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GENESEE ACADEMY SOCIAL SCIENCE

GEOGRAPHY TERMS

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Bay – an indentation into the land formed by a body of water and usually larger than an inlet and smaller than a gulf.

Biome – a major regional or global biotic community, such as a grassland or desert, characterized chiefly by the dominant forms of plant life and prevailing climate.

Boundary – the limit or extent within which a system exists or functions, including a social group, at state, or physical feature.

Canal – an artificial waterway.

Climate – the temperature, precipitation, winds, etc. that characterize a region. These are the long-term trends in weather elements and atmospheric conditions.

Continent - one of seven large landmasses on the Earth, which separates the oceans.

Cultural geography – the study of how people use space and interact with their environment.

Delta – the fan-shaped piece of land made by deposits of mud and sand at the mouth of a river.

Desert – an area with little precipitation or where evaporation exceeds precipitation and thus includes sparse vegetation

Five Themes of Geography

- Location – where something is:

Absolute Location – the exact position on the globe using addresses, grid coordinates, or the imaginary lines of longitude and latitude

Relative Location - the location of a place or region in relation to other places or regions (e.g., northwest of or downstream from).

- Place - Particular city, village, or area with distinctive physical and human characteristics that distinguishes it from other places.

- Human Environment/Interaction – How people change their surroundings like clearing land to make

farms; and how people adapt to their environment like building homes with insulation and central heating in cold climates.

- Movement – the moving of people, ideas, information, and products around the world.

- Region – an area with one or more common characteristics or features, which gives it a measure of homogeneity and makes it different from surrounding areas. Regions can be physical regions; land formations and climate; human traits that make up a region such as language, religion history and political boundaries.

Geography - an integrated discipline that brings together the physical and human dimensions of the world in the study of people, place, and environment focusing on the earth’s surface and the processes that shape it, the relationships between people and environments, and the connections between people and places.

Grasslands – middle-latitude grasslands are located between the temperate forests and desert biomes. Because of a semiarid climate, grasslands usually do not have tree cover except along rivers. Wetter grasslands supporting taller grasses are prairies and drier desert margin grassland regions are called steppes.

Hills – landform features that may have steep slopes but lower in elevation and characterized by less local relief than a mountain.

Islands – land form where land is completely surrounded by water.

Isthmus – a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land forms.

Lake – a large inland body of water.

Landform - the shape, form, or nature of a specific physical feature of the earth’s surface; e.g., plain, hill, valley, plateau, bay island

Minerals - a naturally occurring, homogeneous inorganic solid substance having a definite chemical composition and characteristic crystalline structure, color, and hardness.

Natural Resources – anything from the natural environment that people use to meet their needs. They are “gifts of nature” that are present without human intervention.

Ocean – one of the large bodies of salt water that covers nearly three fourths of the surface of the Earth.

Peninsula –land form where a portion of land is surrounded on three side by water.

Physical Features – natural characteristics of the earth’s surface such as land forms, climate, winds, and ocean currents.

Plains - landform feature characterized by gentle slopes and minimum of local relief .

Plateau – landform features characterized by high elevation and gentle upland slopes (e.g., the Grand Canyon area of the United States.

Population the people who inhabit a political entity or region

River – a natural waterway.

Rural – areas of low population density.

Site – the specific place where something is located, including its physical setting (e.g., on a floodplain).

Soil - unconsolidated material found at the surface of Earth, which is divided into layers (or horizons) characterized by the accumulation or loss of organic and inorganic compounds. Soil types and depths vary greatly over Earth’s surface, and are very much influenced by climate, organisms, rock type, local relief, time, and human activity.

Strait – a short narrow passageway connecting two large bodies of water.

Urban – an area characterized as a city or town where the population density is greater than in the surrounding area and is acknowledged as a major cultural, service, and production location in a region.

Watershed - an area of land drained by a river and its tributaries.

Weather – atmospheric conditions as regards to temperature, moisture, winds.

Wetlands - productive land areas that are flooded for at least part of the year.

 
 
 
 
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