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Geographical Terms Study Guide

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Updated on Jul 15, 2011

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Geographical Terms Practice Exercises

The world is a constantly expanding, changing place. As news reports come in from all over the world 24/7, it's vital to understand what reporters are describing. Today's words can help you do just that. In addition, knowing how to look at a map and understand the information it provides is an essential skill.

Words from this lesson are likely to be heard in tomorrow's headlines, not just in a geography class. By learning them, you'll know more about the world you live in and the changes it goes through on a daily basis.

DEFINITIONS

  • aquifer     a geological formation that contains or conducts groundwater; a layer of rock, gravel, or earth through which groundwater flows
  • archipelago     a large group or chain of islands; an area of sea with multiple islands
  • arroyo     a dry gulch, usually in a desert area, only wet after heavy rains
  • biosphere     the living planet; the portion of the earth in which life can exist
  • demographics     relating to human populations; statistical data about a population such as age, income, and education
  • epicenter     the focal point or focus of an earthquake; the point directly above the center of a disturbance from which shock waves radiate
  • equinox     time of equal hours of day and night; occurring around March 21 and September 22 each year
  • erosion     the wearing away of rock or soil; the process of wearing away the earth through water, glaciers, wind, waves, and sand
  • floodplain     a flat, low-lying area near a river or stream that is prone to flooding
  • hemisphere     half of the earth
  • isthmus     a narrow strip of land that is bordered on both sides by water and joins two larger bodies of land
  • karst     an area of limestone, usually characterized by caves, ravines, and underground streams
  • latitude     the imaginary line around the earth that joins points equidistant north or south of the equator
  • longitude     the imaginary line around the earth that joins points equidistant east and west of the prime meridian
  • meridian     an imaginary circle of the earth passing through the poles and any given point on the planet's surface; a line of longitude
  • perihelion     the point in the orbit of a planet or other astronomical body at which it is closest to the sun
  • reservoir     a natural or artificial place where water is collected and stored for use; a lake or tank for storing water as a backup supply
  • topography     the shape or configuration of the earth's surface; the mapping of the planet's surface features such as mountains, rivers, and highways
  • watershed     the area in which a river and its tributaries drain
  • zenith     the point in the sky directly above an observer

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Geographical Terms Practice Exercises

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