Geography Education
2.0M views | +146 today
Geography Education
Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Alluvial Fans

Alluvial Fans | Geography Education |

"When a mountain stream carries a lot of sediment (clay, silt, sand, gravel, cobbles, and boulders) and leaves the confines of the canyon, the sediment is deposited. Over time, this process creates a fan-shaped deposit. The sediment is deposited not because the gradient of the stream decreased, but because the power of the stream dissipates beyond the canyon mouth as the water is spread thin and infiitrates. Many cities are built on alluvium fans, often leading to hazards from flash floods and mudflows."

Seth Dixon's insight:

In mountainous, interior deserts, the largest settlements are usually not deep in the deserts or on top of the mountains but in that in between space.  Many settlements in Central Asia are built on these alluvial fans


Tags: environment, physical, geomorphology, erosiongeology, California, landforms.

othni lindor's curator insight, October 20, 2018 8:41 AM
This post explains when a mountain stream carries a lot of sediment and leaves a canyon, the sediment is deposited. "The sediment is deposited not because the gradient of the stream decreased, but because the power of the stream dissipates." Over time, it creates a fan-shaped deposit. This called an alluvial fan. Many cities are built on alluvium fans, which can cause flash floods and mud flows. Alluvial fans are found in deserts and humid regions.

Olivia Campanella's curator insight, October 29, 2018 3:29 PM
What is an Alluvial Fan? 

An Alluvial fan is a fan or cone shaped deposit of sediments ( clay silt, sand, gravel, cobbles or boulders) that cross and build up in streams and over time creates this fan shaped deposit. The sediment is not deposited because the slope of the stream decreased, but because the power and velocity of the stream became too thin. Many villages and towns build around Alluvial fans but there is always often floods and mudflows.
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 4:09 PM
The Alluvial Fans have a unique layout and supports the cities that have formed around it. Yes, there can be flash floods and mud-flows but the resources there keep the agriculture flourishing. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

India watches anxiously as Chinese influence grows

India watches anxiously as Chinese influence grows | Geography Education |
A $46bn economic corridor through disputed territories in Kashmir is causing most concern
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Indian government doesn't want to seem threatened by the fact that China is paying for better transportation infrastructure that is essentially in their backyard.  India's neighbors are excited for the potential economic growth that this can bring, but weary of China's added clout and power throughout Asia.  As Parag Khanna argues is his new book Connectography, infrastructure and economic linkages will become increasingly more important to geopolitics and global economics; within that lens, China is certainly making a power move here. 


Tags: regions, transportationeconomic.

Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, October 24, 2016 12:47 PM
Share your insight
brielle blais's curator insight, April 1, 2018 7:41 PM
Adding infrastructure to improve trade with other countries is a strong step taken by China. This new silk road showcases how important trade is to geopolitics. Other countries are watching as this unfolds, learning and wondering what will come of it, as China continues to make economic power moves for not only it's own country but the global economy as well. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Tibetans Fight to Salvage Fading Culture in China

Tibetans Fight to Salvage Fading Culture in China | Geography Education |

"When officials forced an informal school run by monks near here to stop offering language classes for laypeople, Tashi Wangchuk looked for a place where his two teenage nieces could continue studying Tibetan.  To his surprise, he could not find one, even though nearly everyone living in this market town on the Tibetan plateau here is Tibetan. Officials had also ordered other monasteries and a private school in the area not to teach the language to laypeople. And public schools had dropped true bilingual education in Chinese and Tibetan, teaching Tibetan only in a single class, like a foreign language, if they taught it at all."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video and article from the NY Times show how many Tibetans are upset by the cultural status of Tibetans within the People's Republic of China. 


TagsCentral Asia, culture, China, East Asia.

Jerry Li's curator insight, March 20, 2016 1:23 PM

 Yes, Tibatan will be very upset.

I think we should preserve every culture, not only chinese culture.

Tibetan is their mother tongue.  As every culture has its own special characteristic.

"And public schools had dropped true bilingual education in Chinese and Tibetan" this quote shows Tibetan cannot learn both language.

  The officials cannot forced them to learn chinese, and should give Tibetan a bilingual education just like Singapore.

This will result that Tibatan's children do not know their mother tongue and lost that culture gradually.

Although this can assimilate Tibetan to become Chinese in future but I think the offcials can give TIbetan some choices to choose.

othni lindor's curator insight, October 20, 2018 8:50 AM
This article talks about Tibetan culture fading in China. The language has been removed from schools and are only taught as a foreign language if they are even taught at all. China has reduced and restricted the teaching of languages spoken by other ethnic groups in many regions more recently. In 2012, officials created a new teaching curriculum that removed Tibetan as a language. Schools were forced to use Chinese as the main language.  
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, December 14, 2018 8:43 PM
The people of Tibet are watching their culture fade away and have no power to stop it. The Chinese officials that run the province have been restricting the teaching of the language and culture in Tibet and other western provinces of China. This is part of a massive plan to force the assimilation of the Tibetan and Uyger peoples to East China's Han Chinese norms. While some welcome the change thinking it will bring their children into the competitive economy, others have begun protesting the suppression. China has begun demonizing western forces and the Dalai Lama for tricking the protestors into defying the law and government.  As even monasteries are begin banned from teaching courses it will be a long battle for Tibetans who are fighting for their cultural freedom. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Chinese forces 'used flamethrowers' in Xinjiang operation

Chinese forces 'used flamethrowers' in Xinjiang operation | Geography Education |

"A Chinese military newspaper gives graphic details of a raid in Xinjiang province against suspected militants." 

Seth Dixon's insight:

This BBC article gives an update on China's crackdown on Uighur nationalism under the guise of cracking down of 'foreign terrorists.'  Earlier this year I wrote this article for the National Geographic Education Blog on this topic, the always simmering tensions in the China's westernmost province of Xinjiang.  

TagsCentral Asia, political, conflictgovernance, China, East Asia.

Matthew Richmond's curator insight, December 2, 2015 5:11 PM

As a student who someday wants to teach social studies at the high school level, this article brought to light one of the hardest concepts to teach. There are always two sides to every story. While the victors get to write history, the victims are often silenced over time. One man's violent rebellion is another man's treasonous operations. Honestly, the Chinese have done an excellent job of keeping this out of the western media. The only real struggle we ever hear about in China that of Tibet and Taiwan.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 5:37 PM

This is really disturbing to know that China is attacking their ethnic minority who is just protesting for what they believing in. To make things worst, the Chinese government controls the media and they basically can say whatever they want. For example, referring to these ethnic minority as foreign terrorist. That changes the perspective on how people view and perceive the situation happening in Xinjiang.

tyrone perry's curator insight, April 24, 2018 10:13 PM
The Chinese government is on an all out mission to eradicate terrorizism from the Uighur and anyone else for that matter.  Thou news reports are controlled by China its tough to get accurate reports.  But their use of force shows they are not playing.  Uighurs are suspected Turkish militant Muslims that have been forced out over the years.  China has said they have been terrorizing and attacking the people of Xinjiang. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Why China's ethnic minorities are being left out of the economic boom

Facing ethnic discrimination, China's Uighurs and Tibetans have fallen behind as the rest of the country surges ahead
Seth Dixon's insight:

This video from the Economist touches on many of the same cultural/political issues as I did in my recent article for the National Geographic Education Blog (except, obviously, this video provides a greater economic emphasis).  Ethnic tensions are always simmering tensions in the China's westernmost province and Tibet remains culturally resistant to the program set forth by the People's Republic of China.  

