Jul 20, 2017 Research papers

Why was this site an important illustration of the physical geography of the region?

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Local Physical Geography of Centre County


Write a 4-5 page report presenting the results of your observations and research. Your

report must include three sections:

1. Regional Physical Geography (1-2 pages): an overview of the physical geography of

the State College area, including the climate, geology, landforms, soils, vegetation,

and land uses. (You may use your field trip notes in addition to independent research)

Climate & typical weather patterns: Koppen climate classification, seasonal patterns

of precipitation and temperature, typical weather for study period

Geology & landforms: bedrock types, landform types, geologic history.

Water Resources: Seasonal water balance, hydrology, names of local and regional


Soil orders: Common types, parent materials, connections with vegetation and land


Vegetation & Ecosystems: biome classification, main ecosystem types, connections

with landforms, bedrock, soils, and human land uses.

2. Observations: This section is a thorough report of your field observations, in 1 page.

Your reader should know exactly when, where, and how you made your observations,

as well as what you observed. Depending on how detailed your notes are, you may

have to select the most important pieces of information to highlight.

**Note: when you reach this point in your report, you definitely want to have too much

data recorded, rather than too little. You will have a much easier time if your field

notes are very detailed and extensive!**

This part (Observations) has 3 main components:

• Summarize observations from the 3 separate field trip locations (and any locations you

chose for extra credit). You should use the weather observation charts, as well as the

main themes of the field trip itself that you answered lab questions on. What were the GEOG 10 SP 14


most significant features of the sites we visited and why did we bother seeing them in

the first place? Why was this site an important illustration of the physical geography of

the region?

• Ecosystem Observations

You visited several types of ecosystems during your fieldtrips (meadow, wetland,

riparian forest, upland forest, planted forest, etc.). Recall the vegetation you observed

on your field trips, and describe them in detail. You can also find information online

about the specific sites, and general information about what vegetation looks like at a

mountaintop, wetland, riparian forest etc… Your notes should include all of the


• Description of the setting: topography, vegetation type, evidence of human


• Densities of understory versus canopy vegetation (recall discussion of old

versus new forests in the area)

• Dominance of shrubs versus trees versus grasses at each location

• Using library and online resources as well as course material, assemble a

comprehensive picture of the climate, geology, water resources, soils, and vegetation

of the area. For example, look at: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/field/index.htm

3. Analysis & Interpretation: The final section of your report is an interpretation of your

observations, in light of the regional patterns you have identified in Section 1. In other

words, how do the observations from the study sites connect with the climatic,

geologic, and ecological scheme of the region? You will need to make 4 specific

connections in 2-3 pages.

• Mechanics: Your paper must have 1 inch margins (top, bottom, & sides), be double

spaced, typed in 12 pt Times New Roman font, and not exceed 5 pages.

• Writing quality: Your paper must be written in complete sentences and paragraphs

with no spelling, grammatical, or usage errors. You must have an introduction,

conclusion, and transitions between sections.

**NOTE: the Undergraduate Writing Center

(http://www.psu.edu/dept/cew/writingcenter/UWC/index2.htm) is a great

resource for helping improve your writing. You are highly encouraged to visit

the Center with a draft of this paper. When you meet with a tutor, a report is

sent to your professor. You will get extra credit for visiting the writing center.**

• References (at least 7): You must cite your source for any information you gather

from library or Internet resources. Your sources must be trustworthy—ask your TA if

you have questions about any of your sources. You may use any style for your

citations, as long as you use it correctly and it is clear and unambiguous. APA style is

common in Geography, but if you are more familiar with a different style from your

discipline, you may use that instead. The links below have guidance for using various

citation styles.

• Style for Students Online: https://www.e-education.psu.edu/styleforstudents/GEOG 10 SP 14


• PSU Citation Guide:


When completed, this report should give ideas of how the general topics of physical

geography we’ve explored in class specifically connect to the things you actually observed

and analyzed in lab during the field trips.


Local Physical Geography of Centre County: state college, PA Name Course Instructor Date Regional physical geography The weather patterns that characterize the area affect the climate of the region over time, and climate depends on the altitude, latitude, local conditions and human activities. In State college, just like in most areas of the county the climate is typically humid continental (Smith & Davis, 2005). Observations of weather patterns validated previous observations of this weather pattern. Essentially, there are various changes in temperature daily and during seasons. The cold winters and warm summers are some of the climatic features that are common in the region, whereby in most cases there is abundant precipitation. The changes in the cloud cover, sunshine as well as direction of speed of wind show the variations in the area that occur on a daily basis. There are various ridges and valleys in the region, with each having its own distinct name. The Great Valley is found in the Centre County, running all the way through the Valley region as well as the Pennsylvania ridge. At the same time, there is clear visibility of some sections of the Appalachian Mountains from State College. In the Alleghen


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