Physico-geographical science. Examples of physical geography

Many are used to think that geography is concernedthe solution of only one question: "How to get from point A to point B?" Actually, in the sphere of interests of this science - a whole complex of serious and pressing problems. Modern geography has a rather complex structure, which involves dividing it into many different disciplines. One of them is physical and geographical science. It will be discussed in this article.

Geography as a science

Geography is a science that studies spatialfeatures of organization of the geographic shell of the Earth. The word itself has ancient Greek roots: "geo" - earth and "grapho" - I write. That is, literally the term "geography" can be translated as "land description".

geography is a science that studies

The first geologists were the ancient Greeks: Strabo, Claudius Ptolemy (who published an eight-volume work entitled Geography), Herodotus, Eratosthenes. The latter, by the way, was the first to measure the parameters of the globe, and did it quite accurately.

The main shell of the planet is the lithosphere,atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere. Geography focuses its attention on them. It explores the features of the interaction of the components of the geographical envelope at all these levels, as well as the patterns of their territorial location.

Main geographical sciences and directions of geography

Geographic science is divided into two main sections. It:

  1. Physical and geographical science.
  2. Socio-economic geography.

The first studies natural objects (seas, mountainsystems, lakes, etc.), and the second - the phenomena and processes that occur in society. Each of them has its own research methods, which can differ drastically. And if the disciplines from the first section of geography are closer to the natural sciences (physics, chemistry, etc.), the latter to the humanities (such as sociology, economics, history, psychology).

In this article, we will pay attention to the first section of geographic science, listing all the main areas of geography is physical.

Physical geography and its structure

It will take a lot of time forlist all the problems that are of interest to physical geographers. Accordingly, the number of scientific disciplines amounts to more than one dozen. The peculiarities of soil distribution, the dynamics of closed water bodies, the formation of vegetation cover of natural areas are all examples of physical geography, or rather, those problems that interest it.

Physical geography can be structured bytwo principles: territorial and component. According to the first, the physical geography of the world, continents, oceans, individual countries or regions is distinguished. According to the second principle, a whole spectrum of sciences is singled out, each of which studies the concrete shell of the planet (or its individual components). So, physical and geographical science includes a large number of narrow branch disciplines. Among them:

  • sciences, studying the lithosphere (geomorphology, geography of soils with the fundamentals of soil science);
  • sciences that study the atmosphere (meteorology, climatology);
  • sciences that study hydrosphere (oceanology, limnology, glaciology and others);
  • sciences that study the biosphere (biogeography).

In turn, the general physical geography generalizes the results of the research of all these sciences and deduces the global laws governing the functioning of the geographic envelope of the Earth.

The sciences that study the lithosphere

The lithosphere and the relief of the Earth are one of the most importantobjects of physical geography research. They are studied, mainly, by two scientific geographic disciplines: geology and geomorphology.

The solid shell of our planet, which includes the terrestrialthe crust and the upper part of the mantle, is the lithosphere. Geography is interested in both the internal processes that occur in it, and their external manifestations, expressed in the relief of the earth's surface.

lithosphere and relief of the Earth

Geomorphology is a science that studies relief: its origin, the principles of formation, the dynamics of development, as well as the patterns of geographical distribution. What processes shape the external appearance of our planet? This is the main question that geomorphology is called upon to answer.

Level, roulette, goniometer - these tools werethe main in the work of geomorphologists once. Today they are increasingly using methods such as computer and mathematical modeling. The closest links in geomorphology are with such sciences as geology, geodesy, soil science and town planning.

The results of research in this science haveof great practical importance. After all, geomorphologists not only study the forms of relief, but also evaluate it for the needs of builders, predict negative phenomena (landslides, landslides, mudflows, etc.), monitor the state of the coastline and so on.

The central object of the study of geomorphologyis a relief. This is the complex of all the irregularities of the earth's surface (or the surface of other planets and celestial bodies). Depending on the scale, the relief is usually divided into: a mega-relief (or planetary), a macrorelief, a mesorelief, and a microrelief. The main elements of any form of relief are the slope, the top, the thalweg, the watershed, the bottom and others.

The relief of the earth's surface is formed underthe influence of two processes: endogenous (or internal) and exogenous (external). The first are born in the thickness of the earth's crust and mantle: these are tectonic movements, magmatism, volcanism. Exogenous processes include two dialectically related processes: denudation (destruction) and accumulation (accumulation of solid material).

Among the exogenous processes in geomorphology, the following are distinguished:

  • slope processes (relief forms - landslides, screes, abrasive banks, etc.);
  • karst (funnels, carrions, underground caves);
  • suffosion ("steppe saucers", pods);
  • fluvial (deltas, river valleys, beams, ravines, etc.);
  • Glacial (oz, kama, moraine humps);
  • eolian (dunes and barkhans);
  • biogenic (atolls and coral reefs);
  • Anthropogenic (mines, quarries, embankments, dumps, etc.).