TagsCentral Asia, culture, economic, China, East Asia.

Jessica Ruddy's curator insight, June 3, 2015 7:15 PM

What does this mean for these minorities....will they be phased out of existence?  What cultural impact is there?

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 19, 2015 5:59 PM

"Can't we all just get along?" Ethnic discrimination exists in every industrialized society in every part of the globe, the result of poverty, ignorance, hatred, and various peoples now confined to national borders that do not suit their needs. Chinese discrimination against ethnic Tibetans has long been documented and observed within the West, meeting the condemnation of much of the Western world, so it was interesting to learn about the Uighurs and their plight in Chinese society- I was unaware that China had any significant Muslim populations. To learn that Chinese government officials attempted to evict and ethnic Uighur from her apartment simply for being of her ethnicity is appalling, and something that one can only hope will stop in the future. Is America in a position to judge others for how they treat their ethnic minorities? Not at all- just look at the demographics of our prison system and our families who fall below the poverty line, or our treatment of Native Americans only 100 years ago. Such racism has long been a facet of human civilization, and it is up to us to make it a thing of our past and not of our future. Can we all get along? I hope so.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 8:43 PM

this is kind of a weird situation. places like tibet have the opportunity to move to places in china with great economic opportunites, but since they are treated as different and since they have pride as tibetans and want to stay in their land, they end up staying and remaining a primarily farming country and being left out of the chinese economic boom.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Complex International Borders

More complex international borders in this follow up to part 1
In this video I look at even more enclaves and exclaves."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video (like part 1) shows some great examples of how the political organization of space and administration of borders can get complicated.  Here are the examples (and time in the video when they are covered in the video) on these complex borders:

Tags: borders, political, territoriality, sovereignty, video.

Danielle Lip's curator insight, April 8, 2015 2:13 AM

Borders seem to be a problem whether you live in one continent or another, everyone wants power and control but not everyone can gain it. This video focuses and goes into depth about enclave and exclave borders, showing the irregularity of the borders in different areas that causes conflicts and problems. An example of a problem that the citizens have to deal with is that some villages can not leave due to the road blocks due to the borders. I can not imagine not being able to leave a certain area for all that time, I would go insane and I imagine those people are as well. International borders power has to be split somehow and not everyone can always come to an easy decision because parts of the land are claimed but the people do not have any control of it. Irregular borders cause more trouble than they are worth in my opinion. The final interesting fact about this video was that you learn that Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are the two locations that have the most irregular border, these places must have the most conflict and problems. These borders are in places such as Germany, South Asia, China, Belgian, Sweden and Central Asia.

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 17, 2015 10:17 PM

A fascinating look into the complexity of borders. It is always important to keep in mind when looking at maps that the borders are neither permanent or defined as it exists in reality. Borders on world maps are rough estimations of what the borders actually are for they can't depict precise details on such a large scale. Furthermore regional/local maps sometimes do not whether as to conform to the border misconception unfortunately. In Central Asia as defined int he video the border were primarily a result of the Soviet Unions attempts to divided ethnic minorities reducing their power (primarily Stalin). As a result the countries after the collapse proceeded to claim the ethnic groups which created enclaves within each-other. As long as these groups are on peaceful terms this kind of thing isn't an issue. Unfortunately it does make the peoples lives in the enclaves slightly more difficult due to having to cross the border twice to see the rest of your country. This kind of thing was even done to the Jews in the first century AD who like the Russians wanted to eliminate or at least reduce attempts at revolution by the local populace. Hopefully Central Asia has or will make the lives of these enclaves easier.

David Stiger's curator insight, October 29, 2018 12:56 AM
I think it's fair to say that people in general take maps for granted. The devotion and reverence for the written word - specifically the published written word - prevents people from realizing that much of the world is a social construct. Geographically, borders are social constructs - sometimes loose agreements between different groups of people to establish territorial boundaries in order to claim resources. This video, which speaks to the complicated reality of territorial enclaves and 'exclaves,' illustrates how borders are social constructs. They can often be illogical, awkward, and highly disputable. Examining the several exclaves and enclaves shared between Armenia and Azerbaijan is evidence of the geopolitical mess that disputed borders create.  What is most fascinating about this case is the assessment of how Joseph Stalin tampered with international borders as a geopolitical strategy in order to sow instability and weakness. This strategy allowed the the Soviets to more easily conquer and subjugate foreign peoples - all in the name of proletariat revolution. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

-stan by your land

Central Asia is full of lands whose names end in -stan. A certain powerful North American country has a related name. How? It's not your standard explanation...
Seth Dixon's insight:

This video (with a similar style to CGP Grey's videos) charts the cultural and geographic impact of one of the most important toponyms, -stan.  It also alludes to the fascinating history behind the name of Pakistan.  

TagsCentral Asia, language, toponyms, historicalPakistan, culturediffusion.

Richard Aitchison's curator insight, February 25, 2018 10:37 PM
This video comes at your fast and might need to re play it a couple of times to get the full gist of it. However, how it explains why all of the Stan's are there in Central Asia makes a lot more sense now. We have to look at the linguistic orgins of the word stan and the video traces that then connects it the rest of the current world.  Stan is formed from the old Iranian root *sta- "to stand, stay," and means "place where one stays," i.e. homeland or country. Names such as Afghani-stan, Tajiki-stan, Hindu-stan are formed by adding this suffix. So by seeing that root of origin it makes sense that other countries have -land in it or states like we have here. It is always interesting how words and languages change over time and we lose track of the original meanings and we also take for granted it does not sound like something we know that it must be different or just wrong. 
Katie Kershaw's curator insight, March 14, 2018 6:44 PM
My original reaction to this video was that the names of almost all countries are completely unoriginal, very literal, and pretty boring.  We are all just saying “place” of whichever group occupies the country.  I liked the fact that this video pointed out that when Westerners think of the ending “stan” they associate it with foreignness and often it can be used in a racist way.  However, as the video points out, the word state, stead, and land come from the term -Stan.  This shows how languages evolved and spread from Central Asia and the Middle East, all the way to North America.  It also shows how names can cause conflict.  For instance, if you live in a Turkmenistan, but do not consider yourself to be Turmeni, it is almost like you live in a country that doesn’t accept or acknowledge your background.  At the same time, places like Kurdistan use the term to describe themselves as independent and the land of the Kurds, but this cannot be recognized because technically they are a part of Turkey.  Pakistan’s name is interesting because it is an acronym for all of the regions of the country and also means “pure land”.  This video shows how one basic word can impact language and physical geography all over the world.
James Piccolino's curator insight, March 24, 2018 1:56 PM
This is genuinely one of the most interesting things I have learned so far in this course. It answers questions I did not even know I was pondering. It is a little like looking at a board and suddenly being handed a pair of glasses, everything becomes so much clearer and makes so much more sense. It is an insight to a culture I rarely get to be exposed to, as it goes for many others.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

