Ralph S. (Ralph Stockman) Tarr.

New physical geography online

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Fig. 1.— The Colorado Canyon.








GEOLOGY," "physical GEOGRAPHY OF NEW YOilK, fT!\.TE," ETC, -



AU rigJvU reserved

T 3 6-

Copyright, 1903,

Set up and electrotyped. Published January, 1904. Re-
printed, May, 1904; January, August, October, 1905;
• ■ ,'. April* jls^c^embe^, 1906; September, 1907; January, Octo-

'; %'' lie'r','' iJo^V 'jWary, 1909; January, July, 1910; April,
August, 1911;^FQbwary, 1912; September, 1912; March,
. ', 'I '.[I'Mi'i^l 5913' Jamuary, April, 1914; March, 1915; August,
,1 .' J/r •W15;'P\brna^y,« Jify, November, 1917.



Nearly eight years ago the author published his Ele-
mentary Physical Geography, which was followed, two
years later, by his First Book of Physical Geography,
really a presentation, in briefer and more elementary form,
of the matter contained in the earlier book. The growth of
the science of physical geography, — which has been little
short of marvelous, — the rapid advance in rank which the
subject has won for itself in the schools, and the new
ideas and new methods of presentation which have come
to the author, have, for several years, made him desirous
of undertaking a revision of one or both of his texts.
When, however, this desire was given concrete form, and
systematic attention was paid to the nature of the revi-
sion, it became evident that it would mean, not merely a
revision, not even a mere rewriting, but a complete destruc-
tion of the old book and the construction of an entirely
new book, different in plan, in scope, and, in many respects,
in subject-matter. Then, for the first time, arose the idea
that, since it would be a new book in fact, it would be bet-
ter to issue it as such than as a new book under an old title.
One important reason for reaching this decision was the fact
that both the Elementary and First Book are in wide use.
A field for them evidently exists, and it appears hardly wise
to destroy absolutely that for which there is a demand.
Twelve editions of the Elementary have been published
and fifteen of the First Book.

The teaching of physical geography is still in its expe/^j.



mental stage, and it is the opinion of many teachers that
the ideal method of presentation has not yet been proposed,
notwithstanding the several excelibnt texts which have
appeared. The New Physical Geography is still another
effort to solve the problem of how best to present the sub-
ject to beginning students. The author does not flatter
himself that he has produced the ideal ; his only hope is
that he has done better in his third attempt than he did
in the other two.

In the New Physical Geography, treatment of the lands
has been placed before that of air and ocean because so
many schools commence the study in the fall and take
classes into the field. The chapters on atmosphere and ocean
have been given less space than in the author's previous
books ; yet all topics of distinct importance are treated with
sufficient fullness to make them clear. Certain subjects that
are not universally deemed necessary parts of physical geog-
raphy are treated in appendixes ; it is the belief of the
author that each of these should be studied.

Perhaps the most decided difference between the New
Physical Geography and the author's other books lies irr.
the introduction of a much fuller treatment of life in its
relation to the land, air, and ocean, the human interest ol
each topic being emphasized. This has been done through-
out the text and, at the end of the book, in a series of
chapters devoted to that subject exclusively.

Especial pains has been taken to illustrate the book fully.
It is believed that an illustration, properly selected, is of
the very highest value, — the best substitute for the object
itself. Every illustration in the book is introduced for use,
and almost every one is referred to at least once in the text.
Among these illustrations half tones of photographs predomi-
nate, for they alone, of all forms of illustration commonly in

1 BE FACE. vii

use, present the whole truth. In order that they shall be
distinct, the half tones are all printed on glossed paper ; but
to avoid giving the book undue weight, and to eliminate the
trying effect of glossed paper on the eye, the text is printed
on a light-weight, dull-finished paper and the half tones on
inserted sheets. Besides half tones there are many diagrams,
maps, and block drawings, the latter prepared by C. W.
Furlong of Cornell University.

As aids to the study of the text, a brief Summary is given
at the close of each section, and a Topical Outline and a set
of Review Questions are placed at the end of each chapter.
It is believed that the great majority of teachers will wel-
come these aids. No teacher will, of course, be content to
follow the questions absolutely and without modification ;
the individuality of the teacher will appear here, as else-
where. But these summaries, topics, and questions cover the
essentials in the text ; and their use as a basis for work, with
such modifications and additions as may be deemed necessary,
will be a far lighter task than the production of an entire
series by the teacher. Thus, relieved of a form of drudgery,
time will be available for the expenditure of energy in more
profitable lines.

