Physical Geography Flashcards

Terms Definitions
metamorphosed limestone
pretty soft
non-bedrock rocks and soil
submergent coast
islands, low-lying coast
in between troposphere and stratosphere, where temperature begin to rise again
low-pressure systems that have counter-clockwise inspirals (in N)
steeper gradient spots (ex: waterfalls)
perpendicular to beach, prevents longshore drift
natural terrestrial surface layer containing minerals, organic matter, and living organisms
aggressive hydrogen ion substitution for cations in minerals
sling psychrometer
measure humidity, two thermometers, one dry and one wet
along beach to prevent coastal erosion, manmade, often no beach at high tide; doesn't allow deposit of sediment
simple mixture of gases, odorless, tasteless, colorless, formless
Coriolis effect
apparent deflection of moving materials in a rotating reference frame (things are deflected because of Earth's turning - to right in N, to left in S)
Q=VxA where V=average velocity and A=cross sectional area
"rotten rock," lies under soil and above bedrock
pounds per square inch, atmosphere is 15
soil creep
very slow downslope movement of soil
clues: bent tree trunks and rock layers
lines of equal pressure on weather maps
area inundated when water flows over, usually flat
percent of non-mineral space in a rock, sediment, or soil (void space)
extent to which fluids can pass through a rock, sediment, or soil (connected void spaces)
dissolved load
from chemical weathering (like granite - Na Feldspar - clay mineral + Na+1 ion)
found under water table, in saturated zone, flows downhill
saturated zone
filled with water, above unsaturated zone
base level
sea level, lowest elevation stream can flow to
watershed/drainage basin
area that contributes water to a particular river
the lowering of the Earth's surface by removal of materials
rate at which water is provided to water table
air parcel
body of air with specific temperature and humidity
littoral/longshore drift
zigzag particle motion from swash and backwash causes overall movement of sand/land
tendency of air parcel to stay in same place, determined by difference in temperature of parcel and surrounding air
thermal expansion
outside of rock gets hot (forest fire) while inside stays cold 
causes fractures
bed load
stuff on river bottom that rolls along with current
saturation curve
shows amount of water that can be held at given temperature
What is geomorphology and geomorphologic agents?
What is climateology, soil geography, hazards and global climate modeling? Hint: Areas of study in physical geography
Geomorphology: study of landforms and the processes that shape them
Geo-Agents: Causes of the processes
Soil Geography:Scientific discipline dealing with distribution of soil types in landscapes, describing this distribution according to geographical rules.
Hazards: Natural disaster such as Hurricanes
What is geomorphology and geomorphologic agents?
What is climateology, soil geography, hazards and global climate modeling? Hint: Areas of study in physical geography
Climatology: The study of climate, looking at weather conditions averaged over a period of time.
Global Climate modeling: A system of differential equations based on the basic laws of physics, fluid motion, and chemistry which explain changes in on the Earth.
What are the layers of Earths atmosphere and how are they categorized?
Earth is like a machine. Earth is a system divided into subsystems.
The earth's physical systems are comprised of five major subsystems: biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. Those subsystems interact with each other. Change in each of the subsystems impact the earth's physical and biological characteristics.
What are the layers of Earths atmosphere and how are they categorized?
Lithosphere: Rocks
Biosphere: Living Things
Atmosphere: Air
Cryosphere: Ice
Hydrosphere: Water
What is a geographic grid?
A system of imaginary circles known as parallels (latitude) and meridians (longitude)
What is a geographic grid?
Distance between two latitude lines is equal to 111 kilometers
Distance between two longitude lines at the equator is also 111 km but as you go north or south the distance decreases
What is Geography and it's important subcategories?
Geography is the description of the Earth through the studying of the evolving character and organization of the Earth's surface.
What is Geography and it's important subcategories?
Regional: How earth's surface is differentiated in "places"
Systematic: Process that lead to creating these places
What are time scales? \
What does diurnal mean?
The geologic time scale provides a system of chronologic measurement to time that is used by geologists to describe the timing and relationships between events that have occurred during the history of the Earth.
What are time scales? \
What does diurnal mean?
Diurnal: Animals that are active during the day. Or it means having a daily cycle or occurring every day; "diurnal rotation of the heavens"

