Chapter 4 – MOVEMENT and Utah Geography

DRAFT webtext by G. Atwood, 2012, modified 2014

Use with professional courtesy and attribution including attribution of original sources where indicated.

LINK to printable version… it differs a bit from this web-posted version.

LINK to The 15 Themes of Geography of Utah


 Subtitle: Push and Pull, To and Fro… Immigration? or Emigration ? Canyon


 BIG CONCEPTS (meaning… these concepts provide ways to explore concepts of geography of Utah … The five great themes of geography are: location, place, interaction, movement, and region. Movement and migration… are old words…


1.     Movement links to LOCATION... movement from… through… to.

2.     Movement links to INTERACTION... movement results from and causes change.

3.     Movement's mechanisms include (a)  diffusion or (b) migration streams, or (c) both.

4.     Movement's (of whatever... water, money, language, etc) direction and distance are influenced by push and pull factors.

5.     Movement can be modeled and studied with modern geographic tools... GIS can model desire lines; diffusion patterns.

6.     Utah is special, in part, because of the movements and settlement of its peoples

7.     Locations of Utah’s highways and roads have logic, logic that geographers of Utah can discuss intelligently.


FIRST some EVIDENCE. Examine these images in the context of MOVEMENT

This is the Place Monument

Chronicle of Higher Education... where freshmen come from

Zick and Smith -Movement of People in and out of Utah



SLTribune-y110125-FollowTheLeg http://le.utah.gov and... from bill to law... evaluate the movement summarized on this page... wish there were a chart or "map": http://le.utah.gov/documents/aboutthelegislature/billtolaw.htm


Quotation for this chapter:

Put your shoulder to the wheel…

Hmmm I need a nifty quotation here



Spread of Settlements of US from National Atlas... see links way way below beginning 1675, ending 1890

Movement … pull factors – UofU Students

MovemenT… push factors - The Great Migration (In the Warmth of Other Suns, by Isable Wilkerson... migration of 6 million black Americans from the South 1890-1960)

Movement… Think personal... why do you live where you live?

Evolution of Utah’s transportation systems


NOTE: I suggest you Bookmark or download Utah's OFFICIAL HIGHWAY MAP



Topics… Questions to Ponder –

Can you  have movement without location?

How do movement and migration differ?

What is movement? Why is movement fundamentally spatial? What can move? What about goods, culture, food, attorneys, people, disease, migrations, mix of taxes, invasive species, hospitals. What can’t move?

Movement in geography implies: to and from LOCATIONS and PLACES. The theme includes transportation, migrations, water systems and communications such as the World Wide Web. Note how themes of geography intersect: movement is in the context of physical and human geographies; ... and regions.

Would you have chosen “movement / migration” in your top 10 themes of geography? In your top five?



Overarching Goal of the Chapter:

DEEPER UNDERSTANDING of connections between interaction (Chapter 3) and movement (Chapter 4) with respect to geography, specifically, what causes movements withing and outside Utah. What correlates and what causes the interactions.


By the end of this chapter… you should:

·       Be able to define movement / migration as a “theme” of geography

·      Be able to define what is meant by push and pull factors of migration.

·       Be able to ompare and contrast (a) migration streams from (b) movement via dispersion and give examples.

·       Be able to describe using spatial terminology a “movement” phenomenon, aka migration phenomenon and analyze geographic factors. Examples include (I need good images):

o      Hispanic workers FROM California TO Utah;

o      Winter “snowbird” migrations FROM Salt Lake City TO St George

o      Phalarope migrations TO and FROM Great Salt Lake to Bolivia

·       Be able to observe evidence of migration / movement patterns (for example, interstate highways versus Pony Express routes across Utah ) and explore causation... “why” questions about location / geography.

·       Be able to present observations and pose hypotheses of why some areas of Utah have transportation grids and others do not… using terms such as “push” “pull” “barriers” and “desire lines”.



MOVEMENT / MIGRATION is the fourth of the “five themes of geography” the others being (1) location, (2) place, (3) interaction, and (5) region. Because movement takes place in space, it is fundamentally spatial, fundamentally a theme of geography.