In most of the better schools physical geography is fast
becoming a laboratory science, and this is the position it
must eventually take wherever taught. In the absence of
a laboratory manual, many teachers find it difficult to plan
a laboratory course. That this is so is evident from the
many letters that the author receives on the subject. With
this in mind, a series of Suggestions is appended to nearly
every chapter, and one appendix is devoted to maps and
laboratory equipment, another to field work. From these
suggestions any teacher will be able to select some for use.
It ir hoped that they may serve as an incentive to additionaJ
laboratorv and field work.


A very large number of teachers have given the author
the beneht of their experience in the form of suggestive
criticism. To all of these teachers — making a list far too
long to print here — the author is greatly indebted for their
kindly interest. They have helped to shape the plan of the
book. Among these, however, are several whose suggestions
were of such marked value that their aid must be acknowl-
edged individually : Frank Darling, Chicago Normal School ;
C. S. Jewell, Lake View High School, Chicago; E. C. Case,
Milwaukee Normal School ; L. O. Towne, Haverhill, Mass. ;
Emerson Rice, Hyde Park, Mass. ; H. L. Rand, Dedham,
Mass. ; H. L. F. Morse, Troy, N.Y. ; Miss Agnes Brown,
Rockford, 111. ; and James A. Barr, Stockton, Cal. Special
acknowledgment must also be made to Lawrence Martin of
Cornell for valuable assistance and suggestion during the
preparation of the book.

It goes without saying that the author is profoundly
indebted to the host of workers in physiography, from whom
he has drawn so much inspiration, suggestion, and fact :
Gilbert, Davis, Powell, Geikie, Penck, de Lapparent, Russell,
Shaler, Dutton, Chamberlin, Hayes, Campbell, Salisbury,
Brigham, Dodge, Dryer, and many others. From the writ-
ings of these physiographers the author has culled whatever
seemed to him suited to a scheme of elementary instruction ;
and so numerous, and often so unconscious, is the influence
of these fellow-workers, that 8[)ecific acknowledgment would
be quite impossible. Doublless the most profound influence
upon the author is that of liis two teachers. Professors
Shaler and Davis, tlie importance of which to him cannot be
overestimated. Together with other physiographers, the
author further recognizes in Professor Davis a leader in
American physiography, from whom even some of the fun-
damental principles of the subject have been derived. An


examination of the following pages would show the influence
of this physiographer in many places, an influence not con-
fined to the pure science, but extending to the pedagogy of

the subject as well.

Ithaca, N.Y., July 21, 1903.



The Earth as a Planet ....





General Features of the Earth

. 13


Changes in the Earth's Crust .

. 31


KiVERS AND River Valleys .

. 50


Plains, Plateaus, and Deserts .




. 93


Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Geysers



Glaciers and the Glacial Period

. 137


Lakes and Swamps

. 160


The Ocean

. 173


Shore Lines

. 203


The Atmosphere

. 229


Winds and Storms .....

, 255


Weather and Climate ....

. 275


Physiography of United States

. 298


Rivers of United States ....

. 320


Distribution op Plants

. 336


Distribution of Animals . , . . ,

. 353


Man and Nature






A. Revolution of the Earth .

B. Latitude and Longitude

C. Common Minerals and Rocks

D. Geological Ages .

E. Tides . . , . .

F. Magnetism

G. Meteorological Instruments
H. Weather Maps

I. Maps ....

J. Laboratory Equipment

A. Field Work

L. Reference Books .

Index • • . •


. 397

. 402

. 406

. 415

. 416

. 418

. 420

. 42d

. 428

. 43".

. 442

. 443


Aside from the illustrations acknowledged in the list below, and a few
acknowledged beneath the pictures themselves,, a number of photographs
were obtained from a great variety of sources, American and foreign. Many
of the photographs were taken by the author ; many are from the collection
in the department of Physical Geography at Cornell University. For photo-
graphs, especial acknowledgment is due Mr. J. 0. Martin, formerly of Cornell
University ; William H. Rau, Philadelphia ; F. J. Haynes, St. Paul ; Detroit
Photographic Co., Detroit ; and S. R, Stoddard, Glens Falls, N.Y. The
topographic maps are made from the United States Geological Survey topo-
graphic sheets ; the weather maps and many of the diagrams of temperature,
etc., are based upon maps and data obtained from United States Weather
Bureau Publications. Most of the relief maps are reproduced from models
made by E, E. Howell, Washington ; many of the drawings, especially the
block drawings, are by C. W. Furlong, of Cornell University. The animal
pictures and the map and picture of the races of man are by Matthews-
Northrup Co., Buffalo. A number of illustrations were taken from earlier
books by the author.