The Strategic Importance of the Caspian Sea

"Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Eugene Chausovsky examines the Caspian Sea's large energy reserves and its conflicting maritime boundaries."

Seth Dixon's insight:

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world's largest lake went from having just two countries on its shores to five. Dividing the maritime borders has been especially difficult since the Caspian Sea has rich energy reserves and this lake will remain a place of strategic interest for many regional powers.  This video has been added to my ESRI StoryMap that spatially organizes place-based videos for the geography classroom.    

Tags: borders, political, geopolitics, Central Asia, energy, resources, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russiaeconomic, water.

Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, March 31, 2018 7:37 PM
This video discusses the Caspian Sea and it’s importance to the countries that surround it. The body of water is significant because of it energy resources that are underneath and surrounding it. However many of these reserves remain untouched because of conflict with the surrounding countries even though discussions about how to disperse the land have been discussed for 20+ years
Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, October 29, 2018 2:18 AM
The Caspian Sea in landlocked with Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran. The Seas strategic importance lies with its large energy resources because it contains large volumes of oil and natural gas reserves. It is estimated that the Caspian contains 48 billions barrels of oil. Many of the oil reserves have not been tapped because there are disputes among the five countries surrounding the sea. They do not know where to mark the maritime borders and how to split up the energy resources. Negotiations to establish maritime borders have been under way for nearly two decades. They have not agreed on any proposals that accommodate all five states. I believe that there has not been an agreement because all five states probably want the most they can get and ae reluctant to give up anything less than what they believe they deserve.
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, November 1, 2018 11:53 PM
The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water that is surrounded by five different countries: Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan. Its importance can be linked to its natural resources. With an abundance of oil and possibly natural gas all countries have had disputes over their respective maritime borders. These disputes occur as many of the oil reserves are untapped and thus a great source of economic potential. No proposals have been accepted by all five states and with other interests such as Europe looking to trade it will likely take a while to be settled.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Where China and Kazakhstan Meet

Where China and Kazakhstan Meet | Geography Education |

"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 1.3 billion people, China farms just about any land that can be sustained for agriculture. 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 was used for agriculture, irrigating 629,000 square kilometers (243,000 square miles) of farmland, an area slightly smaller than the state of Texas.

The story is quite different in Kazakhstan. Here, large industrial-sized farms dominate, an artifact of Soviet-era agriculture. While agriculture is an important sector in the Kazakh economy, eastern Kazakhstan is a minor growing area. Only 0.03 percent of Kazakhstan’s land is devoted to permanent agriculture, with 20,660 square kilometers being irrigated. The land along the Chinese border is minimally used, though rectangular shapes show that farming does occur in the region. Much of the agriculture in this region is rain-fed, so the fields are tan much like the surrounding natural landscape."

Tags: remote sensing, land use, environment, geospatial, environment modify, food, agriculture, agricultural land change.

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, April 15, 2015 3:24 PM

It is amazing what irrigation can produce.  The border between China and Kazakhstan is a perfect picture of land with irrigation and one without supplied water.  Eastern Kasakhstan has farmland but it is only subsidized by natural rainfall whereas on the greener Chinese side of the border it is supplemented with water by the farmers.  Great picture!

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 5:00 PM

Seeing such a striking difference between two countries that are so close together is strange and thought-provoking. Knowing a little bit about the two countries can make a world of difference, though. In this case, we have China and Kazakhstan, two countries located in East/Central Asia. Kazakhstan borders China to the west, along the northern part of its western border. Much of China's inland land use is devoted to agriculture, as the majority of its industry is located near its coast. This is evident by the amount of green space seen in the satellite image above. With well over a billion people to feed, China needs to make use of as much of its arable land as possible. Kazakhstan, on the other hand is a much smaller country with much less land devoted to agriculture. Its farmland is mostly large and industrial, as a result of Soviet-era farming and is rain-fed rather than irrigated, like China's.


Knowing the history as well as the economic strengths of a country can therefore be useful in interpreting satellite images such as the one in this article. A lack of knowledge about China and Kazakhstan's economy and history may lead to an assumption that the Chinese are just better farmers than the Kazakhs. This is of course not necessarily true, but what is true is that China has a much larger and more immediate need for agriculture than does Kazakhstan and so devotes more of its land, time, and energy to farming. Likewise, it shouldn't be assumed that Kazakhstan has no need for agriculture at all. Instead, its history has largely influenced its economic strengths and needs, and the result is a country that looks very different from China. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 19, 2015 5:41 PM

It's crazy to see how much human influences can reshape the landscape, or how things we tend to think of in more abstract terms- like national boundaries- can be very physical in nature. I liked reading about the differing agricultural approaches the two nations take, and being able to see the physical manifestations of those two different approaches so obviously. It's impressive to think that China is able to support such a massive population- one in every 5 people alive on the planet is Chinese- with so little land, and the consequences are plain to see in the image above. Increased irrigation efforts leads to the unnaturally bright green patches in the middle of a relatively dry area, serving as a symbol of man's attempts to bind mother nature to his will. Although not always successful, such attempts appear to be working well here. In contrast, Kazakhstan's population demands vary wildly from that of China's, and its solution for feeding its people can therefore take a more natural, backroads approach, with food production concentrated in a few areas. I wonder what other international borders can be seen so neatly with the naked eye.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Crimea, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Gordian Knot

Crimea, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Gordian Knot | Geography Education |
Is this an opportune moment for Eurasian powers to tackle the festering Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Seth Dixon's insight:

Recently Crimea has has been a hot topic and in years past Chechyna was another much discussed topic.  Both of these ‘hot spots’ have some important geographic reasons as to why they are hot spots.  The collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent re-emergence of the Russian Federation have created geopolitical ripples that reverberate throughout the region.  Transnistria, Abkhazia and Novorussiya are places that few have ever heard about, but are now becoming critical locations for international relations because of they have an uncertain status that might shift soon.  One place to add to that list is Nagorno Karabakh, a region that is ethnically Armenian but nestled within Azerbaijan.  This article argues that now is an opportune moment to settle this issue that has been festering since the 90s, even if many feel that the international community is indifferent on the issue.    

