Glossary of Geographical Terms

By | February 9, 2016

Anemometer: Anemometer is an instrument used for measuring velocity of the wind.

Anticline: The arch or crest of a fold in the rocks, its opposite is a syncline, the bottom of the fold.

Apogee: The position of the moon or any other heavenly body, when it is at its greatest distance from the earth.

Asteroids or planetoids: Minor planets revolving around the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Atmosphere: The envelope of air surrounding the earth. The most abundant among its constituents are nitrogen and oxygen.

Avalanche: A large mass of snow and ice at high altitude, sliding down slope on a mountain. Usually a large amount of rock material is also involved in an avalanche.

Beach: A gently sloping strip of land along the coast. Thus lies between the high and low tide levels and is formed by depositional action of waves.

Canyon: A narrow, deep, steep-sided river valley cut in the soft rocks.

Cape: A headland, a more or less pointed piece of land jutting out into the sea.
Cartography: The art of drawing maps and charts.

Climate: The average weather conditions of region throughout the seasons.

Climatology: The science studying climates and their influence on other components of environment.

Cloud: A mass of tiny water droplets or ice crystals formed by condensation of water vapour in the atmosphere.

Condensation: The process by which a substance changes from vapour to liquid.

Convection currents: Due to the instability in air some vertical motions in the atmosphere are set up which are made more or less in the form of currents.

Colour of the sky: Seems blue colour because of the selective scattering of light in the atmosphere by gases and dust particles.

Downs: Grasslands of Australia.

Estuary: Mouth of a river where tidal effects are evident and where fresh water and sea water mix.
The term also refers to river valleys which have been flooded by sea due to coastal subsidence.

Fauna: The animal life of region or a geographical period.

Flora: The plant life of a region or geological period.

Geosyncline: a large depression or trough in the earth’s crust, that is a syncline on a large scale.

Geyser: A thermal spring which throws up a jet of hot water and steam intermittently.

Glacier: A moving mass of ice.

Gorge: A narrow and deep valley of river.

Great circle: A circle on the earth’s surface whose plane passes through its centre and thus bisects it into two hemispheres.

Gulf: A large, deep bay.

Hinterland: Area from which a port gets most of its imports.

Humidity: State of the atmosphere with respect the water vapour it contains.

Humus: Decomposed and partly decomposed organic matter in the soil.

Hydrology: The study of water content on the earth.

Hygrometer: Instrument used for measuring humidity in the atmosphere.

Iceberg: A mass of land ice which has been broken off or carved from the end of a glacier and is afloat in the sea.

Insolation: Energy radiated from the sun received by the earth.

Isobars: Lines of equal pressure.

Isobaths: Lines of equal depth in the sea.

Isogonals: Lines connecting the places.

Isohyet: a line on a map connecting points having the same amount of rainfall in a given period.

Lagoon: Part of sea partially cut off from it by deposits of sand or coral reefs, viz. Chilika Lake in Odisha.

Lapse rate: The rate of change of temperature in atmosphere with height; it is said to be positive when temperature decreases with height, as it normally does and negative when temperature increases with height, as in temperature inversion.

Leaching: The process by which soluble substances are washed out of the upper layers of the soils into lower layers by percolating rainwater.

Leeward: The side or direction sheltered from the wind.

Lithosphere: The solid crust of the earth.

Meridian: A line of longitude, or half of one of the great circles that passes through the poles and cut the equator at right angles.

Meteors: Small pieces in the atmosphere appearing as shooting stars.

Moraine: The debris of fragments of rock materials brought down with the movement of glacier.

Oasis: Oasis is an area in the desert where water is available.

Peninsula: A stretch of land covered three sides by water and one side by land.

Perigee: The point in the orbit of moon or a planet or in the apparent orbit of the sun.

Planetary winds: The general distribution of winds through out the lower atmosphere which is determined by differences in isolation and would be set up similarly on any rotating planet possessing an atmosphere.

Plateau: Extensive level or near level area of elevated land.

Precipitation: Falling water (in liquid or solid form, as the case may be) from the atmosphere to the earth.

Radiation: Process by which a body emits radiant energy, viz – in the form of heat.

Rain shadow: Area having relatively lower rainfall because it is shattered from the prevailing rain-bearing winds by a range of mountains of hills.

Reef: Range of rocks lying near he surface of the line sea, which may be visible at low tide, but usually covered by water.

Seismograph: Instrument used for measuring and recording earthquake shocks.

Seismology: Science of the study of earthquake.

Sericulture: The culture of silkworms for production of raw milk.

Smog: Fog heavily laden with smoke.

Soil erosion: The wearing away and loss of soil manly by the action of wind and water.

Strait: Narrow stretch of sea connecting two extensive area of sea.

Syncline: Trough or inverted arch of a fold in rock strata.

Sublimation: Change of state of water from solid to vapour directly or vice versa.

Temperature inversion: Condition when the temperature is found to be increasing instead of decreasing the height.

Tributary: Smaller river which joins a larger river.

Tropics: The Tropics of Cancer and the and Tropic of Capricorn located at degrees N and S, respectively, are the Northward and Southward limits up to which the sun’s vertical rays can reach.

Tsunami: A large sea wave caused by an earthquake in one season and xerophyte in the other.

Viticulture: The culture of grapevine.

Volcano: Vent in the earth’s crust caused by magma forcing its way to the surface through which molten or solid rock low from the interior of the earth.

Watershed: Elevated boundary line separating head streams which are tributaries to different river systems or basins.

Willy-willy: Tropical cyclone in the Pacific near the east coast of Australia