Of the remaining illustrations a few are made from copy whose source
could not be ascertained. Illustrations taken from books, or based upon
maps or diagrams in books, and a few photographs not purchased from
dealers, are acknowledged in the following list : —

Abbe, C, Jr. (Maryland Weather Bureau), 122, 123 ; (Maryland Geological

Survey), 463.
Agassiz, A. (Three Cruises of the Blake), 324, 325, 343.
Bartholomew (Physical Atlas, Meteorology), 407, 435.
Von Bebber (Lehrbuch der Meteorologie) , 425.
California State Mineralogist's Report, 238.
Calvin, Prof. S., Des Moines, la., 88.
Canadian Geological Survey, 46.
Carney, F., Ithaca, N.Y., 282.
Challenger Reports, 311, 314, 317, 318, 320.
Chamberlin, T. C. (based upon his map), United States Geological Survey,

Chamberlin and Leverett (American Journal of Science), 295. '

Darton, N. H., United States Geological Survey, 115.
Daubeny, C, Volcanoes, 210.



Diller, J. S., United States Geological Survey, 215, 219, 235.

Drake, N. F. (California Model), 114, 350.

Emerson, P. (New England Supplement, Tarr & McMurry Geographies),

454, 456.
Fairchild, H. L. (New York Geological Survey), 273.
Foerste, A. F. (Proceedings Boston Society Natural History), 1G8.
Friez, J. P. (Dealer in Meteorological Instruments), Baltimore, Md., 561,

564, 565, 566.
Gardner, J. L., Boston, Mass., 286, 328, 329, 331, 355, 361.
Gilbert, G. K. (Henry Mountains), 164, 233; (Niagara Commission), 277;

(Lake Bonneville), United States Geological Survey, 301.
Harden, E. B. (Pennsylvania Model), 172.
Harvard College Observatory, 2, 5.
Hayden, E. (National Geographic Magazine), 426.
Hayden, F. V. (Geological Survey Territories), 138, 140, 159.
Heim, A. (Mechanismus der Gebirgebildung) , 156.
Hill, K. T. (Topographical Atlas, Texas), United States Geological Survey,

96, 144.
Holden, E. S. (Memoirs National Academy of Sciences), 382.
Hovey, E. 0. (American Museum Natural History), New York, 197, 198.
Ikenberry, W. L., Mt. Morris, 111., 420, 422.
Johnston-Lavis, H. J., 195.

Jones, Thomas (Earth Model), Chicago, 111., 313.
Jukes-Browne, A. J. (Handbook of Physical Geology), 344.
Kent, H. Saville- (Great Barrier Reef), 380.
Koppen (Atlantischen Ozean), 409, 410.
Libbey, Prof. W., Jr., 266, 272, 486, 524.

McAllister, T. H. (Dealer in lantern slides). New York, 484, 490, 496.
Mexican Boundary Commission, Report, 147.
Mills, F. S., Andover, Mass., 92.

Milne and Burton (Great Earthquake of 1891 in Japan), 239.
Nasmyth and Carpenter (The Moon), 14.
Newberry, J. S. (Popular Science Monthly), 462.
Penrose, R. A. F., Jr., Philadelphia, 126.

Powell, J. W. (Explorations of the Colorado River), 36, 59, 139, 478.
Ratzel, F. (History of Mankind), 489, 491, 493, 529, 534, 538, 546.
Ried, Prof. H. F., Baltimore, Md., 250.
Ritchie, J., Jr., Boston, 171, 284.

Russell, Prof. I. C, Ann Arbor, Mich., 252, 256, 257, 258.
Shaler, Prof. N. S. (United States Geological Survey), 90, 305.
Shedd, S. (Washington Model), 476.
Sigsbee (Deep-sea Sounding, United States Coast Survey), 310, 312.


Symons (Eruption of Krakatoa) , 220.

Taylor, F. B. (Dryer's Studies in Indiana Geography), 280, 281.

United States Coast Survey, 334, 336, 560.