Terms to understand with respect to MOVEMENT

Understand these terms (a) because they indicate mastery of content, and (b) for the mid-term (use your own words) or on quizzes. Migration and Movement are "old" terms... LINKS to Opdyke, Mark My Words




Population movements

Cultural diffusion

Migration stream

Interstate highways

Push – pull of immigration

Barriers to movement

Desire lines for movement

Metabolism of a city (or state)


Coaching #1 for students of UofU GEOG3600-Geography of Utah:

Memorize The 15 Themes of Geography of Uath; and most of Utah ’s county names and their approximate locations. With respect to movement, which counties have the greatest concentration of roads per land area, and which have the fewest Why is that so. Note: before giving a top-of-the-head resonse, try using the Big Concepts to explain the geographic patterns.


Revisit EVIDENCE / OBSERVATIONS … within Utah and beyond Utah about MOVEMENT:


PLACE and MOVEMENT: This is the Place Monument

INTERACTION and MOVEMENT: Onton SLValleyInversion

MOVEMENT and the BIOSPHERE: Phalarope migration... Great Salt Lake as flyway

MOVEMENT and SOCIOLOGY – Source of  UofU Frosh

MOVEMENT and DEMOGRAPHICS- Utah Highway Map; Western Futures, projections of growh of West

MOVEMENT and HYDROSPHERE and economics, and movement-Provo River Canal Enclosure Project System jpg and C anal though Utah County


Concept #1 and #2: Movement… from… through… to AND… Movement results from and causes change.

INTERACTIONS, if you recall, were within and beyond. MOVEMENT is caused by INTERACTIONS and, in turn, causes change, again... INTERACTIONS.


DEMOGRAHICS: the census, tracks movements of peoples to and from states and publishes the net balance of gains and losses.

SOCIOLOGY: Goods and services also can be tracked. Sustainability research examines movements of goods, and energy into, through, and out from communities.

The “metabolism” of a city: what it "feeds" on and its waste produces.

Inflow includes movements of energy, water, food, other resources

Outgo includes emissions, pollutants, sewage, solid waste, liquid waste, and gaseous waste. 

LINK to old graphic of Peachtree

You would contribute to an understanding of Utah geography if you estimated the metabolism of Utah communities, even households. Such studies have been done for water.


Physical geographers track movement: my research on Great Salt Lake focuses on shorelines… how they evolve, what they tell us. Shore debris, such as gravel moves to the shore from (a) off shore; (b) on shore; or (c) along shore. 


Concept #3. Movement has direction and distance. Migration mechanisms include (a) diffusion, and (b) migration streams.

Thought questions: How does movement happen… of disease, of ideas, of automobiles? There are two primary types of migration mechanisms, and they can occur simultaneously. They interest geographers because they are spatial, and they can be modeled. Some geographers who model using GIS get jobs modeling movements.

Two types of movements:


Generally … both although one dominates.

(a) Diffusion – expansion – distance and time – Perhaps the easiest image for diffusion is chemical diffusion of two liquids.  OhioU-BioSci-Diffusion;

“gravity model” as in Newton ’s laws… “distance decay.” In words: all bodies (masses) are attracted to each other... more massive bodies attract with more force... closer bodies attract with more force. F is the gravitational force. The m1 and m2 are the masses. The denominator is radius between them, squared. And to make the math work, there's G, the gravitational constants. F = G ((m1 * m2) / r-squared). What this means with respect to the gravity model of movement is that movement progresses out from everywhere, but has attractions that make it move some places more efficiently than others... but it keeps sperading. Thin of a pandemic... or a language. Example: spread of whirling disease in fish... not just by physical "stream"... although that is true, but also by movement in every direction from the infected person's location. An example for Utah and Nevada's biosphere is: Cheatgrass monoculture LINK to NV site.

(b) Migration streams - relocation. -- Migration flows

In contrast to diffusion, migration streams follow distingtive patha. Example:   WSU/BYU/Greer, Atlas of Utah, p 90 Colonization of Utah by LDS by decades

Key to decades: red = 1847-56; orange = 1857-66; yellow = 1867-76; lime green = 1877-96; and green = post 1897.

Challenge: describe geographic patterns; examine "your county" or any other county without trying to explain the changes… just use geographic terms.


