Physical geography: fundamentals of the physical environment

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  1. 1. Physical geography: fundamentals of the physical environment V. Ettwein and M. Maslin GY1147, 2790147 2011 Undergraduate study in Economics, Management, Finance and the Social Sciences This is an extract from a subject guide for an undergraduate course offered as part of the University of London International Programmes in Economics, Management, Finance and the Social Sciences. Materials for these programmes are developed by academics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). For more information, see: www.londoninternational.ac.uk
  2. 2. This guide was prepared for the University of London International Programmes by: Dr Virginia Ettwein, Environmental Change Research Centre, Department of Geography, University College London. Dr Mark Maslin, Environmental Change Research Centre, Department of Geography, University College London. This is one of a series of subject guides published by the University.We regret that due to pressure of work the authors are unable to enter into any correspondence relating to, or aris- ing from, the guide. If you have any comments on this subject guide, favourable or unfavour- able, please use the form at the back of this guide. University of London International Programmes Publications Office Stewart House 32 Russell Square London WC1B 5DN United Kingdom Website: www.londoninternational.ac.uk Published by: University of London University of London 2006 Reprinted with minor revisions 2011 The University of London asserts copyright over all material in this subject guide except where otherwise indicated.All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher. We make every effort to contact copyright holders. If you think we have inadvertently used your copyright material, please let us know.
  3. 3. Contents i Contents Introduction............................................................................................................ 1 Aims and objectives....................................................................................................... 1 Learning outcomes........................................................................................................ 1 Syllabus......................................................................................................................... 2 How to use this subject guide........................................................................................ 2 Reading ........................................................................................................................ 2 Essential reading ........................................................................................................... 3 Further reading.............................................................................................................. 3 Online study resources................................................................................................... 4 Examination advice........................................................................................................ 6 Chapter 1: The structure of the Earth..................................................................... 7 Essential reading ........................................................................................................... 7 Further reading.............................................................................................................. 7 Internet resources.......................................................................................................... 7 Learning outcomes........................................................................................................ 8 Introduction ..................................................................................................................8 Structure of the Earth .................................................................................................... 8 Plate tectonics............................................................................................................. 10 Earthquakes ................................................................................................................ 15 Tsunamis..................................................................................................................... 19 Vulcanicity...................................................................................................................20 Extrusive landforms: volcanoes..................................................................................... 22 Rock types................................................................................................................... 26 Reminder of learning outcomes.................................................................................... 28 Sample examination questions..................................................................................... 28 Chapter 2: The atmosphere .................................................................................. 31 Essential reading ......................................................................................................... 31 Further reading............................................................................................................ 31 Internet resources........................................................................................................ 31 Learning outcomes...................................................................................................... 32 Introduction ................................................................................................................ 32 Atmospheric composition ............................................................................................ 32 Greenhouse gases....................................................................................................... 33 Mass of the atmosphere .............................................................................................. 34 Atmospheric energy..................................................................................................... 35 Vertical structure ......................................................................................................... 37 Atmospheric motion .................................................................................................... 38 Weather...................................................................................................................... 41 Storms ........................................................................................................................43 Conclusion .................................................................................................................. 46 Reminder of learning outcomes.................................................................................... 46 Sample examination questions..................................................................................... 47
  4. 4. 147 Physical geography: fundamentals of the physical environment ii Chapter 3: Climate and tectonics ......................................................................... 49 Essential reading ......................................................................................................... 49 Further reading............................................................................................................ 49 Learning outcomes...................................................................................................... 49 Introduction ................................................................................................................ 49 Direct effects............................................................................................................... 49 Indirect effects............................................................................................................. 57 Global climate and evolution ....................................................................................... 57 Conclusion .................................................................................................................. 58 Reminder of learning outcomes.................................................................................... 59 Sample examination questions..................................................................................... 59 Chapter 4: Hydrosphere........................................................................................ 61 Essential reading ......................................................................................................... 61 Further reading............................................................................................................ 61 Internet resources........................................................................................................ 61 Learning outcomes...................................................................................................... 61 Introduction ................................................................................................................ 62 The hydrological cycle.................................................................................................. 62 River form ................................................................................................................... 65 Fluvial erosion............................................................................................................. 69 Fluvial transport .......................................................................................................... 70 Fluvial geomorphology of erosional environments ........................................................ 72 Fluvial deposition ................................

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