Sciences that study the soil cover

In universities there is a special course: "Geography of soils with the fundamentals of soil science." It includes the related knowledge of three scientific disciplines: actually, geography, physics and chemistry.

Soil (or soil) is the upper layer of the earth's crust, which is fertile. It consists of the parent rock, water, as well as rotted residues of living organisms.

geography of soils with the fundamentals of soil science

Geography of soils is engaged in the study of commonregularities of zonal distribution of soils, as well as the development of principles of soil-geographical zoning. Science is divided into general geography of soils and regional. The latter studies and describes the soil cover of specific regions, and also compiles the corresponding soil maps.

The main methods of research of this science -comparative geographic and cartographic. Recently, the method of computer modeling (as well as in general - in geography) is increasingly being used.

This scientific discipline arose in the XIX centurycentury. Her father-founder is considered to be an outstanding scientist and researcher - Vasily Dokuchaev. He devoted his life to the study of the soils of the southern part of the Russian Empire. Based on his numerous studies, he identified the main factors of soil formation, as well as patterns of zonal distribution of soils. He also owns the idea of ​​using field shelter belts to protect the fertile layer of soils from erosion.

The training course "Geography of Soils" is taught inuniversities, geographic and biological faculties. The very first department of pedology in Russia was opened in 1926 in Leningrad, and the first textbook on the same discipline was published in 1960.

Sciences that study the hydrosphere

The hydrosphere of the Earth is one of its shells. Its complex study deals with the science of hydrology, in the structure of which a number of narrower disciplines are singled out.

Hydrology (literal translation from Greek:"the doctrine of water") is a science that studies all the water objects of the planet Earth: rivers, lakes, marshes, oceans, glaciers, groundwaters, and artificial ponds. In addition, the sphere of her scientific interests includes the processes that are characteristic of this shell (such as freezing, evaporation, melting, etc.).

physico-geographical science

In its studies, hydrology actively uses methods, both geographic science, and methods of physics, chemistry, mathematics. The main tasks of this science include the following:

  • the study of the processes of the water cycle in nature;
  • Assessment of the impact of human activities on the status and regime of water bodies;
  • description of the hydrological grid of individual regions;
  • development of methods and methods for the rational use of the Earth's water resources.

The hydrosphere of the Earth consists of the waters of the World Ocean (about 97%) and the waters of the land. Accordingly, two large sections of this science stand out: oceanology and hydrology of land.

Oceanology (the theory of the ocean) is a science, an objectthe study of which is the Ocean and its structural elements (seas, gulfs, currents, etc.). Much attention is given to this science on the interaction of the Ocean with the continents, the atmosphere, the animal world. In fact, oceanology is a complex of various small disciplines that are engaged in a detailed study of the chemical, physical and biological processes taking place in the World Ocean.

For today it is customary to allocate on oura beautiful planet of 5 oceans (true, some researchers believe that there are still four of them). This is the Pacific Ocean (the largest), the Indian (warmest), the Atlantic (the most troubled), the Arctic (the coldest) and the South (the "youngest").

Hydrology of land is a large section of hydrology that studies all the surface waters of the Earth. In its structure it is customary to allocate several more scientific disciplines:

  • Potamology (subject of study: hydrological processes in rivers, and also features of formation of river systems);
  • limnology (studying the water regime of lakes and reservoirs);
  • glaciology (object of study: glaciers, as well as other ice in the hydro, litho- and atmosphere);
  • Marsh studies (studies marshes and features of their hydrological regime).

In hydrology, a key place belongs to stationary and expeditionary research. The data obtained as a result of these methods are later processed in special laboratories.

In addition to all these sciences, the Earth's hydrosphere alsostudies hydrogeology (the science of underground waters), hydrometry (the science of methods of hydrological research), hydrobiology (the science of life in the aquatic environment), engineering hydrology (studies the influence of hydraulic structures on the regime of water bodies).

The sciences that study the atmosphere

The study of the atmosphere is carried out by two disciplines: climatology and meteorology.

examples of physical geography

Meteorology is a science that studies everythingprocesses and phenomena occurring in the earth's atmosphere. In many countries of the world it is also called atmospheric physics, which, on the whole, is more in line with the subject of its study.

Meteorology is primarily interested inprocesses and phenomena like cyclones and anticyclones, winds, atmospheric fronts, clouds, and so on. The structure, chemical composition and general circulation of the atmosphere are also important subjects for the study of this science.

The study of the atmosphere is extremely important for navigation, agriculture and aviation. We use the products of meteorologists almost daily (we are talking about weather forecasts).

Climatology is one of the disciplines that are part of thestructure of general meteorology. The object of research of this science is the climate - long-term weather regime, which is typical for a certain (relatively large) section of the globe. Alexander von Humboldt, Francis Galton and Edmond Halley made their first contribution to the development of climatology. They can be considered as the "fathers" of this scientific discipline.

