Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
While this Minute Earth video might make geomorphology experts cringe at some of the vocabulary in this, it still is a good introduction to the absolute basics of fluvial geomorphology, or how and why rivers reshape the Earth. Fun fact: Albert Einstein pondered some of the great mysteries of the Earth, and in 1926 wrote an article on this very subject (actual paper can be read here).
The most viral images on the internet, curated in real time by a dedicated community through commenting, voting and sharing.
The boot-shaped state isn’t shaped like that anymore. So, we revised its iconic outline to reflect the truth about a sin…
Maps shape how we think about places. In mapping, we can reveal or conceal important pieces of information but sometimes the phenomena don't fit the easy binaries. In most places there is land, a coastline and then water (simple enough), but Louisiana's coastline is much more complicated with large regions being more of a coastal zone than a neat line. That accounts for some of the inaccuracies mapping Louisiana, but some lies are so convenient, that many people want the fiction to continue. It is comforting to think about places as permanent, and admitting that it isn't is acknowledging that there might be a problem. As stated in this article, "the boot is at best an inaccurate approximation of Louisiana’s true shape and, at worst, an irresponsible lie." To explore the issue yourself, this gorgeous interactive map pulls together some high quality source materials on a wide range of issues to look at this environmental issues of this region in a holistic manner.
"The largest reservoir in the U.S. falls to its lowest water level in history, Nevada State Sen. Tick Segerblom introduced a bill title and issued a press release on July 8 calling for an 'independent scientific and economic audit of the Bureau of Reclamation’s strategies for Colorado River management.'"
This week’s history-making, bad-news event at Lake Mead has already triggered lots of news stories, but almost all of these stories focus on the water supply for Las Vegas, Phoenix and California. But what about the health of the river itself?
"The incredible fractal pattern rivers (now dried out) were made as they spread into the salt flats of the arid Baja California Desert in Mexico."
Who says teaching about geomorphology has to be boring? This image of a dendritic drainage pattern beautifully shows the most common spatial configuration. What makes this pattern emerge here?
Even though Chris Hadfield's time on the space station is over, his twitter stream can still be a great source of images displaying the physical and human landscapes (and if you needed any more evidence that he's the coolest astronaut ever, watch his parting video singing David Bowie's Space Oddity).
This incredible image clearly demonstrates the fluvial processes that have creating and this and will continue to reshape this landscape. Meander scars, oxbow lakes, channel cutoffs, floodplains and point bars are all here in this gorgeous teaching image.
This article and the selected gallery is based on the free e-book "Earth as Art" which I've mentioned here before earlier. This particular image is fantastic for teaching about geomorphology and river systems. Students can 'see' the historical layers of a meandering stream winding it's way across the landscape. Connecting the physical geography to human geography, analyzing the flood plains can help explain the land use and settlement patterns in this Mississippi Delta image.
UPDATE: Here's another meandering stream image (Willamette River, Oregon) that shows the dynamism of fluvial processes quite nicely.
This interactive map documents where 443 million people around the world get there water (although the United States data is by far the most extensive). Most people can't answer this question. A recent poll by The Nature Conservancy discoverd that 77% of Americans (not on private well water) don't know where their water comes from, they just drink it. This link has videos, infographics and suggestions to promote cleaner water. This is also a fabulous example of an embedded map using ArcGIS Online to share geospatial data with a wider audience.
Time and time again, we're reminded of nature's beauty. It's hard to believe, but these photos of real landscapes, not abstract paintings.
Andre Ermolaev, through his photography has captured the beauty of Iceland's geomorphology. Being on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland has abundant volcanic ash which adds rich color to the fluvial systems.
In North East India just north of Bangladesh is the province of Meghalaya.
This is an astounding video that shows a (literally) natural way that local people have adapted to an incredibly flood-prone environment. The organic building materials prevent erosion and keep people in contact during times of flood. The living bridges are truly a sight to behold.
If we accept that controversial dams will continue to be built for economic benefit, how can we limit their damage on the environment?
"Of all the ways we have engineered Earth in the Anthropocene, the Age of Man, surely nothing rivals our audacious planetary-wide re-plumbing of the world's waterways. But is our control of Earth's arteries causing dangerous clots?" The human-environmental interaction theme of geography is as readily apparent in this issue as any.
Environmental degradation, seasonally high rainfall, a low elevation profile and climate change combine in a very bad way for Bangladesh. Flooding, given these geographic characteristics, is essentially a regular occurence. For a more in-depth look at these issues from the same media outlet, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj0iZiivYJc&feature=player_embedded#!
The Mekong River was once a wild and primitive backwater. Today, growing demands for electricity and rapid economic growth are changing the character of what is the world's 12th-longest river.
Economic progress for some often entails job loss and environmental degradation for others. The once isolated and remote Mekong is experiences some impacts of globalization with residents having mixed feelings about the prospects.
Displayed is a map originally produced by Derek Watkins. This map is a fantastic combination of physical and cultural geography. While most flowing bodies of water will be called rivers or streams, the lesser used terms (brook, fork, bayou, run, arroyo, etc.) show a striking regionalization of toponym regions. What do these patterns indicate? Why are in those toponyms found in those particular places?
|Suggested by Faquaral|
The Thai capital, built on swampland, is slowly sinking and the floods in Bangkok could be merely a foretaste of a grim future as climate change makes its...
If 'natural' disasters are becoming more fierce and impacting human societies more, we need to ask ourselves: are the physical geographic systems shifting independently or is it human society that is causing the changes? Is it the force of the hurricanes, earthquakes, floods etc. that have intensified or is the way within which humans live on the land that make us more susceptible and vulnerable to the effects of these disasters?
"October 28, 2011—The White Salmon River in Washington state is flowing again as the nearly 100-year-old Condit Dam was disabled with explosives Wednesday. The reservoir draining took about 2 hours. Further demolition is scheduled in 2012."
Don't have a water table to demonstate fluvial geomorphology? This Time Lapse video demonstates deposition and erosion powerfully. This is also a useful discussion started for human and environmental interactions.
This infographic is stunning in its artistry and presentation of how mountains and rivers "stack up" next to each other (Good to point out that the rivers were "straightened" for comparative purposes). The image comes from the General Atlas of the World, which was published in 1854. It contained upwards of seventy maps, reproduced from the steel engravings of noteworthy cartographers Sidney Hall and William Hughes. For the legend and more about this map see: http://io9.com/5855100/gorgeous-victorian-infographic-shows-earths-mountains-and-rivers-as-we-knew-them-over-150-years-ago
Flood waters inundating Thailand north of Bangkok since July have made the journey south and reached the capital. The disaster is responsible for 400 deaths in Thailand and neighboring Cambodia and Vietnam.
Too much of a good thing (water) can literally be disastrous.
Pakistan’s monsoon floods have devastated millions of lives, but one month on, the international response remains sluggish, raising fears of a worsening humanitarian situation.
With the strong concentration of the population living in floodplains, the seasonal monsoons will always be a major struggle for South Asia.
Water is essential to life but in such places as India, Pakistan, China, and Thailand deluges have once again caused misery. Typhoon Nesat hit the Philippines earlier this week on its way to south China.
I've linked to the Boston Globe's "The Big Picture before...it consistently is one of the best sources for geographic images around the world. This particular photo essay focuses on water-related natural disasters, and seeing the damaging is a poignant moment to get students to reflect on the human and environmental interactions, how we build and where we build.