Tags: political, sovereignty, territoriality, statesAzerbaijan, Armenia.

Stephen Zimmett's curator insight, May 19, 2014 5:26 PM

You can find this on

Jason Wilhelm's curator insight, May 27, 2014 5:44 PM

The Crimea region has been hotly debated and fought over for quite a while now. The collapse of the USSR created a power vacuum in Eastern Europe which led to the contest for power in many of the former Soviet Satellite countries, including Ukraine. The Crimean peninsula, while mostly occupied by Russians, is legally a part of Ukraine, but maybe not for long. The Russian government is seemingly working to annex the peninsula while the Ukrainian government is working to keep it. The region will continue to be under lots of tugging and pulling for a while until a single government wins in to their nation. 

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 4:36 PM

this is a perfect example of some of the conflicts which have resulted because of the failure of the soviet state. with many of these states trying to gain land that the view as theirs, these wars can only really end in bloodshed or massive investments in peace.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Countries Divided on Future of Ancient Buddhas

Countries Divided on Future of Ancient Buddhas | Geography Education |
Thirteen years after the Bamian Buddhas were blasted into rubble, opinion is split on whether to leave them as is, rebuild them, or make copies of them.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This video and article work together to show a 'behind-the-scenes' glimpse of this heritage site, or the remnants of the old memorial which is an iconic part of the cultural landscape in their own right but for very different reasons.  This is a great example of sequent occupance and some of the difficulties in preserving heritage.  Some argue that by restoring the Buddha it will undo some of the damage done by the Taliban and create a tourist destination; others think that the damaged Buddha is a poignant reminder of problems with 'topocide' and religious intolerance. 

Questions to Ponder: What do you think should become of this place?  How come?    

Tags: Afghanistan, politicalculture, Central Asialandscape, perspective.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 19, 2015 4:46 PM

Most people often forget that the Silk Road passed into Central Asia and the Middle East from East Asia.  This means that along the road, travelers often put things that reminded them of home.  The Buddha statues that once existed in Afghanistan are an example of this.  They were in fact labeled a world heritage site.  Sadly, the Buddhas had been ravaged throughout history by radical arabs.  This is because their religion frowns upon (actually forbids) idols, which they considered the statues to be.  Although they had been tempered with for many years, the Taliban finally decided to blow them up in 2001.  Now, there are differing opinions across various countries as to whether they should be rebuild or not.  Afghanistan believes that they should be rebuilt so the government can claim a symbolic victory over the Taliban.  Unesco wants a restoration done right, so for now it won't allow rebuilding to occur.  Germans tried to rebuild them, but Unesco blocked it from happening.  South Korea, Italy and Japan are all willing to donate money, but have no mention of the statues.  I believe that the statues should be rebuilt, as the article points out monuments were rebuilt in France after Protestants burnt down many old Gothic Cathedrals.  I also believe it is necessary because we cannot let the culture of hate that the Taliban believes in to win.  Average Muslims realize that the statues have historical significance and that they do not need to worship Buddha to respect that this site was 1,500 years old.  I also think it would send a strong message from the Afghan government if the statues were rebuilt because it would show they, like the article states, are not going to let the Taliban rule their country.


Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 8, 2015 2:42 AM

I find it interesting that other countries are divided.  Why are they deciding the future for this country?  They can't seem to get out of their ways to come up with a real solution.  Its unfortunate.  

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 4:40 PM

this is a reminder of what extremism can do to ancient works of art that they view as heretical. these ancient, massive statues were carved out of living rock by ancient Buddhists, and had withstood the test of time until Afghan terrorists blew them up.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Stalin’s Ethnic Deportations—and the Gerrymandered Ethnic Map

Stalin’s Ethnic Deportations—and the Gerrymandered Ethnic Map | Geography Education |

"An earlier GeoCurrents post on Chechnya mentioned that the Chechens were deported from their homeland in the North Caucasus to Central Asia in February 1944.  However, the Chechen nation was not the only one to suffer such a fate under Stalin’s regime."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a painful page in world history, but it needs retelling.  The Soviet era profoundly reshaped the cultural, political and economic geographies of the region.  


Tags: Russia, migration, Central Asiahistoricalwarethnicitypolitical, gerrymandering.

Alec Castagno's curator insight, December 12, 2014 6:43 PM

The Soviet Union forced vast amounts of people and ethnic groups out of their historical homelands to settle new areas during the early and mid 20th century. Many of those forced into resettlement died, and today some consider it a genocide or crime against humanity. As ethnic groups were moved out, ethnic Russians were moved in to take their places, and explains why many places outside of Russia (Ukraine) have populations that still maintain strong Russian identities. It also explains why places like Chechnya have such a long history of insurgency and extremism against Russian authority and power.

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, November 25, 2015 7:37 PM

This graph represents the areas where many of the Chechnes had been displaced to in the era of Stalins regime. Many of these people were displaced from their homes and forced to move. Many of them either had to leave family behind of they were forced to move together and had no initial home to live in.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 6:51 PM

i see this as history retelling itself. for some reason throughout history terrible men think that their race is better than another, this is not true and if a person wants to think this that is their prerogative, but some men think it to such an extent that they seek to eliminate the entire other people. nothing good can come of this and it turns into mass conflict every time. it destroys countries and breeds hate on all sides.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Aral Sea Basin

Aral Sea Basin | Geography Education |

"Dust blows from what was once the Aral Sea floor. Tragic mismanagement of a natural resource."

Seth Dixon's insight:

The collapse of the Aral Sea ecosystem is (arguably) the worst man-made environmental disaster of the 20th century and 21st century has seen the continuation of the desertification set in motion.  Soviet mismanagement, water-intensive cotton production and population growth have all contributed the overtaxing of water resources in the Aral Sea basin, which has resulted in a the shrinking of the Aral Sea--it has lost more of the sea to an expanding desert than the territories of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined.  The health problems arising from this issues are large for the entire Aral Sea basin, which encompasses 5 Central Asian countries and it has profoundly changed (for the worse) the local climates.  Compare the differences with some historical images of the Aral Sea on Google Earth or on ArcGIS Online (also see this article from GeoCurrents

Tags: environment, Central Asia, environment modify.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 1, 2014 1:36 AM

The Aral Sea Basin has been a topic of conversation throughout geography for many reasons. What used to be filled with water is now blowing dust because its that dry? This basin is no longer a natural resource.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 18, 2015 8:30 PM

Here is a question. Do you think perhaps in the future this could happen to lake Mead in Nevada/Arizona? With all the non-stop building and no rain perhaps one day could it run dry or do we have a way to stop it.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 2, 2015 12:17 AM

Once there is less water in a lake there is less water in the air therefore less rain. The long term consequences is that the fishing industry is destroyed where once upon a time there were 61000 workers and now there are under 2000. The water is more saltier. The lands are now ill suited and unbuildable. Also the people there are prone to health problems.

