage of the world population depends on these water resources. Moreover, karst terrains, frequently underlain by cavernous carbonate and/or evaporite rocks, may be affected by severe ground instability problems. Impacts and hazards associated with karst are rapidly increasing as development expands upon these areas without proper planning taking into account the peculiarities of these environments. This has led to an escalation of karst-related environmental and engineering problems such as sinkholes, floods involving highly transmissive aquifers, and landslides developed on rocks weakened by karstification. The environmental fragility of karst settings, together with their endemic hazardous processes, have received an increasing attention from the scientific community in the last decades. Concurrently, the interest of planners and decision-makers on a safe and sustainable management of karst lands is also growing. This work reviews the main natural and human-induced hazards characteristic of karst environments, with specific focus on sinkholes, floods and slope movements, and summarizes the main outcomes reached by karst scientists regarding the assessment of environmental impacts and their mitigation.

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Earth-Science Reviews - Landslide inventory maps: New tools for an old problem

Earth-Science Reviews - Landslide inventory maps: New tools for an old problem | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

Landslides are present in all continents, and play an important role in the evolution of landscapes. They also represent a serious hazard in many areas of the world. Despite their importance, we estimate that landslide maps cover less than 1% of the slopes in the landmasses, and systematic information on the type, abundance, and distribution of landslides is lacking. Preparing landslide maps is important to document the extent of landslide phenomena in a region, to investigate the distribution, types, pattern, recurrence and statistics of slope failures, to determine landslide susceptibility, hazard, vulnerability and risk, and to study the evolution of landscapes dominated by mass-wasting processes. Conventional methods for the production of landslide maps rely chiefly on the visual interpretation of stereoscopic aerial photography, aided by field surveys. These methods are time consuming and resource intensive. New and emerging techniques based on satellite, airborne, and terrestrial remote sensing technologies, promise to facilitate the production of landslide maps, reducing the time and resources required for their compilation and systematic update. In this work, we first outline the principles for landslide mapping, and we review the conventional methods for the preparation of landslide maps, including geomorphological, event, seasonal, and multi-temporal inventories. Next, we examine recent and new technologies for landslide mapping, considering (i) the exploitation of very-high resolution digital elevation models to analyze surface morphology, (ii) the visual interpretation and semi-automatic analysis of different types of satellite images, including panchromatic, multispectral, and synthetic aperture radar images, and (iii) tools that facilitate landslide field mapping. Next, we discuss the advantages and the limitations of the new remote sensing data and technology for the production of geomorphological, event, seasonal, and multi-temporal inventory maps. We conclude by arguing that the new tools will help to improve the quality of landslide maps, with positive effects on all derivative products and analyses, including erosion studies and landscape modeling, susceptibility and hazard assessments, and risk evaluations.

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Satellite image - Dam Breach at Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia

Satellite image - Dam Breach at Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

An earthen dam at Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia breached on August 4, 2014, sending contaminated water surging into nearby lakes. Wastewater and metal-laden sand spilled from a retention basin and triggered a water-use ban in Likely, British Columbia, and other nearby towns. Local authorities had lifted the ban as of August 12.

 

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured a view of the aftermath (top) on August 5, 2014. For comparison, the lower image shows the mine and the surrounding landscape on July 29, 2014, before the dam failed. Turn on the comparison tool to slide between the two images.

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JVGR article - Construction and destruction of a volcanic island developed inside an oceanic rift

JVGR article - Construction and destruction of a volcanic island developed inside an oceanic rift | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

Graciosa Island in the central Azores lies close to the present Triple Junction between North America (NA), Eurasia (EU) and Nubia (NU) lithospheric plates (Fig. 1), and has developed more specifically inside the western end of an active oceanic rift, known as the Terceira Rift (TR, Fig. 1), which presently materializes the northern limit of the Eurasia-Nubia plate boundary. Therefore, Graciosa offers a unique opportunity to study large-scale mass wasting in an environment of active tectonics. Here we examine the successive phases of volcanic construction and partial destruction of Graciosa. From stratigraphic relationships, the analysis of a high-resolution Digital Elevation Model (DEM) (10 m), new K/Ar dating, and available gravity and bathymetry data, we reconstruct the multi-stage evolution of Graciosa and discuss the relative contribution of faulting processes and large-scale flank instabilities in the repeated destruction of the island over its lifetime.

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Map - Routes to a better life - migration to Europe from Africa and the Middle East

Map - Routes to a better life - migration to Europe from Africa and the Middle East | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

The popularity of illegal migration routes into Europe changes over time. In recent years a crackdown on the Canary Island route has seen many people travel through Libya, where a lack of security has helped.