What are some geographic tools and how are they used?
Maps, GIS, Remote sensing, mathematics modeling and statistics
What are some geographic tools and how are they used?
GIS or Geographic information System is a system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and presents data that are linked to location.
Remote Sensing is Remote sensing is the examination or the gathering of information about a place from a distance. Such examination can occur with devices (e.g. - cameras) based on the ground, and/or sensors or cameras based on ships, aircraft, satellites, or other spacecraft.
How does the earths rotation, axis, inclination, and direction effect geography?
The axis tilt causes the change in seasons.
The rotation of the earth marks a 24 hour period.
The inclination of the Earth also helps to create seasons since the axis is on a tilt
How does the earths rotation, axis, inclination, and direction effect geography?
The axis of rotation sets a reference for setting up geographical grid
chemical rocks
dissolved minerals
Broken bedrock is called

 102. Glaciers erode by:
Positive Feedback
Warming Promotes Warming
mountain peaks buried in sediment
Shelf cloud
massive instability in clouds
what is the living sphere
Maritime Polar (mP)
Cool and moist

 85. When sedimentary particles move in series of short bounces, the process is termed __________.
delicate instrument that detects earthquakes
High-pressure system
-also called anticyclone
-circulating body of air
-descending air
-clockwise circulation in
northern hemisphere
piedmont zone
prominent area of fluvial deposition
The steep, bowl-shaped depression at the head of an alpine glacier is a(n):
Plants adapted to dry conditions are
Minerals derived by chemical alteration of the original silicate minerals found in rock are called
secondary minerals
Positively charged plant nutrient ions are called
ozone absorbs high wavelength (UV) energy; CO2 and water vapor absorb longwave (IR) energy.
collections of minute droplets of water or tiny crystals of ice
types of glacial erosion
plunking and abrasion
In the southern hemisphere mid-latitudes, the sun will reach its highest position in the sky on the
December solstice

 125. Between ice floes, narrow strips of open water are called:
dry places
excessive evaporation may leave behind so many dissolved minerals over time that soils become salty
the material deposited directly by ice as it melts. It is an unsorted collection of big rocks, fine sediments—and everything in between
Rapid expansion and contraction of air
an artificial waterway constructed to allow the passage of boats or ships inland or to convey water from irrigation
Topographic high points in a drainage basin that separate one tributary from another
Formed under glacier where debris load exceeds capacity of glacier to transport sediment; asymmetrical hills
Between ice floes, narrow strips of open water are called:
The smallest portion of fresh water today is located in
The soil associated with clay minerals as the parent material that is associated with mud cracks is
look at today’s pattern and then would search for a similar pattern in the past
continental shelves
continents that continue outward from the shoreline under shallow seawater for hundreds of kilometers, form submerged benches or...
great circle routes
shortest distance between 2 points
lower layer of soiltransitional to the parent materialusually a deposit, but may also be regoliththe C horizon
the intersection of three or more aretes to form a point
The aggregate of social, physical, and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual or a community, i.e., the surroundings.
The lowest central pressures are found in a
Temperature tends to _____ with elevation in the mesosphere, and _____ with elevation in thermosphere
decrease; increase
Wisconsin glaciation

 146. The most recent glaciation in North America is called the:
Planets composed of frozen gasses.  They are much larger than terrestrial planets, and are much less dense.  They each have several moons and distinctive rings of particles.
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune 
the systematic study of land forms, their origin, characteristics, and distribution. Focus is on processes which shape the earth
rivers and streams have ? gradients near their headwaters
Western Intensification
Western sides of oceans, middle latitudes, warm currents
Flow faster and are wider and deeper than counterpart cold currents on opposite side of oceans
Define glacial erratic.
enormous boulders transported and deposited by glaciers, often far from their source region
a low area between mountains or hills where streams and rivers often flow, must have a bottom and sides
meander scar
The remnants of an old meandering river (without water)
When the amount of melting equals the amount of accumulation, the glacier is said to be:
William Morris Davis is noted for describing landscape evolution through a well-defined process called:
geographic cycle
A continental glacier is found in:
Antarctica and Greenland
Coastal forest is BEST associated with
the Pacific Northwest
Is PET very high or low in desert?
"The present is thekey to the past" sums up Hutton's idea, called
cumulonimbus clouds
cloud of vertical development, a storm cloud
meandering stream
most common in humid climates; swings back and forth across a valley
Dew point
the temperature at which the water vapor in the air becomes saturated and condensation begins
In a cyclone located in the southern hemisphere winds spiral
A continental tropical air mass would tend to bring ______ conditions when it arrived in an area
warm, dry
geographic cycle

 68. William Morris Davis is noted for describing landscape evolution through a well-defined process called:
tributary streams

