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IMPORTANT GEOGRAPHICAL TERMS

PUBLISHED BY: SURENDER KUMAR
OCTOBER 25, 2012

   
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                                                                                                                  IMPORTANT GEOGRAPHICAL TERMS

ALLUVIUM

 

The sedimentary matter (pebbles, soil etc.) deposited by rivers. It makes the soil fertile. Alluvial cones are formed in the course of river flow.

 

ANTI-CYCLONE

 

A high-pressure wind which blows outwards from the centre. The direction is clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere. Associated with dry, sunny weather.

 

ANTHRACITE


A lustrous, compact variety of coal containing around 90 % carbon. Known as the purest coal, it burns slowly without smoke. 

 

ANTIPODES

 

A region on the opposite side of the earth.

 

APOGEE

 

The configuration when the moon or any other planet in its orbit, is at its greatest distance from the earth.

 

APHELION

 

The position of the earth in its orbit when it is at its maximum distance from the sun.

 

ARCHIPELAGO

 

A group of islands, such as the Indonesian archipelago.

 

ARTESIAN WELL

 

Derived from Artois in France where the first such wells were constructed. Underground water is reached by sinking a shaft from the surface, and the water rises to the surface by hydrostatic pressure. Common in Australia, Punjab (Hoshiarpur) and Himachal Pradesh (Kangra District).

 

ATMOSPHERE

 

The gaseous envelope around the earth, which extends from 200-300 miles above the earth. Consists of several gases, nitrogen being the most prominent.

 

ATOLL

 

A coral reef shaped like a horse-shoe or ring with a lagoon in the centre e.g. Lakshdweep Islands.

 

AXIS

 

An imaginary line joining the North and South Poles, passing through the centre of the earth. The earth rotates on this axis.

 

AEOLIAN

 

Relating to the wind. Aeolian deposits are transported and deposited on the earth’s surface by wind action.

 

BARYSHERE

 

Refers to the innermost shell of the earth.

 

BASIN

 

A water reservoir for anchoring ships to high tide. Also an area of land drained by a river.

 

BIOSPHERE

 

The forms of life on the earth, including plants, vegetables, animals, birds and men.

BLACK SOIL

 

The black soil of Deccan, also known as Regur. Very fertile and ideal for growing cotton.

 

BORE

 

A tidal wave that  breaks in the estuaries of some rivers, and being impelled by the narrowing channel, rises as tide, and moves along with great force.

 

CANYON

 

A deep valley cut by a river running through a mountain. The most famous is the Colorado Canyon,   U.S.A., which is 217 miles long and 8 to 10 miles wide.

 

CAPE

 

The point of termination or a neck of land extending into the sea.

 

CHINOOK

 

The warm, dry wind blowing along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains in Canada and the U.S.A.

 

CHLOROPHYLL

 

Green colouring matter present in plant leaves. Plants make their own food with the help of chlorophyll.

 

 

CLOUDBURST

 

An excessively heavy, sudden and destructive rainfall, usually associated with a thunderstorm. Pahalgam and Trivandrum have often been struck by cloudbursts.

 

CONFLUENCE

 

The meeting place of two or more rivers as in Allahabad where the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati meet.

 

COLD WALL

 

A cold current that flows between Greenland and America.

 

CONIFEROUS FOREST

 

Evergreen cone-bearing trees, whose leaves are shaped like a needle.

 

CONTINENTAL CLIMATE

 

The climate experienced in the interior of the great continents.

 

CONTINENTAL SHELF

 

A part of land submerged under the sea, whose depth is not more than 600 ft. This area is the richest fishing ground.

 

CONTOURS

 

The lines joining places of the same altitude above sea-level.

 

CORAL ISLAND

 

A rock formed by the skeletons of certain marine polyps. The most famous coral islands are the Great Barrier Reef, located near Australia.

 

CROP ROTATION

 

Alternating crops (e.g. legumes followed by wheat) produced regularly one after the other so that the land retains its fertility.

 

CYCLONES

 

Winds blowing a spiral form from the regions of outward high pressure to inward low pressure. These winds bring about rain and great changes in weather.

 

INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE

 

Situated 180 meridian from Greenwich. A ship while crossing the line eastwards goes forward by a day, while westwards it goes back by a day.

 

DECIDUOUS FORESTS

 

Broad-leaved trees in temperate regions. The leaves fall off in the autumn season regularly.

 

DELTA

 

An alluvial, fertile deposit shaped like the Greek letter formed at the mouth of a river. The Nile Delta and the Sunderbans Delta are well known.

 

DENUDATION

 

Wear and tear of rocks due to natural agents.

 

DOG STAR

 

The name of the star Sirius, the nearest to the earth and the brightest of all.

 

 

DRY FARMING

 

A technique of farming without irrigation in an area with limited rainfall, the land being treated so as to conserve the moisture.

 

DOLDRUMS

 

The region lying within 5oN and 5oS of the Equator where the air rises above the ground and the pressure is low. The doldrums belt is marked by thundery conditions. Convectional rainfall is a rule every afternoon. This is a region of high rainfall, high humidity and uncomfortable temperature.

 

 

DOLOMITE

 

A semi-transparent mineral of double carbonates of calcium and magnesium.

 

DUNE

 

A mound of loose sand in a desert. Created by strong winds e.g. Thar, Sahara.

 

ECLIPSES

 

Caused due to revolution of the earth and the moon. The underlying principle is that light travels in a straight line. When the earth comes in between the sun and the moon, a lunar eclipse is created whereas we have a solar eclipse when the moon comes between the earth and the sun.

 

EL NINO

 

A phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean near the Chilean coast. Believed to create major climatic changes   worldwide. It is now believed that it has a major impact on the onset of monsoons in India. The opposite of La Nino.

 

EQUATOR

 

The imaginary line around the earth which divides it equally, the northern and the southern hemispheres.

 

EQUINOX

 

March 21 (Vernal Equinox) and September 23 (Autumn Equinox), when days and nights are of equal duration throughout the globe.

 

EROSION

 

Gradual destruction or wearing away of the land by rain, river water, glacier and wind.

 

ESTUARY

 

A broad channel such as the Thames Estuary, where the river waters and sea waters merge. Normally, an estuary is created when the flow of the river is fast due to its slope. In case of slow speed of the river, a delta is created.

 

 



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