Mathijs Booden's insight:

The word "helped' here is used in a rather abstract sense.

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Mysterious Siberian crater attributed to methane

Mysterious Siberian crater attributed to methane | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

In Siberian permafrost, large deposits of methane gas are trapped in ice, forming what is called a gas hydrate. Methane remains stable and frozen at certain temperatures, but as the permafrost warms, and its internal strength decreases, it may be less able to withhold the build-up of sub-surface gases, he says, leading to a release.

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Ryan Cain's curator insight, Today, 10:28 AM

This is pretty neat!

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Nature Geoscience - Atlantic tsunami risk is underappreciated and increasing

Nature Geoscience - Atlantic tsunami risk is underappreciated and increasing | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

Tsunamis are less frequent in the North Atlantic than in the Pacific and Indian oceans; taking into account the incomplete records, it seems that Pacific tsunamis are about eight times more frequent than Atlantic ones. North Atlantic tsunamis can be triggered by a variety of mechanisms, including Caribbean and mid-Atlantic volcanism, earthquakes and submarine landslides. One of the largest known Atlantic tsunamis was caused by the massive Storegga submarine landslide 8,200 years ago and decimated Mesolithic coastal settlements all around the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea4. Risks are posed also by meteorologically triggered tsunamis in the North Atlantic, caused by rapid disturbances in air pressure. For example, in 1992 a meteotsunami reached elevations 3 m above the high-tide mark and injured 75 people in Florida; a smaller event was observed on the south coast of England in 2011 (ref. 5).

 

Tsunami risk has two main components: likelihood, that is, the annual probability of a tsunami; and impact, the degree of destruction — of lives, property, infrastructure, and so on — that is to be expected. Analysis of data from the National Geophysical Data Center6 indicates that tsunamis that reached onshore elevations of at least 2 m above sea level have occurred approximately every 15 years in the North Atlantic basin since 1755, some affecting multiple locations. The impact of these past events does not provide a good indication of potential future damage. This is because the North Atlantic seaboard communities are increasingly vulnerable, as a result of population growth in coastal locations as well as urbanization and the construction of key infrastructure, such as airports and power stations. According to a tsunami risk assessment by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in Cornwall, southwest England, a Lisbon-type event could cause coastal wave heights of 2 to 4 m, reaching onshore elevations that may be three times as high7.

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Video - Explosive Breach of Condit Dam

On October 26th, a hole was blasted in the base of 125' tall Condit Dam on the White Salmon River in Washington. In less than 2 hours, the reservoir behind the dam drained completely and the White Salmon flowed unimpeded by a dam for the first time in 100 years.

 

This short clip is a combination of video and timelapse photography captured throughout the day.

Mathijs Booden's insight:

See also http://www.nature.com/news/dam-removals-rivers-on-the-run-1.15636

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Satellite image - Retreat of Novatak and East Novatak Glacier

Satellite image - Retreat of Novatak and East Novatak Glacier | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

There are few people around to notice, but the ice in the Brabazon Range is changing rapidly—at least on the time scale of a glacier. Novatak and East Novatak glaciers, located just a few kilometers apart near the outlet of the Alsek River, are two of many retreating glaciers in southeastern Alaska. Over the last 25-years, the ends of Novatak and East Novatak have each retreated by more than a kilometer.

 

Snowfall in higher-elevation accumulation zones feed both glaciers. Over time, fresh snow compresses into ice that slides through alpine valleys and into a low-lying plain north of the Alsek. Meltwater collects near the ends of the glaciers, forming a sizable proglacial lake. This lake, filled with opaque, light-blue water, is drained by small streams that connect to the Alsek River a few kilometers to the south. The water’s distinctive color is caused by the presence of rock flour, a fine-grained silt formed by glacial ice grinding against rock.

 

This pair of satellite images illustrates how much both glaciers changed over a 26-year period and how that change affected the lake between them. The Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5 captured the top image on August 22, 1987. The Operational Land Imager aboard Landsat 8 acquired the bottom image on August 13, 2013. Turn on the comparison tool to slide between the two images.

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Photo series - Mina, The City of Tents

Photo series - Mina, The City of Tents | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

Mina is a small city located inside a low lying valley in the province of Makkh, in western Saudi Arabia, about 8 km to the east of the Holy city of Mecca. Inside the 20 square km valley, tents cover every open space, as far as the eye can see, neatly arranged, row after row. It is in these tents Hajj pilgrims stay overnight during the five days of each Haj season. For the rest of the year, Mina remains pretty much deserted.

