The Land of Alabama

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This podcast is part of the series: ArchiTreats: Food for Thought

Multimedia Details Title: The Land of Alabama
Creator: John Hall
Submitted By: Alabama Department of Archives and Histo, Informal Education Partner, Informal Education Partner

Alabama Department of Archives and History


ArchiTreats: Food for Thought will celebrate the Year of Alabama History through a series of sequential lectures in Alabama history by leading experts in the field. Join us for the first in the series at noon on Thursday, January 15 as John Hall presents The Land of Alabama, a talk on the physical geography and geology of Alabama. This presentation will be held at the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

The varied landscape of the state is often taken for granted, but the state is the result of a half- billion years of changes. It has endured continental collision, the up-thrusting of a mountain range, deposition of a giant coastal plain—twice—and the recent massive erosion of its valleys. It has survived near-misses by glaciers, strikes by giant meteorites and its mountains being worn flat and thrust up again. Parts of it have been sea bottoms full of giant reptiles while dinosaurs roamed its hills and valleys. All this before the Indians arrived and made it theirs. This presentation will introduce the physical landscape of the state and set the stage for the talks to come in the rest of the 2009 ArchiTreats series.

John Hall is presently Curator of the new Black Belt Museum at the University of West Alabama. He is the retired chief naturalist at the University of Alabama - Museum of Natural History in Tuscaloosa and is a well-known Alabama naturalist and teacher. He specializes in the connections of science and history in Alabama. He is well-known for his programs on botanist William Bartram and the Sylacauga meteorite.

This ArchiTreats presentation is made possible by the Friends of the Alabama Archives and a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The public is invited to bring a sack lunch and enjoy a bit of Alabama history. Coffee and tea will be provided by the Friends of the Alabama Archives. For more information, call (334) 353-4712.

Length: 49:12
Content Areas: Science, Social Studies
Alabama Course of Study Alignments and/or Professional Development Standard Alignments:
SC (2)
8. Identify evidence of erosion and weathering of rocks.
SC (6)
2. Describe factors that cause changes to Earth's surface over time.
Examples: earthquakes, volcanoes, weathering, erosion, glacial erosion or scouring, deposition, water flow, tornadoes, hurricanes, farming and conservation, mining and reclamation, deforestation and reforestation, waste disposal, global climate changes, greenhouse gases
  • Comparing constructive and destructive natural processes and their effects on land formations
  • Examples:
    constructive—volcanic and mountain-building processes;
    destructive—erosion by wind, water, and ice
  • Distinguishing rock strata by geologic composition
  • Examples: predicting relative age of strata by fossil depth, predicting occurrence of natural events by rock composition in a particular strata
    SC (9-12) Environmental Elective
    11. Describe agents of erosion, including moving water, gravity, glaciers, and wind.
  • Describing methods for preventing soil erosion
  • Examples: planting vegetation, constructing terraces, providing barriers
    SC (9-12) Geology Elective
    3. Explain natural phenomena that shape the surface of Earth, including rock cycles, plate motions and interactions, erosion and deposition, volcanism, earthquakes, weathering, and tides.
    SS2010 (4) Alabama Studies
    1. Compare historical and current economic, political, and geographic information about Alabama on thematic maps, including weather and climate, physical-relief, waterway, transportation, political, economic development, land-use, and population maps.
  • Describing types of migrations as they affect the environment, agriculture, economic development, and population changes in Alabama
  • SS2010 (4) Alabama Studies
    4. Relate the relationship of the five geographic regions of Alabama to the movement of Alabama settlers during the early nineteenth century.
  • Identifying natural resources of Alabama during the early nineteenth century
  • Describing human environments of Alabama as they relate to settlement during the early nineteenth century, including housing, roads, and place names
  • SS2010 (7) Geography
    3. Compare geographic patterns in the environment that result from processes within the atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere of Earth's physical systems.
  • Comparing Earth-Sun relationships regarding seasons, fall hurricanes, monsoon rainfalls, and tornadoes
  • Explaining processes that shape the physical environment, including long-range effects of extreme weather phenomena
  • Examples: processes—plate tectonics, glaciers, ocean and atmospheric circulation, El Niño
    long-range effects—erosion on agriculture, typhoons on coastal ecosystems
  • Describing characteristics and physical processes that influence the spatial distribution of ecosystems and biomes on Earth's surface
  • Comparing how ecosystems vary from place to place and over time
  • Examples: place to place—differences in soil, climate, and topography
    over time—alteration or destruction of natural habitats due to effects of floods and forest fires, reduction of species diversity due to loss of natural habitats, reduction of wetlands due to replacement by farms, reduction of forest and farmland due to replacement by housing developments, reduction of previously cleared land due to reforestation efforts
  • Comparing geographic issues in different regions that result from human and natural processes
  • Examples: human—increase or decrease in population, land-use change in tropical forests
    natural—hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods
    SS2010 (7) Geography
    7. Classify spatial patterns of settlement in different regions of the world, including types and sizes of settlement patterns.
    Examples: types—linear, clustered, grid
    sizes—large urban, small urban, and rural areas
  • Explaining human activities that resulted in the development of settlements at particular locations due to trade, political importance, or natural resources
  • Examples: Timbuktu near caravan routes; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Birmingham, Alabama, as manufacturing centers near coal and iron ore deposits; Singapore near a major ocean transportation corridor (Alabama)
  • Describing settlement patterns in association with the location of resources
  • Examples: fall line settlements near waterfalls used as a source of energy for mills, European industrial settlements near coal seams, spatial arrangement of towns and cities in North American Corn Belt settlements
  • Describing ways in which urban areas interact and influence surrounding regions
  • Examples: daily commuters from nearby regions; communication centers that service nearby and distant locations through television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet; regional specialization in services or production
    SC2015 (9-12) Earth and Space Science
    9. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to explain how constructive and destructive processes (e.g., weathering, erosion, volcanism, orogeny, plate tectonics, tectonic uplift) shape Earth's land features (e.g., mountains, valleys, plateaus) and sea features (e.g., trenches, ridges, seamounts).
    SC2015 (9-12) Earth and Space Science
    10. Construct an explanation from evidence for the processes that generate the transformation of rocks in Earth's crust, including chemical composition of minerals and characteristics of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks.
    SC2015 (9-12) Earth and Space Science
    11. Obtain and communicate information about significant geologic characteristics (e.g., types of rocks and geologic ages, earthquake zones, sinkholes, caves, abundant fossil fauna, mineral and energy resources) that impact life in Alabama and the southeastern United States.
    SC2015 (9-12) Environmental Science
    4. Engage in argument from evidence to evaluate how biological or physical changes within ecosystems (e.g., ecological succession, seasonal flooding, volcanic eruptions) affect the number and types of organisms, and that changing conditions may result in a new or altered ecosystem.
    SC2015 (9-12) Environmental Science
    17. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate geological and biological information to determine the types of organisms that live in major biomes.
    a. Analyze and interpret data collected through geographic research and field investigations (e.g., relief, topographic, and physiographic maps; rivers; forest types; watersheds) to describe the biodiversity by region for the state of Alabama (e.g., terrestrial, freshwater, marine, endangered, invasive).