The main method of scientific research inclimatology is an observation. Moreover, in order to make a climatological description of any territory in the temperate zone, it is necessary to conduct appropriate observations for about 30-50 years. The main climatic characteristics of the region include the following:

  • Atmosphere pressure;
  • air temperature;
  • air humidity;
  • cloud cover;
  • force and direction of the wind;
  • cloud cover;
  • number and intensity of precipitation;
  • the duration of the frost-free period, and so on.

Many modern researchers argue thatGlobal climate change (in particular, we are talking about global warming) do not depend on human economic activity and are cyclical. So, cold and wet seasons alternate with warm and humid seasons, approximately every 35-45 years.

The sciences that study the biosphere

Area, geobotany, biogeocenosis, ecosystem,flora and fauna - all these concepts are actively operated by one discipline - biogeography. She is engaged in a detailed study of the "living" shell of the Earth - the biosphere, and is just at the junction of two large areas of scientific knowledge (which sciences are in question - it's easy to guess from the name of the discipline).

Biogeography studies patternsdistribution of living organisms on the surface of our planet, and also describes in detail the flora and fauna of its individual parts (continents, islands, countries, etc.).

The object of research of this science isbiosphere, and the subject - the features of the geographical distribution of living organisms, as well as the formation of their groups (biogeocenoses). Thus, biogeography not only tells that the polar bear lives in the Arctic, but also explains why it lives there.

geography and geography

Two major sections are distinguished in the structure of biogeography:

  • phytogeography (or geography of the flora);
  • zoogeography (or geography of animals).

A great contribution to the development of biogeography as an autonomous scientific discipline was made by the Soviet scientist VB Sochava.

In its studies, modern biogeography uses a large arsenal of methods: historical, quantitative, cartographic, method of comparison and modeling.

Physical geography of continents

There are other objects, which geography studies. The continents are one of those.

The continent (or continent) is relatively largean area of ​​the earth's crust that protrudes over the waters of the World Ocean and is surrounded by it from all four sides. By and large, these two concepts are synonyms, but "continent" is a term more geographic than "continent" (which is more often used in geology).

physical geography of Russia

On the planet Earth it is customary to allocate 6 continents:

  • Eurasia (the largest).
  • Africa (the hottest).
  • North America (the most contrast).
  • South America (the most "wild" and unexplored).
  • Australia (the most arid).
  • and Antarctica (the coldest).

However, this view of the number of continents in thenot all countries share the planet. So, for example, in Greece it is considered that there are only five continents in the world (based on the population criterion). But the Chinese believe that the continents on Earth - seven (Europe and Asia, they consider different continents).

Some continents are isolated by the ocean completely (as, for example, Australia). Others - are connected with each other by isthmuses (like Africa with Eurasia, or both of America).

There is a curious theory of continental drift,which claims that earlier they were all a single supercontinent called Pangea. And around him "splashed" one ocean - Tethys. Later Pangea split into two parts - Laurasia (which included modern Eurasia and North America) and Gondwana (included all the rest, the "southern" continents). Scientists suggest, based on the law of cyclicity, that in the distant future all continents will again gather into one single continent.

Physical Geography of Russia

The physical geography of a particular country presupposes the study and characterization of such natural components as:

  • geological structure and minerals;
  • relief;
  • climate of the territory;
  • water resources;
  • soil cover;
  • Flora and fauna.

The nature of Russia, thanks to the vast territorycountry, is very diverse. Vast plains here border on high mountain systems (Caucasus, Sayans, Altai). The country's interior is rich in various minerals: oil and gas, coal, copper and nickel ores, bauxites and others.

Within Russia, there are seven types of climate: from the Arctic in the far north - to the Mediterranean on the Black Sea coast. The largest rivers of Eurasia flow through the territory of the state: the Volga, the Yenisei, the Lena and the Amur. In Russia is the deepest lake of the planet - Baikal. Here you can see huge massifs of wetlands and grandiose glaciers on mountain peaks.

Eight natural zones are allocated in Russia:

  • a zone of arctic deserts;
  • tundra;
  • forest-tundra;
  • zone of mixed and broadleaf forests;
  • forest-steppe;
  • steppe;
  • zone of deserts and semi-deserts;
  • subtropical zone (on the Black Sea coast).

Six types of soils are found within the country, among which chernozem is the most fertile soil on the planet.


Geography is a science that studies the featuresthe functioning of the geographical envelope of our planet. The latter consists of four main shells: the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere and the biosphere. Each of them is the object of research for a number of geographic disciplines. For example, the lithosphere and the relief of the Earth are studied by geology and geomorphology; climatology and meteorology, hydrosphere - hydrology, etc., are engaged in the study of the atmosphere.

In general, geography is divided into two large sections. This is physical and geographical science and socio-economic geography. The first is interested in natural objects and processes, and the second - the phenomena that occur in society.

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