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Kazakhstan to switch from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet

Kazakhstan to switch from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet | Geography Education |

"Kazakh was written in Arabic script until 1920 when it was substituted by the Latin alphabet. In 1940, it was replaced by a Cyrillic one. 'Given that over 100 countries in the world use the Latin script, it is crucial for Kazakhstan's integration into the global educational and economic environment,' said Gulnar Karbozova.

The former Soviet Republic declared independence in 1991. Its state language is Kazakh, a member of the Turkic family.

Yet, Russian is widely spoken across Kazakhstan and is its second official language."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Having to translate your language into another is one level of cultural difference, but having to change into another writing system (transliteration) adds an extra layer of foreignness that makes interactions more difficult.  Kazakhstan, a with a history of connections to the Middle East and Russia, is now making a choice that appears to signal greater connection to the larger global community.  This is not going to be an easy transitions, as as this additional BBC article notes, the choice comes with plenty of advantages and disadvantages


Tags: languagecultureworldwide, regions, Central Asia, Kazakhstan.

Olivia Campanella's curator insight, October 29, 2018 3:39 PM
In this article it is explained how Kazakhstan is to switch from a Cyrillic alphabet to a Latin one. Kazakhstan President, Nursultan Narzarbeyeu signed a decree stating the switch of the country's alphabet from Cyrillic to Latin. Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan have already switched theirs. Kazakh was written in Arabic in the 1920's until it was switched to Latin. In the 1940's the Latin alphabet was replaced with a Cyrillic one. 
Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 31, 2018 3:29 AM
The culture of Kazakhstan has had so many different regions influencing it over the years it has affected and changed its language, writing, and culture overall. The originally wrote in san script (Arabic influence) then in Cryillic(in influence from Eastern Europeans south Eastern Europeans  Now to Latin (under western cultural influence). 
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, November 1, 2018 3:42 PM
Kazakhstan's President has signed a decree to switch the official alphabet from Cyrillic to Latin. They are just one of several ex-soviet nations who has switched to the Latin alphabet. It will be extremely hard to do and will take a lot of time, but it is not the first time Kazakh has been changed. Originally it was written in Arabic, switches to Latin in 1920 and in 1940 replaced by the Cyrillic one. Think about why they want to change to a Latin Alphabet. Are they attempting to move away from Russia's sphere of influence to become more involved with the west?
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Putin fills another U.S. leadership void in Nagorno-Karabakh

Putin fills another U.S. leadership void in Nagorno-Karabakh | Geography Education |
Russia exploits a conflict in Azerbijan’s breakaway region while Washington watches.


On April 1, an obscure conflict in Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh nearly devolved back into full-scale war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Transatlantic leaders called for an end to the violence and for redoubled efforts to settle the underlying political conflict but did little else. Russian President Vladimir Putin, by contrast, launched decisive actions to shore up Russia’s international reputation and pull Armenia and Azerbaijan away from the West.


TagsArmenia, political, war, borders, political, geopolitics, Central AsiaAzerbaijanRussia.

David G Tibbs's curator insight, March 1, 2018 2:43 PM
Russia is filling the power vacuum that the US has created since the fall of the Soviet Union. If America and the West are concerned about growing Russian involvement in the South Caucasus region then it should provide aid to the region. If Russia wants to create a Eurasia version of the Eu then they should be able too. It would add competition to markets and bring a balance to global powers. However, Russia should be using diplomatic means in order to achieve this Union has opposed to using military force. If the West is opposed to his means of creating this "union" then they should intervene to show they will not tolerate military aggression. 
Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 22, 2018 10:54 PM
This seems to be a problem reoccurring for both The US and Russia since the cold war. When a country attempts to jump into another countries conflict it tends to make things worse and bring about no positive change( examples being US in Vietnam and Russia in Afghanistan). At the same time when one country sits idly by the other nation is able to do some good gaining much influence over the country.  International reputation and determination are important international factors on the global political field, but this must be balanced with not interfering to much causing more enemies when the situation is avoidable. 
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 4:36 PM
To keep Western influence out of Azerbaijan's conflict the Russians made sure to step up and take their own actions. Since they don't want the US coming into their region they want to make sure there is no war that happens between Azerbaijan and Armenia. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Xinjiang Seethes Under Chinese Crackdown

Xinjiang Seethes Under Chinese Crackdown | Geography Education |

"The Chinese government has introduced unprecedented measures aimed at shaping the behavior and beliefs of China’s 10 million Uighurs."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This NY Times article is a good update on the situation of Xianjiang.  I wish this was available when I wrote this article (with links for more teaching resources) for the National Geographic Education Blog on the always simmering tensions in the China's westernmost province.  


TagsCentral Asia, culturepoliticalconflictgovernance,ChinaEast AsiareligionIslamlandscape.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

China Fences In Its Nomads, and an Ancient Life Withers

China Fences In Its Nomads, and an Ancient Life Withers | Geography Education |
The Chinese government is in the final stages of a 15-year-old effort to transform millions of pastoralists who once roamed China’s vast borderlands.

TagsCentral Asia, culturefolk culturesecology, China.

Seth Dixon's insight:

The Chinese government claims that this project is ecological in nature and that pastoralism will degrade the grasslands; however, this is stamping out cultural groups that have been resistant to assimilation. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 25, 2015 8:26 PM

Discrimination exists in every industrialized society in every part of the globe, the result of poverty, ignorance, and hatred. The US is guilty of it just as much as any other nation, evident by the continued existence of income gaps between whites and blacks in the US, as well as the policy of the US in its handling of our native populations. Chinese discrimination against ethnic Tibetans has long been documented and observed within the West, meeting the condemnation of much of the Western world, and such cultural discrimination has continued in other provinces within China. As the coast has exploded in wealth per capita, and the culture there becomes increasingly westernized, these other cultures and peoples are in danger of inevitably being wiped out. This is the result of Chinese policy, which has actively worked to suppress and kill of these resistant cultures, for the sake of national identity and unity. Is America in a position to judge others for how they treat their ethnic minorities? Not at all- just look at the demographics of our prison system and our families who fall below the poverty line. Such racism has long been a facet of human civilization, and it is up to us to make it a thing of our past and not of our future. For these cultures in China, I fear the worst will inevitably pass, and the world will sit passively by as they are lost forever. It saddens me, and I hope that I am proven wrong.

