This unit provides an introduction to the landforms, vegetation and climate characteristics of the surface of the Earth as a foundation for more advanced study in Geography. It explains present patterns and the processes responsible for the evolution of landforms (geomorphology), soil, biota and climate through an understanding of past environments and events. Environmental change, and the inseparable nature of human-environmental relationships, is highlighted using cutting-edge research and the study of current and future environmental management issues that are central to Physical Geography.
Topics will include:
Planet Earth, the Solar System, sun and the seasons
Plate tectonics, geological processes, rocks and minerals
Earthquakes and volcanism
The four spheres: lithosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere
Earth’s atmosphere, weather and climate
River systems and landforms
Weathering, mass movement, soils and slopes
Earth’s oceans, coastal processes and landforms
Human-environmental interactions, including Indigenous land use and environmental knowledge
Fieldwork is an exciting and integral aspect of this unit, and students will learn first-hand about the processes responsible for shaping the physical environment. Students’ knowledge and skills in coastal geomorphology will be developed within the context of the need for sustainable management and use of the coastal zone.
Site visits include:
Field trips to river and beach locations near Brisbane. These trips will feature a mixture of in-field lecturing, hands-on practical work and site visits.
Bridgeman, H, Dragovich, D and Dodson, J. 2008. The Australian Physical Environment. Oxford University Press, South Melbourne. Christopherson, R.W. 2015. Geosystems: An Introduction to Physical Geography (Pearson New International Edition) (9th edition). Pearson, Upper Saddle River. Goudie, A.S. 2013. The Human Impact on the Natural Environment. John Wiley & Sons. Hay, I. 2012. Communicating in Geography and the Environmental Sciences (4th edition). Oxford University Press, South Melbourne. Hess, D. 2011. McKnight's Physical Geography: a Landscape Appreciation (10th edition). Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River. Mayhew, S. 2015. A Dictionary of Geography (5th edition). Oxford, London.