In physical geography, the study of natural factors and processes is conducted. It is a significant component of geography and encompasses the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Physical geography focuses on the movement of water and air, the changes to the earth’s surface due to internal and external influences, and the origins and destructions of various animals and plants over time, providing irrefutable evidence of the speed and progress of nature. It is a coordination and integration of sciences that provides an understanding of the human environment and can be considered the basic principles of geology. Physical geography is closely related to geomorphology, geology, soil science, among others, and can be described as the history of humans and nature.
Arthur Holmes describes physical geography as the study of the physical environment, which includes landforms, oceans, and air. The renowned human geographer Humboldt wrote that “Physical geography is that chapter which exists in the environment along with the environment.”
Humans are at the center of physical geography because since their origin, they have lived as a unit with physical factors. Humans have survived only because of the mutual agreement between the two, and humans have gradually influenced nature while nature has also brought changes to humans. With their willpower and intelligence, humans have made natural inconveniences suitable for themselves and adapted to the changing environment.
In today’s progressive era, knowledge of favorable and unfavorable physical conditions is necessary for proper economic and cultural progress, and this knowledge is possible only through the study of physical geography. Physical geography encompasses the study of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
Scope Of Physical Geography
The scope of physical geography is vast, yet its branches are not as closely intertwined and correlated with each other as the branches of human, economic, or social geography. Physical geography is concerned with the creation and development of the earth’s surface.
Physical geography encompasses the earth’s crust where the earth and the sky meet, just below the ground where internal forces are created, and where underground water and vital minerals are found. Any activities done on the earth’s surface fall under the field of physical geography. Physical geography includes the lithosphere, its formation and form diversity, its degradation and development, the hydrosphere, the physical and chemical characteristics of ocean water, the basis of change in the bottom, the effect and evidence, the various motions of water, and their effects on the lithosphere. The atmosphere’s organization of gases surrounding the surface, its various types of operation due to the effect of solar heat and the interaction on the lithosphere of the actions created by the result of air disturbance heat and vapor, and the demarcation of climatic zones by such action reactivity on the surface, among others, are all part of physical geography.
Furthermore, physical geography includes the creation, development, and diversity of the entire biological world and every distinction and strain. These activities are divided into two categories named animal and plant. However, some scholars do not include the biological world in the physical basis of geography. They believe that the position of the earth in outer space, its solar and planetary relationships, the nature of the earth, and the above abiotic elements are its parts, while most scholars consider all the forms, symptoms, actions, events, and effects of the biological world as part of physical geography.
Branches Of Physical Geography
The broad area of the entire physical geography is included under the following branches:
- Geo-mathematics: In Geo-mathematics, we study the physical geography of the Earth. We describe how it is composed of land masses, oceans, and other features. We also look at how it has changed over time and how it can be used by people to create maps.
- Astral Science and Geophysics: In Astral Science and Geophysics, we study the relationship between the physical and spiritual world.
- Geosciences, Topography, and Rock Science: In Geosciences, Topography, and Rock Science, we study rocks and how they are formed. We learn about the different kinds of rocks that we can find on Earth. We also learn how these rocks are formed.
- Soil Science or Soil Metaphysics: Soil Science is a branch of geology that deals with landforms and their origins, particularly the formation and evolution of soils, and their role in the maintenance of ecosystems.
- Oceanography: In Oceanography, we study the ocean, its layers, and how they are created and destroyed by the winds, currents, and other factors. We learn how to identify different types of water and how they behave in different environments.
- Climatology and Meteorology: In Climatology and Meteorology, we study the Earth’s climate, which is one of the most important subjects in science. It is important to understand this topic because it affects everyone on Earth, and every day we are affected by weather conditions.
- Ethnography: In Ethnography, we study the culture and traditions of a particular group of people. We learn about how they live and how they think.
- Cartography and Statistical Methods: In Cartography and Statistical Methods, we study cartography and statistical methods. We identify the main features of these methods.
- Botany: In Botany, we study plants. We can find many different types of plants in the world. There are grasses, trees, bushes, and vines.
- Zoology: In Zoology, we study animals. Animals are living things that are warm-blooded and have a backbone, and most of them have legs. Some animals can fly, swim, or climb trees. They eat plants and animals, and some need water to live.
We can determine an animal’s age by looking at its teeth. The teeth grow through the gums when they are babies, but they stop growing when the animals are fully grown. If a baby animal doesn’t have enough food to keep growing teeth throughout its life, it won’t be able to eat anything at all!
Some animals eat bugs like spiders and ticks because these bugs are not good for people to eat since they’re too small. Other animals hunt other animals or catch them as prey so they can eat them later on or use their bodies as materials for making new things like ropes or clothes, such as shoes.