Concept: Rates of occupation, due to movement of something "foreign" into a place are usually an “S” curve … first a few, then lots and lots more, then, when near saturated, just a few. Example: spread of cheat grass until it is a monoculture of western range lands. (need a display of graph... you'll have to imagine it)


 Concept #4. Movements are directed by both push and pull factors. Understand the factors and (a) understand the migration path / diffusion; and (b) understand the web of relationships among people, places and environments.


Thought questions: Why move? What causes movement?

Consider the forces that work… physical geography and human geography??

Physical systems: In Chapter 3, Interactions and Utah Geography, a case example was winter inversions. Pressure caused movement and lack of it. Uneven distribution of mass, heat, energy are drivers of movement in physical systems.


Are there similar push / pull factors in cultural / human geography? Of course and those factors generally are geographic, meaning they have spatial distribution.

Forces that encourage migration are usually geographic because social and behavioral issues have setting and setting in the LOCATION and PLACE:

Anthro; Demog; Econ; PoliSci, , Soc

The geographer / philosopher YiFu Tuan, would argue that, just as humans have a sense of place, so we have a craving, a pull, for Escapism.


Example: the migration patterns of LDS settlers from WSU/BYU/Greer Atlas of Utah Within Utah p 90 and Beyond Utah p92

Concepts... why migrating... push or pull?... pushed from mid-west (Missouri, Illinois) and "pulled" by attractions appreciated by Brigham Young ... water, safety, landownership, federal protection, distance.

Push and Pull affect who migrates as well as where they migrate.

Cultural migrations: expansion of LDS religion; who migrated?

Migrations involve selectivity: Age, education, and language - USGS-National Atlas-1979 Language diffusion


Concept of Push:

Forces that discourage migration are often geographic. Barriers… physical and cultural

Forces that encourage migration are often geographic. Attractions… physical and cultural,  such as economic for humans, or of food source for biota BIOSPHERE.

Physical geography LINK to Utah highway map (large / coarse scale = small map) – barriers and pathways… geosphere (terrain), hydrosphere (water), biosphere (habitat and niche; climate change) and now the anthrosphere (the constructed environment.)



Why live in Davis County? Grand County? Salt Lake County? Why do you live where you live?

If one of these counties is of interest to you and you are unfamiliar with its history of migrations, take advantage of the Bicentennial Series of Histories of Utah Counties LINK. Then read from Utah’s ancient peoples to the 1990s of migration patterns.


Concept #5 – Movement… modern geography, GIS and models.

GIS – Geographic Information Systems, the geographer’s tool box makes interactive spatial modeling of movement a reality.

Tom Kontuly: Population geographers study changes in populations… migration patterns. Andrea Brunelle / Phil Dennison: pyro-geograhers study fire… modern, ancient, consequences, movements in real time, movements in longer time.

Mark Finco, formerly UofU geographer prepares map of potential fire diffusion given real time conditions of soil moisture, vegetative fuel, and weather conditions.

Harvey Miller, former UofU computational geographer, studies space-time desire lines for all sorts of purposes, from siting Walmart EXAMPLE to encouraging bicycle paths.


GIS has revolutionized geography of the 20th century… consider taking the GIS suite. GIS spells JOB. One of the obvious strengths of GIS is change detection… and change can be thought of as movement… of mass, energy, goods, services, culture… EXAMPLE - Atwood use of GIS for dissertation... showed what wasn't, as well as what was correlated


What is a model… construction of models are based on assumptions and hypotheses, meaning, predictable relationships among factors.


Concept #6 – Utah is special, in part, because of the movements and settlement of its peoples. 

These maps track settlement patterns, although with few insights to movements of Utah’s early peoples. Recall  your US history and history of Utah. Think push pull for each map. 

Pre-1675 NationalAtlas134;

From1675 to1800 NationalAtlas135

Old Spanish Trail (dashed);

Escalante-Dominguez 1776-1777(purple);

From 1800 to1820 NationalAtlas136 Old Spanish Trail (dashed);

From 1820 to 1835 NationalAtlas137 Trappers:

Peter Skene Ogden, Great Basin north to south;

John C. Fremont Great Basin east west and far flung adventures;

Jedediah Smith 1824 included South Pass and across Great Basin to California and to Canada.