 31. A system of low discharge streams that join a larger discharge trunk stream as water travels down-gradient are typically referred to as:.
One of the vast numbers of systems that contains stars, nebulae, space debris and star clusters that make up the universe.
They are held together by their own gravitational fields, and they are the major building blocks of the universe.
We are in the Milky Way Galaxy. 
A system by which lines of latitude and longitude are drawn onto a flat surface so as to represent the curved surface of the Earth.
Igneous Rocks
formed directly from liquit state and cover about 1/3 of earth's land area
east africa's rift valley
zones of divergence resulting fragmented trench is loaded with tall volcanoes and perhaps the eastern part will eventually split away from the rest of the continent
what is left of Lake Bonneville
Great Salt Lake
Air pressure may be influenced by the _of air.
Define adiabatic processes.
changes in temperature caused entirely by changes in pressure
Stream flow Erosion
channeled movement of water along a valley bottom
A _____ is the flat, low-lying area adjacent to a stream channel that receives overbank flow
flood plain
Barrier islands typically feature ________
lagoons, tidal inlets, coastal plains
The two types of ecosystems are called
aquatic and terrestrial
Faint Sun Paradox
Billions of years ago, the Sun produced less energy than it does today, and yet, the Earth’s temperature was very warm
stratiform clouds
grayish sheets that cover most or all of the sky
surface runoff is affected by
spring melt, infiltration capacity, and interception, intensity/duration (of the storm), topography, evaporation, and soil
Advection Fog
Transfer of heat as one air parcel moves across another. They last for a long time and are very thick.
Snow and ice tend to have albedos that are _____
lateral moraine

 112. A debris ridge along the side wall of an alpine glacier is a(n):
Geographic Grid System
The interlocking set of lines created by parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude creates the geographic grid and allows us to find an exact location.
the upper most layer of solid rock. 3 to 43 miles thick
These seaward extensions of the flood plain can be
fertile if drained
Variables that Influence Climate
-Latitude – intensity of radiation, length of day
-Seasonality – annual variation of sun angle
-Air Circulation
-Maritime/Continental – proximity to water can increase precip. and reduce temp range
a dry, barren area of land, esp. one covered with sand, that is characteristically desolate, waterless, and without vegation
Conditions that permit glacial formation include:
more snow accumulation than snow melt
The four processes of historical biogeography are
evolution, speciation, extinction, and dispersal
Pollen spores in bogs preserve
a record of past vegetation regimes
closed system
a system that is shut off frmo the surrounding environment so that it is self-contained
Disadvantages of the Koppen System
only uses average monthly temperature, and it ignores the winds, clouds, and intensity of precipitation.
The intertropical convergence zone migrates approximately between the
40 degrees north and south latitudes
The path taken by a body in space as it moves around its center of attraction.
Are there volcanoes along transform plate boundaries?
No, but earthquakes are common
lapse rate
what the air look like as it moves throughout the atmosphere
Beaches are best described as
thick, wedge shaped deposits of sand, gravel, or cobbles in the zone of breaking waves
What is Equinox?
1 of 2 points in earth's orbit where the axis is perpendicular to the suns rays and neither pole has any inclination toward the sun
Continental Arctic (cA)c stands for _____,A stands for _____.
Continental Arctic (cA)c stands for the moisture content,A stands for the temperature.
Non-Renewable Resource
When you use it all up there won't be anything left, in other words once its gone you can't get anymore
The amount of sediment dislodged and eventually swept into a stream...
is related to several factors
when air is raising (cooling) past dew point
Saturated Adiabatic Lapse Rate
How fast does energy travel, and how long does it take to get from the sun to the earth?
186,000 mi/sec 9 1/3 minutes
If you take a plane flight from San Francisco, CA to Seoul, South Korea, as you cross the international dateline the time will
advance one calendar day
if magma rises quickly to the surface...
the rapid pressure change causes gases to expand suddenly leading to a violent explosion
Recurrence interval (or return period)
the number of years between floods of equal or greater magnitude
What's the difference between exact residence times and average residence times?
exact residence time can be calculated if input = output; average residence time is calculated when input does not equal output (it's the average of the residence times for input and output)
What are the 3 factors for hurricanes?
1. Warm enough ocean water>81 degrees farenheit2. Warm enough ocean layer depth>200 feet3. Away from the equator>5 degrees N/S of equatorno Coriolis force winds
The “loops” in meandering streams may eventually become so large that they
are cut off from the main channel leaving oxbow lakes (which eventually become filled with sediment.)
In most cities, is the air warmer?
Yes, most cities dew point goes down, changing surface water balance
What are some inputs and outputs for a groundwater system?
inputs - precipitation, seepage from surface
outputs - wells, streams, lakes, oceans
What will happen if ocean drops 350 feet?
it will expose an additional 5-6% of land surface, coresponding tot he continental shelf
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