Explain the basic processes of and interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere.

The research project for this class is to thoroughly investigate the physical geography of one place on Earth.  You must submit a final PowerPoint presentation that is a compilation of all of the research material you have found for the location you have chosen.  While this place could be a location that more dramatically highlights certain aspects of physical geography, such as a National Park like Grand Canyon N.P. or Yellowstone N.P., a location near where live is actually the preferred choice.   In fact, the place should be a location that you will be able to visit at least once during the semester in order to gather personal “field work” information .  Note that this class is not as much about “exotic” far-off places, but about learning how the basic principles of physical geography are constantly at work all around you.  The major goal of this project is to have youapply what you learn from the course content to the process of trying to learn about the physical geography of the place you have selected and analyze and evaluate this information based on the actual characteristics you identify for this place.   The requirements for this project are designed to allow the student to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the course’s Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs), which are:

1. Explain the basic processes of and interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere.

2. Evaluate geographic patterns to the earth’s physical environment (soil, vegetation, climate, earthquakes, winds, etc.) that result from various processes.

3. Assess the effects humans have on the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere.

4. Solve problems or make predications by analyzing the physical geography of a particular place.

Two of the most important resources for this project are your class textbook (especially its numerous maps) and Google Earth (which you will use for some of the unit activities).  Some of the items specifically required to be included in your presentation are probably not easily available.  For example, specific information about actual insolation values for your place of study is probably not available.  However, you can use the map of average surface insolation values to determine an approximate value to use for this project.  The information available through the USGS National Map Viewer ( http://viewer.nationalmap.gov/viewer/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. ) can be used in a similar manner.  Be sure to explore all of the layers of information that are available for your location through Google Earth.  You may be surprised by the amount of information you can obtain from these various layers.  Also, don’t forget that you should go to this place at least once and make some of your own observations to include in the presentation.

The presentation must have the following format and content:    Cover slide:  Include a cover slide with the following information: title, author, date, class  Content slides :  Include at least one slide for each of the following:   Place overview slide : Provide basic information about where the place is.  Must include:

1. any name(s) commonly used for the location and the city, county, state, country in/near which it is located

2. latitude and longitude

3. general description of its topography, with minimum and maximum elevation

4. at least one map that highlights its location

Atmosphere slide(s) : Describe the atmospheric characteristics of the research location (CLOs #1 & #2).  Must include the following: 

1. estimated insolation

2. estimated albedo

3. wind data and patterns (prevailing global winds and the local winds)

4. typical types of storms and other weather patterns

Hydrosphere slide(s) : Give information about the hydrology of the research area(CLOs #1 & #2).  Must include the following:

1. names and descriptions of bodies of water

2. type of drainage pattern and/or groundwater systems

3. climograph (constructed by the student)

4. climate classification analysis (to what extent does this location exemplify the characteristics of the climate in which it is classified)

Lithosphere slide(s) : Provide information about internal and some external geomorphic processes that occur in the research location (CLOs #1 & #2).  Must include the following:

1. types of rocks and/or soil

2. any evidence of folding and faulting, earthquakes, volcanoes

3. types of weathering and/or mass wasting