brielle blais's curator insight, April 1, 2018 8:10 PM
China is gaining control of a whole group of people who some have changed their nomadic way of life to that of a more current and modern lifestyle, but others feel forced and unable. China is not giving the pastoralists the help they need, but still want them to assimilate to the country's currently way of life. Geography is important because it is important to understand that these nomadic people are losing their land, or rights to roam their country's land.
David Stiger's curator insight, October 22, 2018 10:04 PM
The Chinese communist government is predicated on power and control. Its philosophy of governance runs counter to freedom, liberty, and openness. Once again, this dark reality has been evidenced by China's treatment of its nomadic-pastoral people. Citing bogus scientific research that herding and grazing is detrimental for the environment, Chinese authorities have forced minority indigenous groups (often descendants of the Mongols) to surrender their traditional ways of life and sedentary, modern people who participate in a monetary-based economy. A gaping problem with these dramatic changes is that these new relocation centers for settlement are highly inadequate. The former herders were coerced into settling down and discovered the promises of good jobs, optimistic modern living, and benefits like healthcare were lies. The ethnic Han majority, which dominates all aspects of Chinese life, may not feel obligated to provide adequate and sustainable resources for these ethnic minority groups. Cultural reasons aside, the drive behind the Communist Party's decision to relocate these nomads is geographic. 40 percent of China's territory is open grassland in central Asia. Its unfettered access is hindered by the occupation of roaming nomadic herders. For public relations reasons, China cannot simply eliminate these people, but China wants them gone in order to expand and develop out west. With no true love for these ethnic minorities, China has decided it has the resources and willpower to finally bring these people into the modern world and take their ancestral lands and their herds in exchange for a subpar home and small amount of money. It is a tragic game of deception and greed. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

One Place, Two Names

One Place, Two Names | Geography Education |
The government of the People’s Republic of China calls the country’s westernmost region Xinjiang, but the people who have lived there for centuries refer to their home as Eastern Turkistan. Many times when two groups do not refer to a place by the same name, it points to a cultural or political conflict, as is the case here.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Multiple names on the map can hint at bigger cultural and political fault lines.  Is it Londonderry or just Derry?  The Sea of Japan or the East Sea?  This article I wrote for the National Geographic Education Blog is on the always simmering tensions in the China's westernmost province.  

TagsCentral Asia, toponyms, culture, political, conflictgovernance, China, East Asia, religionIslam, landscape.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 8:45 PM

it seems that this a a recurring theme with china. disputed lands surround this country inside and out, they claim to own all of it as well. but when the people that live their claim to be independent and choose not to associate themselves with you than it creates and interesting dynamic.

James Piccolino's curator insight, March 24, 2018 1:52 PM
Very interesting. I am curious to know where this will lead to. There is something also unnerving about how most of us are never taught this in public schools even though it is a very big and very important topic. I can not image there being a split eventually over time, though there is no way that this area will stay as they are with the treatment of their government. This is surely a region to keep an eye on.
othni lindor's curator insight, October 20, 2018 9:06 AM
This article talks about how the "government of the People’s Republic of China calls the country’s westernmost region Xinjiang, but the people who have lived there for centuries refer to their home as Eastern Turkistan." Usually when two groups or more have different names for the same place there is a political or cultural conflict happening in that country. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

The ‘Quiet Chernobyl’: The Aral Sea

The ‘Quiet Chernobyl’: The Aral Sea | Geography Education |

"Prior to the 1960’s, the Aral Sea was the fourth largest lake and approximately the size of Ireland. Fed by both the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers carrying snowmelt from the mountains to the southeast, the Aral Sea moderated the climate and provided a robust fishing industry that straddled the present-day border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. For the map savvy, that Aral Sea would be almost unrecognizable—it has long appeared as two basins known as the North and the South Aral Sea since the rivers were diverted for crops, leading to the Aral Sea’s alarming shrinkage. Recent NASA satellite imagery shows the decline that the Aral Sea has undergone since 2000, leaving the South Aral Sea completely dried up in 2014. "

Tagspodcast, Maps 101, historicalenvironment, Central Asia, environment modify, Aral Sea.

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 3:49 PM

Both this podcast and its title are very interesting. Describing the Aral Sea crisis as a "Quiet Chernobyl" highlights the seriousness of what has happened to the Aral Sea over the previous decades. Though the Aral Sea was not the site of a catastrophic nuclear meltdown, what has happened there is just as harmful to the environment and the population in the surrounding area. The difference between what happened with the Aral Sea and what happened at Chernobyl, however, is that the Aral Sea crisis was avoidable. Chernobyl was an accident, the Aral Sea was not. The warnings of what was to come were clearly present at the Aral Sea, but they were ignored. 


This shows how the balance between man and nature is a precarious one that must be monitored closely and heeded constantly. As an oasis in one of the world's driest deserts, the Aral Sea had vast amounts of potential to help facilitate farming and generally help to make life in the area possible. People saw this potential and made use of it. This was not wrong in and of itself. What was wrong was that this potential was overused, with no regards for the long-term effects that it would have on the ecosystem, the climate, and the way of life in the region. The natural geography of a place is very important and can be used by human beings to achieve great things, but as soon as we stop caring about sustainability and future generations, those tools fail and disappear, causing long-term problems that can never be fixed. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 19, 2015 5:48 PM

The Aral Sea is just one example of an alarming trend happening worldwide, as ill-advised irrigation efforts continue to distort natural geographical formations, climate, and ecosystems. The loss of the Aral is damaging on so many fronts; the loss of an entire ecosystem within its waters, the damages done to the surrounding ecosystems as a result of climate changes and reduction in the food chain directly related to the Sea's disappearance, and the economic repercussions for the people who live in the region. Once a bustling maritime community of trade, the region now lies dormant, the economic realities for the people who once relied on the Sea's waters as dire as the land is dry. Ship hulls line the ground like animal carcasses, the remains of centuries of human life- a stark reminder that man often takes his power too far, too fast. With other large bodies of water facing the same fate in other regions, it is best hoped that the Aral and its ghost crews that now dominate the landscape serve as a reminder to human civilization that, for all our advances, we cannot play "God" and face no consequences. 

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Most Tibetans Genetically Adapted To The High Life

Most Tibetans Genetically Adapted To The High Life | Geography Education |
Ninety percent of Tibetans share a genetic mutation that prevents their blood from becoming dangerously clogged with red blood cells at high altitudes—a response that can be deadly for non-native mountaineers. Karen Hopkin reports.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Genetic adaptations to a specific environment show how people are can be culturally and environmentally tied to a given land.  While most geographers are nervous to mention examples such as these for fear of being labeled too 'environmentally deterministic,' it does not hurt to show how that it is possible.  The fear of having your ideas be labeled and environmental determinism shouldn't stop us from exploring the human/environmental interface. 

