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Major Branches of Geography

Branches of Geography

Geography is a systematic study of the Earth and its features.
» Geography is the study of the Earth and its features, its inhabitants, and its phenomena.
» The word geography comes from the Greek words gê ("Earth") and graphein ("to write, draw"). It means "to write and draw about the Earth".
» The word was first used by a scientist called Eratosthenes (276-194 B.C.), also called father of Geography
» Geography is often defined in terms of the three branches of human geography,  physical geography and economic geography.

Human Geography

» Human geography is a branch of geography that focuses on the study of patterns and processes that shape the human society. It encompasses the human, political, cultural, social, and economic aspects.
» The primary fields of study in human geography focus around the core fields of:
1.  Culture
2. Development
3. Economic
4. Health
5. Historical
6. Political
7. Population
9. Urban
Following are the major sub-divisions of the human geography
» Population geography is the study of ways in which spatial variations in the distribution, composition, migration, and growth of populations are related to their environment or location.
» Cultural geography is the study of cultural products and norms - their variation across spaces and places, as well as their relations. It focuses on describing and analyzing the ways language, religion, economy, government, and other cultural phenomena vary or remain constant from one place to another and on explaining how humans function spatially.
» Settlement geography, including urban geography, is the study of urban and rural areas with specific regards to spatial, relational and theoretical aspects of settlement. That is the study of areas which have a concentration of buildings and infrastructure. These are areas where the majority of economic activities are in the secondary sector and tertiary sectors. In case of urban settlement, they probably have a high population density.
» Political geography is concerned with the study of both the spatially uneven outcomes of political processes and the ways in which political processes are themselves affected by spatial structures.

Physical Geography

» Physical geography (or physiography) focuses on geography as an Earth science. It aims to understand the physical problems and the issues of lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, pedosphere, and global flora and fauna patterns (biosphere).
» Physical geography influences what people do. For example, few live in deserts, and many live in cities near a big river.
» Geographers studying the natural environment or physical geography may look at:
1.  Climate
2. Landform
3. Continents
4. Oceans
5. Soil
6. Rocks
7. Rivers
9. Endogenetic process
10. Exogenetic process
» Physical geography has a number of sub-divisions each concerned with the study of a specific component of the physical geography.
» Geomorphology is the field concerned with understanding the surface of the Earth and the processes by which it is shaped, both at the present as well as in the past. Geomorphology as a field has several sub-fields that deal with the specific landforms of various environments e.g. desert geomorphology and fluvial geomorphology; however, these sub-fields are united by the core processes which cause them; mainly tectonic or climatic processes. Geomorphology seeks to understand landform history and dynamics, and predict future changes through a combination of field observation, physical experiment, and numerical modeling (Geomorphometry). Early studies in geomorphology are the foundation for pedology, one of two main branches of soil science
» Climatology is the study of the climate, scientifically defined as weather conditions averaged over a long period of time. Climatology examines both the nature of micro (local) and macro (global) climates and the natural and anthropogenic influences on them. The field is also sub-divided largely into the climates of various regions and the study of specific phenomena or time periods e.g. tropical cyclone rainfall climatology and paleoclimatology.
» Oceanography is the branch of physical geography that studies the Earth's oceans and seas. It covers a wide range of topics, including marine organisms and ecosystem dynamics (biological oceanography); ocean currents, waves, and geophysical fluid dynamics (physical oceanography); plate tectonics and the geology of the sea floor (geological oceanography); and fluxes of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries (chemical oceanography). These diverse topics reflect multiple disciplines that oceanographers blend to further knowledge of the world ocean and understanding of processes within it.
» Biogeography is the science which deals with geographic patterns of species distribution and the processes that result in these patterns. Biogeography emerged as a field of study as a result of the work of Alfred Russel Wallace, although the field prior to the late twentieth century had largely been viewed as historic in its outlook and descriptive in its approach. The main stimulus for the field since its founding has been that of evolution, plate tectonics and the theory of island biogeography. The field can largely be divided into five sub-fields: island biogeography, paleobiogeography, phylogeography, zoogeography and phytogeography

Economic Geography

» Economic geography is the study of the location, distribution and spatial organization of economic activities across the world. It represents a traditional subfield of the discipline of geography. However, many economists have also approached the field in ways more typical of the discipline of economics.
» Thematically, economic geography can be divided into these subdisciplines:
1.Geography of Agriculture
2.Industrial Geography
3.Transport Geography
4.Resource Geography
5.Geography of Develoopment

» Geography has been called "the world discipline" and "the bridge between the human and the physical sciences".

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