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Interactive - Dredging the depths: coal mining vs the Great Barrier Reef

Interactive - Dredging the depths: coal mining vs the Great Barrier Reef | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

Queensland’s booming coal industry is on a collision course with the reef, with planned port expansions and increased shipping potentially exacerbating existing threats to coral health

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Video - Earth weather over 7 days in 2005

Video - Earth weather over 7 days in 2005 | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

Using real data, this simulation's volume-rendered clouds depict seven days in 2005 when a category-4 typhoon developed off the coast of China.

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Nature - M8.1 Chile earthquake moves extra stress to still-locked segments of the subduction zone

Nature - M8.1 Chile earthquake moves extra stress to still-locked segments of the subduction zone | Classroom geography | Scoop.it
On 1 April 2014, Northern Chile was struck by a magnitude 8.1 earthquake following a protracted series of foreshocks. The Integrated Plate Boundary Observatory Chile monitored the entire sequence of events, providing unprecedented resolution of the build-up to the main event and its rupture evolution. Here we show that the Iquique earthquake broke a central fraction of the so-called northern Chile seismic gap, the last major segment of the South American plate boundary that had not ruptured in the past century. Since July 2013 three seismic clusters, each lasting a few weeks, hit this part of the plate boundary with earthquakes of increasing peak magnitudes. Starting with the second cluster, geodetic observations show surface displacements that can be associated with slip on the plate interface. These seismic clusters and their slip transients occupied a part of the plate interface that was transitional between a fully locked and a creeping portion. Leading up to this earthquake, the b value of the foreshocks gradually decreased during the years before the earthquake, reversing its trend a few days before the Iquique earthquake. The mainshock finally nucleated at the northern end of the foreshock area, which skirted a locked patch, and ruptured mainly downdip towards higher locking. Peak slip was attained immediately downdip of the foreshock region and at the margin of the locked patch. We conclude that gradual weakening of the central part of the seismic gap accentuated by the foreshock activity in a zone of intermediate seismic coupling was instrumental in causing final failure, distinguishing the Iquique earthquake from most great earthquakes. Finally, only one-third of the gap was broken and the remaining locked segments now pose a significant, increased seismic hazard with the potential to host an earthquake with a magnitude of >8.5.
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Earth-Science Review - Downstream sedimentary and geomorphic impacts of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River

Earth-Science Review - Downstream sedimentary and geomorphic impacts of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River | Classroom geography | Scoop.it
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Nature article - River gorge eradication by downstream sweep erosion

Nature article - River gorge eradication by downstream sweep erosion | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

Rivers can respond to local surface uplift or depositional blockage by incision of a narrow channel, but the resulting gorges are often temporary features. Although fluvial downcutting, channel narrowing and gorge formation have been studied over a range of conditions, the eradication of bedrock gorges and the transformation of an incised gorge into a broad floodplain are poorly understood and have not been documented in a natural river. Here we mapped channel width using aerial photographs and Lidar data from 2004 to 2010 of the Daan River bedrock gorge in Taiwan—formed in response to coseismic uplift in 1999—to evaluate mechanisms of gorge eradication. We identify a mechanism, which we term downstream sweep erosion, that is rapidly transforming the gorge into a bevelled floodplain through the downstream propagation of a wide erosion front located where the broad upstream channel abruptly transitions into a narrow gorge. We estimate that gorge erosion will remove the uplifted topography in as little as 50 years. We suggest that downstream sweep erosion can remove bedrock gorges, impose local valley widths based on upstream conditions, remove evidence of tectonic activity or depositional river blockages and therefore complicate the interpretation of channel morphology in terms of tectonic or climatic forcing.

Mathijs Booden's insight:

See also http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo2235.html

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Satellite image - Where China and Kazakhstan Meet

Satellite image - Where China and Kazakhstan Meet | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

While people often say that borders aren’t visible from space, the line between Kazakhstan and China could not be more clear in this satellite image. Acquired by the Landsat 8 satellite on September 9, 2013, the image shows northwestern China around the city of Qoqek and far eastern Kazakhstan near Lake Balqash.

 

The border between the two countries is defined by land-use policies. In China, land use is intense. Only 11.62 percent of China’s land is arable. Pressed by a need to produce food for more than 1.3 billion people, land that can be sustain agriculture is farmed intensely. Fields are dark green in contrast to the surrounding arid landscape, a sign that the agriculture is irrigated. As of 2006, about 65 percent of China’s fresh water goes to agriculture, irrigating 629,380 square kilometers (243,300 square miles) of farmland (an area slightly smaller than the state of Texas).

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Interactive map - How much of Iraq does ISIS control?