Tags: environment, environment adapt, East Asia.

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, April 15, 2015 2:45 PM

This is extremely interesting.  When I think of the mutated gene that most Tibetans have I think of evolution happening right in front of our eyes.  Most lowland humans would not be able to survive at the Tibetan level of living, which goes to show you that over time the people who live in this area were naturally selected due to the special genes of their ancestors who survived while others without the gene died off.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 6:01 PM

The Tibetans are very amazing in the ways to adapting to high altitudes. Being 15,000 ft in elevation with 40% less oxygen than at sea level is very impressive. Many people like myself would find it difficult breathing in this conditions , but the Tibetans developed a mutation that lead them to not having their red blood cells clogged at this elevation. A perfect example of human adapting to their surrounding environment.

David Stiger's curator insight, October 23, 2018 4:28 PM
Humans often shape their environments, but, like all other animal species, the environment can fundamentally shape human beings at the molecular level. In order to not just merely survive, but to thrive, humans adapt to challenging environmental conditions. In Tibet, inhabitants live 15,000 feet above sea level. For non-natives, this sort of altitude could cause lethal blood clots. To overcome this challenge, the genes of average Tibetans have adapted overtime. Some 90 percent of the entire population possess a unique mutated gene that allows them to breathe without trouble and avoid red blood cell blockages. This trait goes back nearly 8,000 years, making Tibetans a very distinct population - akin to red haired men and women in Ireland. Not wanting to promote pseudo-science like eugenics, it is important to note that these people are not more or less human. But, because of their environment, they have surface level (physical and secondary) traits that help them cope with nature. Understanding this should impact the Han Chinese views of Tibet. At the molecular level, the Tibetans are a distinct and independent people who deserve the right to self-determination. Of course, China will never yield the resource-rich territory. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Where Has All the Water Gone?

Where Has All the Water Gone? | Geography Education |

"Once the fourth-largest lake in the world, Central Asia's shrinking Aral Sea has reached a new low, thanks to decades-old water diversions and a more recent drought." 

Seth Dixon's insight:

I have posted many times in the past about the Aral Sea, but this recent event has been the most dramatic update in years.  The Eastern portion of the lake has been receding for decades, but it is now officially gone.  This fantastic set of satellite images of the region painfully chronicles the decline of the Aral Sea as irrigation in the region diverted all the sources of the lake.   

Tags: environment, Central Asia, environment modify.

Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, March 31, 2018 7:28 PM
This article briefly discusses the disappearing Aral Sea. Once being the fourth largest lake, evaporation and water diversions have caused it to shrink significantly. Because the sea has always been salty, the disappearing water has caused the salt content to rise and has made the water practically unusable.
brielle blais's curator insight, April 1, 2018 8:28 PM
This post showcases physical geography. The Aral Sea is dissipating, and it is leaving behind tons and tons of salt. This salt is affecting the local agriculture, such as in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, where the crops that are irrigated are suffering from the high salt levels. 
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, November 2, 2018 12:02 AM
Once one of the largest lakes in the world, the Aral Sea in Central Asia has been progressively shrinking due to recent droughts and water diversions happening over decades. With the whole eastern section of the lake gone, all that's left is the salt and heavy minerals that will eventually make its way into the air causing different problems for people in the surrounding area. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Welcome to Baku, the Fiercely Modern, Millennia-Old, Capitalist-Socialist, Filthy-Rich Capital of Azerbaijan

Welcome to Baku, the Fiercely Modern, Millennia-Old, Capitalist-Socialist, Filthy-Rich Capital of Azerbaijan | Geography Education |

"Since 2006, when the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline prompted a surge in crude oil exports -- up to a million barrels a day travel through neighboring Georgia and on to Turkey and the West -- there’s been no shortage of cash in Baku. Now, the city is eager for the prestige that goes with it."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Baku is described in this article as an East-West, socialist-capitalist, Muslim-secular, ancient-modern mishmash due to the numerous cultural and political interactions that it has had.  This makes for a fascinating cultural landscape emerging in a city that has been dubbed "the Dubai of the Caucasus" but still has a rich Silk Road history.  Caspian Sea oil lies at the heart of Azerbaijan's geopolitical importance and cultural aspirations. 

Tags: Azerbaijan, political, Central Asia.

Maria la del Varrio's curator insight, December 15, 2014 10:21 PM

I'm not on the oil or gas business, or a follower of the Eurovision Song Contest, so it's unlikely that Baku is top in my mind. The pictures of the building looks classic. The Russian taxi looks like if was built in 1940, but it was recently. Russia because the embargo, along side cuba, has the oldest looks cars.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 19, 2015 5:20 PM

Baku is a very interesting city, because of how much of a mish-mash the city is.  What always interests me as an American, is the fact that how varied the old world can be.  In the article it shows the modern, opulent Four Seasons hotel, behind an old government building that looks like it belongs in 18th Century Europe.  It is also crazy how the Maiden Tower from the 6th Century sits right across from Designer Clothes retailers.  Once again, as an American this is very hard for me to visulize, our oldest buildings still standing in cities date back to the 1800s, maybe 1700s, if you are in a city like Newport, RI.  The fact that an ancient tower still stands in a modern city is absolutely fascinating.  Also described in the article is a Bentley dealership (a British Luxury car).  This shows that the city is growing in wealth and changing.  The country of Azerbaijan is certainly on the path (as mentioned in my scoop about Azerbaijan wanting to be famous) to become a world destination.  I think it will be interesting to keep following what is going on in this region, as the country continues to transition.   

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 8, 2015 2:40 PM

People will come if there is something exciting to see.  Also if they feel there is relatively little danger.  I'd say they need to keep on developing and make it glitter.  Once the wealthy are attracted and the celebrities then maybe more tourism might happen.  

Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Alluvial Fans

Alluvial Fans | Geography Education |
When streams emerge from mountains, they often spread out and deposit sediment in a distinctive pattern known as an alluvial fan.
Seth Dixon's insight:

In dry areas of interior drainage (such as Central Asia and the Great Basin in the U.S.), the human settlements are often clustered along the foothills of the mountains near landforms called alluvial fans.  Take time to analyze this image (and this one as well); in alluvial fans and the agricultural patterns that people create on them, we can see some striking geometric and spatial configurations that show how human settlements are highly dependent of the physical environment.   

Tags: spatial, remote sensing, geospatial, Kazakhstan, Central Asialandscape.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 14, 2015 4:29 PM

these are the fascinating geographic anomalies. its amazing the civilizations that rise up on earth, but are totally alien to us, even in the age of instant communication.

