An Introduction to Economic Geography - Vol. 1

By Wellington D. Jones; Derwent S. Whittlesey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
OCEANS AND THEIR COASTS
On a population map of the world the oceans are vast empty spaces. Yet the geographic significance of these expanses of water, which cover about three-fourths of the earth's surface, is not wholly negative. The oceans are useful to man in a number of ways. Moreover, their usefulness varies from place to place. This fact suggests that it would be desirable to divide them into regions (as has been done in the case of land forms, for example), each region being differentiated from its neighbors on the basis of natural (physical) characteristics which have important bearing on human activities. Unfortunately, the data concerning the natural characteristics of oceans are so incomplete that regional subdivision is fruitless at this juncture. In the following exercise an attempt is made to point out what these characteristics are, and to suggest their bearing on economic life.Sea coasts belong to the lands as well as to the oceans, their natural (physical) characteristics being partly those of land forms and partly those of oceans. For this reason they can best be understood after both land forms and oceans have been studied.
THE OCEANS
1. In what ways are the oceans of economic importance?
2. What products are obtained from the oceans?
3. Suggest differences in physical conditions from place to place in the oceans, that may be responsible for the fact that some of these products come from one part of the ocean and others from other parts. Examine the atlas map of ocean currents, Figures 9 and 341-343, and read "Products of the Oceans" (pp. 337-338).
4. The oceans are much used as highways of trade. Why? From the standpoint of commerce should the oceans be thought of as separating or connecting the continents?
5. Do you imagine that more trade is carried on by sea or by land? Why should this be so?

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