Interactive map - How much of Iraq does ISIS control? | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

This map tracks the movement of the Sunni jihadist group, the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), across the region. Using information gathered from credible news sources, the map gives an overall picture of which cities are under ISIS control, which ones are contested, which ones are controlled by Kurdish civil militias, and which ones have been retaken by Iraqi government forces.

 

Drag the “timeline” bar to the right to see the conflict progression since the beginning of 2014 and zoom in to click on individual cities to read the descriptions. Underneath the map, you’ll find a list of each incident with more information.

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Nature article - An holistic approach to beach erosion vulnerability assessment

Nature article - An holistic approach to beach erosion vulnerability assessment | Classroom geography | Scoop.it
Erosion is a major threat for coasts worldwide, beaches in particular, which constitute one of the most valuable coastal landforms. Vulnerability assessments related to beach erosion may contribute to planning measures to counteract erosion by identifying, quantifying and ranking vulnerability. Herein, we present a new index, the Beach Vulnerability Index (BVI), which combines simplicity in calculations, easily obtainable data and low processing capacity. This approach provides results not only for different beaches, but also for different sectors of the same beach and enables the identification of the relative significance of the processes involved. It functions through the numerical approximation of indicators that correspond to the mechanisms related to the processes that control beach evolution, such as sediment availability, wave climate, beach morhodynamics and sea level change. The BVI is also intended to be used as a managerial tool for beach sustainability, including resilience to climate change impact on beach erosion.
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Nature Geoscience - Regional rainfall decline in Australia attributed to anthropogenic greenhouse gases and ozone levels

Nature Geoscience - Regional rainfall decline in Australia attributed to anthropogenic greenhouse gases and ozone levels | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

[It appears likely that] the model-simulated changes for the period 1981–2012 are due to human-induced radiative forcing changes, especially for southwest Australia.

 

Several physical factors related to the large-scale atmospheric circulation over Australia contribute to the drying. There is an enhancement of atmospheric surface pressure over parts of Australia, consistent with a poleward shift and intensification of the subtropical ridge and the Hadley cell. This may be viewed as a component of a large-scale poleward movement of the dominant atmospheric circulation system that creates the drying trend. In addition, the long-term increasing trend in the SAM—with an associated poleward shift of the westerly winds and rain-producing storms—contributes to the precipitation decline in the model. Whereas ozone and well-mixed greenhouse changes in the past have probably both contributed to the poleward SAM movement, future recovery of ozone suggests a more complicated future evolution23

Mathijs Booden's insight:

Tony Abbott, give this a read please.

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GRL research letter - Sea level anomalies exacerbate beach erosion even without storms

GRL research letter - Sea level anomalies exacerbate beach erosion even without storms | Classroom geography | Scoop.it

Long-term coastal erosion is punctuated by week- to month-long sea level anomalies, which are shown in this study to enable a large amount of erosion despite not being associated with large storm events (Hs > 3 m). At most sites, the erosion in the year with frequent anomalies was similar to or greater than the erosion in the year with Hurricane Irene. Periods with frequent anomalies are not uncommon; throughout the 8 year water-level record at Wrightsville Beach there was one additional period with frequent anomalies in 2005 with ~37% of the observations recorded as anomalies.

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Video - The Urban Metabolism - the flow of energy

Mathijs Booden's insight:

As well as other flows at http://vimeo.com/iabr/videos

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Graphic - Relative proportions of muslims, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban

Graphic - Relative proportions of muslims, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban | Classroom geography | Scoop.it
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Video - Charting culture world history

This animation distils hundreds of years of culture into just five minutes. A team of historians and scientists wanted to map cultural mobility, so they tracked the births and deaths of notable individuals like David, King of Israel, and Leonardo da Vinci, from 600 BC to the present day. Using them as a proxy for skills and ideas, their map reveals intellectual hotspots and tracks how empires rise and crumble

The information comes from Freebase, a Google-owned database of well-known people and places, and other catalogues of notable individuals. The visualization was created by Maximilian Schich (University of Texas at Dallas) and Mauro Martino (IBM).

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Graphic - The USA imprisons a lot of people

Graphic - The USA imprisons a lot of people | Classroom geography | Scoop.it
The USA imprisons a lot of people; it has more than 700 prisoners per 100k population.  As a country, its imprisonment rate is second only to Seychelles (which is a small African country comprising many islands with only 90k people). The USA has 21.7% of the global prisoner population, but only 4.4% of the total global population. So is the USA legal system too effective? Or are other countries’ systems not effective enough?   


This graphic puts the issue into perspective. The area of each country’s rectangle is proportional to the total number of prisoners it has. The value for the color is normalized using each country’s population (prisoners per 100k people).



Data source: http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison-population-total
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