United States Fish Commission, 342.

United States Geological Survey, 1, 38, 45, 51, 55, 148, 154, 214, 231, 260, 307,

472, 498, 531.
United States Hydrographic Bureau, 427.

United States Weather Bureau (Monthly Weather Review), 402.
Upham, W. (Lake Agassiz), United States Geological Survey, 130.
Ward, R. de C, Series of Cloud Slides, 402, 423.
Webster, Commander H., United States Navy, 543.
Willis, B., United States Geological Survey, 39, 40, '48.
Williston, Prof. S. W., Lawrence, Kan., 64, 127.


Man is vitally dependent upon air, water, and earth. The
air supplies oxygen for breathing and for fire; it supplies
carbon dioxide to plants; it brings vapor for rain; and its
presence and movements profoundly affect climate.

The ocean is the source of vapor; it furnishes many kinds
of food fish; it is the highway of an ever increasing com-
merce; and it influences the climate of every land.

The lands furnish a home for man; they are mantled with
a soil in which the food plants grow; and from the rocks are
obtained mineral fuels, building stones, and metals. Both
plant and animal life are greatly influenced by the forms
of the land and the distribution of land and water.

The sun is also of vital importance, for its heat and light
make life on the globe possible. The heat sets the air in
motion, forming winds which bring rain, modify climates,
and start waves and currents in the ocean.

The movements of the earth — rotation and revolution —
are also important. .Rotation brings day and night, which
influence the habits of men, animals, and plants. Revolu-
tion causes seasons, which have a still greater effect on life.

Plants, animals, and mankind have adapted themselves in
a wonderful manner to the soil, climate, and other features of
their surroundings. Most animals and plants live either in


the water or on the land; but some have adopted the air
as their home, while others have taken to life underground,
though always near the surface.

Air and water are ever changing; the lands are also
changing, though more slowly; and plants and animals are
varying in their relation to air, ocean, and land. These
changes have a profound effect on man, and it is therefore
important to study about them. '

Such a study is known as Physical Geography, which may
be defined as the study of the physical features of the earth
and their influence on man.





1. Shape of the Earth. — When we look at the full moon

we see clearly that it is a sphere in the heavens (Fig. 2).

If we could stand on the

moon and look at the

earth, we would see that

it, too, is a sphere. But

the earth is a much larger

sphere than the moon

(Fig. 3).

Over two thousand years

ago it was known that the

earth was a sphere; but

this was later forgotten,

and for a long time the

earth was believed to be

flat. Before the time of

Columbus, navigators im-
agined all sorts of terrors at the edge of a flat earl^ ; and

Columbus had diflcMlty
in finding sailors who
were willing to face
these imaginary terrors.
Columbus's voyage
helped to bring into
prominence the o^d
proofs that the earth
is a sphere.

B iG. 2. — The moon.


I Moon 2I5o\


Fig. 3. — Relative size of earth and moon.
The figures are the diameters in miles.


Fig. 4. — The curved ocear surface.

No matter where one may stand on the seashore, or on a vessel

m the open ocean, he may find proof that the earth's surface is

curved (Fig. 4). The
sails and smoke of
distant ships are seen
while the hulls are
hidden behind the
curvature of the
earth (Fig. 6). As the
ship comes nearer,
more and more of it
is seen. This does

not prove that the earth is a sphere, for other curved bodies,

such as an egg-shaped one, would produce the same effect.
That the earth is spherical

is now proved, and its size and

exact form have been meas-
ured by scientists. Travelers

have gone around it in various

directions, and it is known

how far one must travel to

return to the starting point.

Among the proofs that the

earth is a sphere, and one

known to the ancient Greeks,

is that furnished by eclipses of

the moon. Such an eclipse is

caused by the earth's shadow

thrown on the moon when

the earth comes between the

sun and moon., This shadow

is always bounded by part of a circle (Fig. 5). If the earth were

not a sphere this could not be so, for in some positions its outline

would be certani to show the true form.


— Curved shadow ul the earth dur
iug au eclipse of the moon.

Fio. G. — To show why part of a distant ship is hidden. The stva.ght line .o ih
line along which a man on the deck of the sailing vesseL would look.


