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Geographical And Astronomical Terms - 04 - R - Z

PUBLISHED BY: SURENDER KUMAR
OCTOBER 17, 2013

   
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Geographical And Astronomical Terms - 04 - R - Z

 

Rainbow

 

An arch in the sky, which is created by the reflection and refraction of breaking up of the sunrays by tiny rain droplets suspended in the air.

 

Rain Gauge

 

An instrument for measuring rainfall at a location.

 

Rain Shadow

 

An area with a relatively lower average rainfall because it is sheltered from the rain-bearing winds by a mountains or hills.

 

Rift Valley

 

A valley with steep walls formed due to the subsidence of the earth’s crust. The greatest rift valley in the world lies between the river Jordan and the Dead Sea.

 

Roaring Forties

 

Steady north-west, anti-trade winds blowing between latitude 40 and 50 degrees South.

 

Savannas

 

Grasslands covered with natural grass in the tropical region from 5oN and S of equator to 23oN and S.

 

Sea Level

 

The level of the ocean at mean tide taken as a standard for measuring the altitudes of land.

 

Seismograph

 

An instrument to indicate the locality and the intensity of an earthquake.

 

Selvas

 

Plains covered with thick forests near the river Amazon (Brazil) in South America.

 

Sidereal Day

 

The time during which the earth makes a complete revolution on its axis in respect of the fixed stars. The time taken is 23 hours 56 minutes.

 

Simons

 

Hot winds which blow from the Arabian desert and North Africa and are accompanied  by suffocating clouds of sand.

 

Sirocco

 

The dry or wet wind that blows across the Mediterranean to its northern shores.

 

Snow Line

 

The altitude above which snow lies permanently at any place does not melt throughout the year. Generally this altitude is 18,000 ft.

 

Solar Eclipse

 

Occurs when the moon comes between the sun and the earth, i.e., at new moon.

 

Solar Day

 

The time interval between two successive appearances of the sun over the same meridian. Its length is 24 hours.

 

Sounding

 

To determine the depth of the sea at a place.

 

Standard Time

 

The time fixed for a country / region by law or general usage. In the UK, standard time is the one from the sun on the meridian that passes through Greenwich. The standard time of India is the local time of 82  degrees longitude passing through Allahabad.

 

Stratosphere

 

The upper layer of the atmosphere which lies about ten miles above the earth.

 

Sub-tropics

 

The regions lying beyond the tropics, i.e. 30 degrees to 45 degrees N and 25 degrees to 53 degrees S.

 

Taiga

 

The coniferous forest land in Siberia surrounded by the treeless, inhospitable Tundra and on the south by the Steppes. The principal trees are pine, fir, spruce and larch.

 

Tides

 

The alternate rise and fall of the surface of the sea, approximately twice a day caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and, to a lesser degree, of the sun.

 

Terai

 

The region of hot and swampy forests on the Himalayan foothills. It is a heavily forested plain, which is now extensively cultivated.

 

 

Trade Winds

 

Regular winds in the tropics between latitudes 30 degrees N and 30 degrees S, blowing towards the Equator.

 

Tributary

 

A river stream which falls into another stream.

 

Tropics

 

The land between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

 

Tundra

 

The undulating plains around the shores of the Arctic Ocean of which 60oN is the northern-most limit. The temperature goes very low i.e. below the freezing point at least for one month. The Eskimos practice hunting and fishing as major occupations and use the Reindeer as a principal animal but domesticate the dog also.

 

Twilight

 

The light emanating from the sky when the sun is below the horizon either in the morning or evening.

 

Typhoon

 

A violent whirlwind occurring in the Chinese and Japanese seas.

 

Tornado

 

A violent cyclonic storm, usually in spring or early summer in the U.S.A. and Australia.

 

Veldt

 

Elevated tropical, grassy plains in South Africa.

 

Volcano

 

Opening in the earth’s surface, which is surrounded by ejected material, thereby forming a hill, from which the heated material called lava is ejected e.g. Vesuvius in Italy.

 

Westerlies or Anti-trade winds

 

They blow between 30 degree - 60 degrees N and S of the equator, and bring rainfall on the western margins of the continents.

 

Zenith

 

The highest point in the heavens directly above our head.

 



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