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Geography

QuestionAnswer
What is geography? The study of spatial variation, of how and why things differ from place to place on the surface of the Earth
Absolute location The identification of place by a precise and accepted system of coordinates; also called mathematical location
Relative location The position of a place or thing in relation to that of other places or things; carries social and economic implications
Site An absolute location concept, refers to the physical and cultural characteristics and attributes of the place itself
Situation Refers to the external relations of the place; an expression of relative location
Absolute direction Direction with respect to cardinal east, west, north, and south reference points
Relative directions Culturally based points of direction; "Out West" "back East" "down south"
Absolute distance the spatial separation between two points on the Earth's surface measured by an accepted standard unit (miles, kilometers)
Relative distance A transformation of absolute distance into such relative measures as time or monetary costs. Such measures yield different explanations of human spatial behavior than do linear distances alone.
Scale The ratio between length or size of an area on a map and the actual length or size of that area on the earth's surface; may be represented verbally, graphically, or as a fraction
Natural landscape The physical environment unaffected by human activities. The duration and near totality of human occupation of the earth's surface assure that little or no "natural landscape" so defined remains intact.
Cultural landscape the natural landscape as modified by human activities and bearing the imprint of a culture group or society; the built environment
Spatial interaction the movement between different places, an indication of interdependence between areas
Accessibility The relative case with which a destination may be reached from other locations, the relative opportunity for spatial interaction. May be measured in geometric, social, or economic terms.
Connectivity the directness of routes linking pairs of places; all of the tangible and intangible means of connection and communication between places
Spatial diffusion the outward spread of a substance, a concept, a practice, or a population from its point of origin to other areas
globalization the increasing interconnection of all parts of the world as the full range of social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental processes and patterns of change becomes international in scale and effect
Region an area of the earth that displays a distinctive grouping of physical or cultural phenomena or is functionally united as a single organizational unit
Formal/ Uniform Region a region distinguished by uniformity of one or more characteristics that can serve as the basis for an areal generalization and of contrast with adjacent areas
Functional/ Nodal Region A region differentiated by what occurs within it rather than by a homogeneity of physical or cultural phenomena; an earth area recognized as an operational unite based on defined organizational criteria
Perceptual/Vernacular/Popular Region A region perceived to exist by its inhabitants or the general populace. It has reality as an element of popular culture or folk culture represented in the mental maps of average people
Earth science tradition one of the four traditions of geography, identified with physical geography in general
Culture-environment tradition One of the four traditions of geography, in this text, identified with population, cultural, political, and behavioral geography
Locational tradition one of the four traditions of geography, in this text, identified with economic, urban, and environmental geography
Area analysis tradition one of the four traditions of geography, that of regional geography
Area cartogram a type of map in which the areas of the units are proportional to the data they represent
Azimuthal projection a map projection based on the projection of the globe grid onto a plane as the presumed developable surface
Cartography the art, science, and technology of making maps
Choropleth Map A map that depicts quantities for areal units by varying pattern and/or color
Conformal Projection A map projection on which the shapes of small areas are accurately portrayed
Contour interval the vertical distance separating two adjacent contour lines
contour line a map line along with all points are of equal elevation above or below a datum plane, usually mean sea level
equal-area projection/ equivalent projection a map projection on which the areas of regions are represented in correct or constant proportions to earth reality
equidistant projection a map projection on which true distances in all directions can be measured from one or two central points
flow-line map a map used to portray linear movement between places; may be qualitative or quantitative
geographic database a digital record of geographic information
geographic grid the set of imaginary lines of latitude and longitude that intersect at right angles to form a system of reference for locating points on the surface of the earth
geographic information system (GIS) a configuration of computer hardware and software for assembling, storing, manipulating, analyzing, and displaying geographically referenced information
global positioning system (GPS) a method of using satellite observations for the determination of extremely accurate locational information
globe properties the characteristics of the grid system of longitude and latitude on a globe
international date line by international agreement, the designated line where each new day begins; generally following the 180th meridian
isoline a map line connecting points of equal value, such as a contour line or an isobar
landsat sattelite one of a series of continuously orbiting satellites that carry scanning instruments to measure reflected light in both the visible and near infrared portions of the spectrum
latitude the angular distance north or south of the equator, measured in degrees ranging from 0 degrees (equator) to 90 degrees (the north and south poles)
longitude the angular distance east or west of the prime (zero) meridian, measured in degrees ranging from 0 degrees to 180 degrees
map projection a method of transferring the grid system from the earth's curved surface to the flat surface of a map
prime meridian an imaginary line passing through the Royal observatory at greenwich, England, serving by agreement as the zero degree line of longitude
remote sensing any of several techniques of obtaining images if an area without having the sensor in direct physical contact with it, as by air photography or satellite sensors
topographic map a map that portrays the shape and elevation of the terrain, often in great detail
alluvium the sediment carried by a stream and deposited in a floodplain or delta
asthenosphere the partially molten, plastic layer above the core and lower mantle of the earth
chemical weathering the decomposition of earth materials because of the chemical reactions that include oxidation, hydration, and carbonation