The earth is not an exact sphere, for the diameter at the equator
is 7926%niles, and at the poles 7899. This difference in the two
diameters is due to a slight flattening at the poles. Such a slightly
flattened sphere is called an oblate spheroid. Compared to the
earth as a whole this flattening is so slight that it cannot be shown
on an ordinary globe. «

Summary. — The earth is a slightly flattened sphere, or oblate
spheroid. Its curved surface can be seen on the ocean ; eclipses of
the moon prove that it is a sphere ; its size and shape have been
measured ; and the distance around it in all directions is known

2. Other Spheres. — The earth is only one of a great num-
ber of spheres in space. The nearest of these is the moc
whose average distance is
about 240,000 miles. All
the stars are also spheres,
far larger than the moon,
and billions of miles away.
At the rate of an express
train it would take tens of
thousands of years to reach
the nearest star. These stars
are all flery hot ; but the
moon is a cold mass of rock.

The huge sun, another
sphere, is a star w^ith a diam-
eter of 860,000 miles (Fig.
7). Its average distance
from the earth is 92,750,000
miles, and yet it is so hot that heat and light from it cross
that distance, making life on the earth possible.

The sun is the center of a family of spheres which form
the solar system. In this system there are eight large
spheres called planets, of which the earth is one. The sun
and stars shine by their own light ; but the planets merely
reflect sunlight, as the moon does. The bright evening and

Fig. 7. — To show the great size of the
sun. The earth, moon, and orbit of
the moon could all be placed inside
the sun, as shown.


morning " stars " are planets, like the earth. From one of
them the earth would be seen to have the same steady, bright
light that they show to us.


O 3|- to

Ul IU< <

z S >iu S










i '-I'll.OOO.oO-J 1

I - 93.0tK).000



• - -881jOOO^0O0

- -l,77a,QOO,OJO

Fig. 8. — Ttie distances from the sun to the different planets.

are distances in miles.

2,775,000.000 - '

The figures


Some of the planets are far more distant than the sun (Fig. 8),
Neptune, the most distant of all, being over 2,700,000,000 miles.
How distant that is may perhaps be understood by the following

illustration. If an express train could
have started toward Neptune in the
time of Christ, and have traveled
steadily onward day and night at
the rate of sixty miles an hour, it
would not yet be halfway there.

Not only are the planets far away,
but some of them are very large
(Figs. 9, 10). Jupiter, the largest,
is 86,000 miles in diameter. In the
space between Mars and Jupiter there
are also a number of very small
spheres, called asteroids. The largest
is about 500 miles in diameter.

Summary. — Other spheres besides
the earth are the stars, sun, moon,
planets, and asteroids. TJie moon
and p?awe^s are cold, and shine by
reflected light ; the stars and sun are
fiery hot. In the solar system, 7thich
includes the S2in, moon, j^lanets, and
asteroids, the largest sphere is the sun,
the largest planet Jupiter, and the most distant planet Neptune.


Fig. 9. — To show the relative
of the four smaller planets.
The figures are diameters in



3. Movements of the Spheres. — Little is known about the
motions of the distant stars. But all the planets whose
movements are
known have been
found to turn, or
rotate^ on an axis.
The earth takes
one day for rota-
tion ; the sun over
25 days ; Jupiter
9 hours, 55 min-
utes ; the moon
21^ days.

All members of
the solar system

also travel or Te- ^^^- lO- — '^^ show the relative size of the four larger
, 1 i 1 planets.

volve^ around the

sun. This revolution^ is along a nearly circular path, or
orhit. The orbit is not an exact circle, but an ellipse (Fig.
11), and the sun, instead of being at the center, is a little
to one side, at one of t\\Q foci of the ellipse. This causes

the earth to be
nearer the sun
at one season
(over 91,000,000
miles) than in the
opposite (over
94,000,000 miles),
when it reaches
the other end of
the ellipse. The
earth requires a
little over 365 days, or one year, to make a complete revo-
lution around the sun.

1 For fuller treatment of revolution, see Appendix A

Fig. 11. — A circle (on left) and ellipse (on right).
Find the center of the circle (C) and the foci of
the ellipse (Fi^).


Mercury, the smallest and nearest of the planets (Figs. 8, 9),
requires only 88 days for a single revolution. What is the time
required by the other planets (Fig. 12) ?

Several of the planets have moons. The word satellite.^ mean-
ing follower, is given
to these smaller
spheres because they
follow their planets
in their revolution
dround the sun. The

Online LibraryRalph S. (Ralph Stockman) TarrNew physical geography → online text (page 1 of 42)