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 17, 2015 5:02 PM

An interesting little piece of Kazakhstan geography here. I find it fascinating that not only are these unique to deserts due to low vegetation but that they become perfect for agriculture (an irony of sorts I suppose). I also rather enjoy how the agricultural areas are spread out like a fan like the water runoff from the mountain. One key feature I didn't notice until I read it was the railroad that goes right through the fields to reach the town on the outskirts of the Alluvial fan. I am particularly curious to how many areas actually use this to make the desert a hospitable place for habitation (since it is usually a bad idea due to lack of water and food). It would also have been more interesting if the culture of the people who inhabit these places was discussed since it would likely be different in other places since they are only relying on 1 main water source. Geographically and historically I can imagine that places like this would have also been key strategic locations especially when traversing the arid areas.

brielle blais's curator insight, April 1, 2018 8:41 PM
Alluvial fans are an example of the type of physical geographies that can occurs in places with mountains and desserts. They also help with agriculture as they typically end up being flat lands and there is plenty of groundwater for irrigation. This in turn also helps the economy of the areas who use alluvial fans to their advantage. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Drying of the Aral Sea

Explore a global timelapse of our planet, constructed from Landsat satellite imagery. With water diverted to irrigation, the inland Aral Sea has shrunk drama...
Seth Dixon's insight:

The collapse of the Aral Sea ecosystem is (arguably) the worst man-made environmental disaster of the 20th century and 21st century has seen the desertification continue.  Soviet mismanagement, water-intensive cotton production and population growth have all contributed the overtaxing of water resources in the Aral Sea basin, which has resulted in the shrinking of the Aral Sea--it has lost more of the sea to an expanding desert than the territories of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined.  The health problems arising from this issues are large for the entire Aral Sea basin, which encompasses 5 Central Asian countries and it has profoundly changed (for the worse) the local climates.  Compare the differences with some historical images of the Aral Sea on Google Earth or on ArcGIS Online (also see this article from GeoCurrents).  

Tags: environment, Central Asia, environment modify.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, October 20, 2014 1:19 AM

The drying of the Aral Sea opens our eyes to how fragile our environment is and the scarcity of resources.  We need to become more aware of our resources, because as they saying goes, the "well will run dry."

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 6:14 PM

The massive changes to the Aral Sea can clearly be seen through the course of a decade. It's so unbelievable that from 2000 on ward it shrunk significantly and the video also showed the development of agricultural land that surrounds the rivers feeding into the Sea. The more water being irrigated and are not putting into the Sea the more it dries up because the water is evaporated with little to no rain going back to it. This is definitely one of the worst man-made disaster that have happened to this region.

Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 4:44 PM
Aral Sea is getting more and more dried up and not many people seemed to be caring about this issue. What was once a vast and huge sea is now just a drying up lake that will soon be gone forever. People need to wake up and start thinking of ways to fix this issue. 
Scooped by Seth Dixon!

Choices Program--Scholars Online

Choices Program--Scholars Online | Geography Education |

Scholars Online Videos feature top scholars answering a specific question in his or her field of expertise. These brief and informative videos are designed to supplement the Choices Program curricula.

Seth Dixon's insight:

In this Scholar's Online video, Jennifer Fluri briefly answers this question: How has Afghanistan's geography affected its history?  This video nicely shows how contested international disputes have geographic dimensions to them.  The very borders of Afghanistan were created out of geopolitical maneuverings.

Tags: Afghanistanborders, politicalculture, Central Asia, historical, colonialism. 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 20, 2015 12:15 PM

Afghanistan's current borders are the result of political maneuvering between empires. Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor is a result of this political maneuvering. The corridor was created in order to prevent the Russian Empire and British India from sharing a common border. While many afghans may decry the notion, Afghanistan has been shaped by foreign influence. The same can be said for almost every other nation on the globe. Almost all borders are determined by some from of political maneuvering. Our borders with Mexico and Canada have been determined through treaties and wars.

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 21, 2015 5:24 PM

As I have learned more about the world, it's been interesting to see how arbitrary national borders can sometimes be. I think we are taught in school to associate "nations" with "nationalism," and although that is generally the case for most industrialized nations (whose citizens generally feel they are "nationals" within their own borders), it is not always true for the rest of the world. We see this in the numerous ethnic disputes in African nations, in the violent Yugoslav wars in Europe, and today with the Kurd uprising in Syria and Iraq- we see ill-defined borders that do not meet the needs of their peoples, nations that do not encompass the same sentiments of nationalism. As a result, we see indifference between these various peoples at best, or open conflict between varying ethnic and ideological groups at worst. Afghanistan as we know it today is not the result of self-determination or a sense of nationalism, but geopolitical jockeying between Russia and the United Kingdom. It is not a nation, but a political buffer.

As a result, Afghanistan does not act as a single nation- it may have a central government, but that government is incredibly weak, and people in remote areas often do not even know of its existence. Afghanistan is a series of small city-states and even more isolated settlements clumped together behind arbitrarily drawn lines, living their lives in much the same manner their ancestors did 1,000 years ago. This has made the mountainous, isolated regions of the nation a haven for terrorists and religious extremism, posing a serious issue in the region that, despite billions of dollars and a decade of fighting, the US has been unable to find a solution for. Divided amongst itself, Afghanistan is a nation in name only, something that the West likes to place on the map because of a dispute between two global powers nearly 2 centuries ago.


Katie Kershaw's curator insight, March 15, 2018 7:28 PM
People often wonder why Afghanistan is so conflict ridden and point fingers at one thing or another.  This video sheds some light on why Afghanistan actually is what it is today.  The country did not get to chose its own borders and so cultural groups were thrown together that may not necessarily like to be associated.  The modern borders were set up as a buffer zone between the Soviet Union and the British Empire in India and Pakistan, which is why there is one small land strip known as the Wahkan Corridor sticking off of Afghanistan.  The border between modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan was set up in the late 1800s in order to stop British troops from invading Afghan territory and prevent the Afghans from assisting Pakistani rebels. This explains why the present borders of Afghanistan exist, but the establishment of these borders doesn’t seem to be very fair to Afghanistan, who were basically forced by imperial powers to comply.  Another imperial power that changed Afghanistan was the Persian Empire, hundreds of years ago.  The Persian influence is more cultural.  Afghanistan’s New Year was adopted from the Persian New Year so they’re celebrated on the same day.  Additionally one of the recognized languages in Afghanistan is a dialect of Farsi, which the Persian language.  All of this predates any of the influences of Islam, which shows what a hodgepodge of cultures Afghanistan has become.  This video briefly touches upon American involvement in the region during the Cold War, which escalated tensions even farther and left behind both Soviet and American influences.  The geographical changes that have occurred in the region for centuries has shaped Afghanistan’s history.