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The origins of geography as a science go back to antiquity. At first, it concerned itself with the description of various parts of the world, of near and distant countries. The name "geography" means "description of the Earth" (from the Greek "geo-" earth, and grapho" – I write).
Geographers and travellers penetrated every corner of the Earth and plotted all the explored areas on geographical maps. Eventually very few unexplored places remained, and geography went over from fact gathering and description to the interpretation and explanation of the arrangement of things on the Earth's surface.
Modern geography makes a deep analysis of the relationship among the phenomena of nature and of the economic life of society. In studying these relationships, geographers make use of other branches of science such as physics, chemistry biology, geology, mathematics and social sciences.
The main emphasis in geographic research is now on studying the natural environment, the natural resources of specific areas and determining the most rational methods of utilizing them.
Discovery is still one of the fascinating aspects of this science. There are some blank spaces on the map of the world.
What vast natural resources every such blank space conceals! Mountain ranges abound in ore, valuable timber and swift mountain torrents, the potential source of energy; wide-stretching plains rich in forests, various kinds of minerals, rivers, lakes and subterranean waters and the ocean is rich in food fauna and minerals. To reveal the secrets of unexplored territories and water areas, to chart them on a map, to study nature's riches and place them at the service of mankind – such is the task of the geographic explorer.
Modern geography is a complex science having many interconnected branches. They are: physical geography, economic geography, social geography and cartography.
Physical geography includes landscape study, geomorphology, climatology, hydrology, soil geography and biogeography; economic and social geography include population geography, industrial geography, agricultural geography, geography of transport and service. Cartography is concerned with making up of all sorts of maps. On the boundary between physical and economic geography there have appeared some "marginal" branches of geography: political, historical, medical and recreational, geography.
General geography studies global problems, while regional geography is concerned with the study of nature and resources of a definite country or area.
IV. Найдите в тексте слова, определения которым даны ниже:
a) a science that is concerned with the description of the Earth;
b) a place on the Earth's surface that has not been explored and plotted on the map;
c) a branch of geography that is concerned with making up maps;
d) nature's riches that can be used by mankind;
e) a person who explores nature;
f) a group of mountains.
V. Найдите в тексте слова и словосочетания, близкие по значению следующим словам и словосочетаниям:
to study; a far-away country; plot on a map; to find out; unexplored areas; abundant resources, to be rich in something, to open a secret; to make it possible for mankind to use nature's riches; underground waters.
VI. Найдите в тексте слова, противоположные по значению следующим словам:
to be unconcerned, to conceal, distant, general geography, indefinite, regional problems, scarce resources, valueless.
VII. Найдите в тексте прилагательные, характеризующие следующие существительные:
area, environment, geography, mountain torrents, plains, resources, spaces.
VIII. Составьте словосочетания из глаголов и существительных.