Physical Geography

Physical geography focuses on geography as an Earth science (and is sometimes called Earth System Science).

Physical geography is a branch of geography that focuses on the study of the natural features and processes of the Earth’s surface. It includes the examination of landforms, climate, vegetation, soils, and water resources. Physical geographers use a range of scientific methods and tools to analyze and understand the complex interactions between the Earth’s physical systems.

Learn about the different branches of geography that fall under the physical geography category: climatology, geomorphology, biogeography, and more.

Richat structure

Richat Structure: A Geologic Wonder

Caitlin Dempsey

The Richat Structure, a geologic wonder viewable from space, is a striking circular feature found in the Sahara Desert in ...

How Deforestation Affects Physical Geography

Elizabeth Borneman

Deforestation is a problem we are likely all familiar with, even in passing. We drive or walk by small or ...

Satellite image showing the changing river patterns of the Amazon River. Image: NASA, public domain.

How Rivers Change the Landscape

Elizabeth Borneman

Rivers twist and turn, shaping the environment around them just as the physical geography of the surrounding landscape shapes them.

Photograph of the eruption from the summit of Eyjafjallajökull from the north looking to the south across the Gígjökull outlet glacier, its "missing" proglacial (ice-margin) lake caused by the jökulhlaup that filled in the lake. Photo: Oddur Sigurðsson, Iceland Meteorological Office. Public domain.

Volcanoes and Glaciers in Iceland

Elizabeth Borneman

Iceland is a country of varied geography, topography, and landscape.

Aquatic Dead Zones

Caitlin Dempsey

Aquatic dead zones are bodies of water where the oxygen conditions are so low that marine life is unable to be supported.