From 1835 to 1850 NationalAtlas138 Fremont to California;

From 1850 to 1890 NationalAtlas139;


Atlas of Utah (WSU/BYU/Greer p. 96 and map of evolution of Nation's rail system LINK-HighCountryNews-RailSystem. Why are railroads where they are? ECONOMICS WSU/BYU/Greer Atlas of Utah p. 98 Utah mining districs, pre1900? and key


Why are interstate highways where they are? UDoT-UtahHighwayMapCoarse and UDoT-OfficialUtahHighwayMap... Push and pull factors… push includes physical barriers, pull included physicical attributes; push includes economic disinsentives; pull includes economic incentives.


Concept #7. Location of Utah’s transport systems have logic… logic that geograhers of Utah can explain.


TRAILS – around 1800 AD – preHORSES – postHORSES - travois– travois


MAP; OLD UTAH TRAILS – Smart; (Domingues-Escalante – Spanish Trail) ATLAS p078ap078c


TRAILS – of explorers around 1840s – trappers – government explorations LINK UTAH ATLAS trappers p080govt expeditions p 082


WAGON TRAILS – 1840s-1860s UTAH ATLAS Hastings LDS ROUTES Wikipedia -Mormon Trail



Link to stations SOURCE: http://www.ponyexpress.org/stations.htm LINK


RAILROAD ROUTES – of the late 19th century – LINK to HighCountryNews Evolution of US Rails; LINK to National Park Service on Promontory Point – Wikipedia: intercontinental across US – LINK across Utah – Utah RR UTAH ATLAS p096 -


INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS: LINK to a coarse scale map for your atlas for schools project.

UDoT named highways are shown on: MAP – LINK http://www.udot.utah.gov/main/f?p=100:pg:463703913541348::::V,T:,346





MOVEMENT surrounds you. MOVEMENT matters pervasively to the physical and human geographies of Utah. Change implies movement.


Imagine a midterm question... and let me coach you …

What is so important about MOVEMENT / MIGRATIONS to Utah’s human and physical geographies?

It would not be sufficient to reply to this exam question, simply, that “movement is very important to Utah’s human geography.” That statement would earn a "naive with respect to critical thinking" …

·       too shallow because (a) all of the five themes of geography are hugely important to both human and physical geographies or they would not be pervasive themes of geography;

·       not specific and it’s so easy to be specific by … drumroll… (b) thinking like a geographer of Utah…  of pairing MOVEMENT with The 15 Words of Utah’s geography.

Note… it still will not earn you even an adequate if you were to say, "movement is essential to Utah’s hydrosphere." However, if you were to write… “Movement is an implied, and essential component of Utah’s hydrosphere as water vapor moves via the atmosphere across Utah, from the west, falls on high terrain, travels into surface and ground water and, in part is diverted for urban water supplies” … that would demonstrate (a) understanding of a few concepts about 3 of The 15 words in the context of Utah geography:  migration (from, to, diversion); the hydrosphere (water cycle components of precipitation to surface and ground waters); and demographics (water diversions for cities). 

So… Practice thinking like a geographer of Utah… meaning… deliberately run through a mental checklist of possible associations of MOVEMENT, using the 15x15 matrix.

LIST of “The 15 Words”

















See movement / migration wherever you go today… how about 50 “movements” to report to yourself as you go to sleep… you’ll sleep well, long before you get to 50 as you become aware of movement of air to and from your lungs, blood transporting… etc etc…


MOVEMENT / MIGRATION is the fourth of five recurrent themes of geography. Movement is inherently spacial.

MOVEMENT / MIGRATION can be within or beyond a location. It can be from, through, and to … places / locations. It results from and causes change.

All geographers of Utah studies movement / migration either deliberately or unconsciously: for example, of transportation systems; of water movement; of cultural / demographic migrations. 

Ways to observe movement include: awareness of location (to and from); awareness of causal relationships (push and pull factors); awareness of incentives and barriers; and consequences to every one of The 15 Words of Utah geography. And don't lose track of the mission of this web-text... to empower... LINK TO IMAGE OF ... KNOW WHERE YOU ARE... KNOW WHO YOU ARE