continental drift the hypothesis that an original single landmass (pangea) broke apart and that the continents have moved very slowly over the asthenosphere to their present locations
diatrophism the earth force that folds, faults, twists, and compresses rock
erosional agents the forces of wind, moving water, glaciers, waves, and ocean currents that carve, wear away, and remove rock and soil particles
faults breaks in rock produced by stress or the movement of lithospheric plates
floodplain a valley area bordering a stream that is subject to inundation by flooding
fold a bend or wrinkle in rock resulting from compression and formed when the rock was in a plastic state
glacier a huge mass of slowly moving land ice
gradational processes the processes of weathering, gravity transfer, and erosion that are responsible for the reduction of the land surface
igneous rock rock formed from cool, solidified magma; may solidify beneath or at the earth's surface
karst topography a limestone region marked by sinkholes, caverns, and underground streams
lithosphere the outermost layer of the earth, composed of the crust and upper mantle
loess a deposit of windblown silt
mass movement the downslope movement of earth materials due to gravity
mechanical weathering the physical disintegration of earth materials, commonly by frost action, root action, or the development of salt crystals
metamorphic rock rock transformed from igneous and sedimentary rocks into a new type of rock by earth forces that generate heat, pressure, or chemical reaction
mineral a natural inorganic substance that has a definite chemical composition and characteristic crystal structure, hardness, and density
permafrost permanently frozen subsoil
plate tectonics the theory that the earth's crust consists of lithospheric plates that carry the continents and the ocean floor and float slowly on the plastic upper mantle, colliding with and scraping against one another
sedimentary rock rock formed by the accumulation of particles of gravel, sand, silt, and clay that were eroded from already existing rocks and laid down in layers
subduction the process by which one lithospheric plate is forced down beneath another into the asthenosphere as a result of a collision with that plate
tsnami sea waves generated when an earthquake, eruotion, or underwater landslide abruptly moves the seabed, jolting the waters above
volcanism the earth force that transports subsurface materials (often heated, sometimes molten) to or toward the surface of the earth
warping the bowing of a large region of the earth's surface due to the movement of continents or the melting of continental glaciers
water table the upper limit of the saturated zone and therefore of groundwater; the top of the water within an aquifer
weathering the mechanical and chemical processes that fragment and decompose rock materials
air mass a large body of air with little horizontal variation in temperature, pressure, and humidity
air pressure the weight of the atmosphere as measured at a point on the earth's surface
blizzard a heavy snowstorm accompanied by high winds
climate the long-term average weather conditions in a place or region
convection the circulatory movement of rising warm air and descending cool air
convectional precipitation rain produced when heated, moisture-laden air rises and then cools below the dew point
Coriolis effect a fictitious force used to describe motion relative to a rotating earth specifically the force that tends to deflect a moving object or fluid to the right (clockwise) in the Northern hemisphere and to the left (counterclockwise) in the Southern hemisphere
cyclone a type of atmospheric disturband in which masses of air circulate rapidly about a region of low atmospheric pressure
Cyclonic/ Frontal precipitation the rain or snow that is produced when moist air of one air mass is forced to rise over the edge of another air mass
dew point the temperature at which condensation forms, if the air is cooled sufficiently
El Nino the periodic buildup of warm water along the west coast of south america, replacing the cold Humbdoldt current off the Peruvian coast, associated with both a fall in plankton levels and short-term, widespread weather modification
frictional effect the slowing of wind movement due to the frictional drag of the earth's surface
front the line or zone of separation between two air masses of different temperatures and humidities
global warming a rise in the surface temperatures on Earth, a process believed by some to be caused by human activities that increase the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, magnifying the greenhouse effect
greenhouse effect the heating of the earths surface as shortwave solar energy passes through the atmosphere, also the increasing of the opacity of the atmosphere
humid continental climate a climate of east coast and continental interiors of midlatitudes, displaying large annual temperature ranges resulting from cold winters and hot summers, precipitation at all seasons
hurricane a severe tropical cyclone with winds exceeding 120 kilometers per hour originating in the tropical region of the atlantic ocean, carribbean sea, or gulf of mexico
insolation the solar radiation received at the earth's surface
jet stream a meandering belt of strong winds in the upper atmosphere; significant because it guides the movement of weather systems
land breeze airflow from the land toward the sea, resulting from a nighttime pressure gradient that moves winds from the cooler land surface to the warmer sea surface
lapse rate the rate of change of temperature with altitude in the troposphere; the average lapse rate is about 6.4 celsius per 1000 meters
marine west coast climate a regional climate found on the west coast of continents in upper midlatitudes, rainy all seasons with relatively cool summers and relatively mild winters
monsoon a wind system that reverses direction seasonally, producting wet and dry seasons; especially describes the wind systems of South, Southeast, and East Asia
mountain breeze the downward flow of heavy, cool air at night from mountainsides to lower valley locations.
north atlantic drift the massive movement of warm water in the atlantic ocean from the caribbean sea and gulf of mexico in a northeasterly direction to the british isles and the Scandanavian peninsula
orographic precipitation the rain or snow caused when warm, moisture-laden air is forced to rise over hills or mountains in its path and is thereby cooled
precipitation all moisture, solid and liquid, that falls to the earth's surface from the atmosphere
pressure gradient force differences in air pressure between areas that induce air to flow from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure
reflection the process of returning to outer space some of the earth's received insolation
relative humidity a measure of the moisture content of the air, expressed as the amount of water vapor present relative to the maximum that can exist at the current temperature
reradiation a process by which the earth returns solar energy to space; some of the shortwave solar energy that is absorbed into the land and water is returned to the atmosphere in the form of longwave terrestrial radiation
Created by: kgarner13