Basic Geographic terms

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50 terms · Just a bunch of geographic terms from a seventh grader's text book is all.

absolute location

exact location of a place on the earth described by global coordinates

basin

area of land drained by a given river and its branches; area of land surrounded by lands of higher elevations

bay

part of a large body of water that extends into a shoreline, generally smaller than a gulf

canyon

deep and narrow valley with steep walls

cape

point of land that extends into a river, lake, or ocean

channel

wide strait or waterway between two landmasses that lie close to each other; deep part of a river or a waterway

cliff

steep, high wall of rock, earth, or ice

continent

one of the seven large landmasses on the earth

delta

flat, low-lying land built up from soil carried downstream by a river and deposited at its mouth

divide

stretch of high land that separates river systems

downstream

direction in which a river or stream flows from its source to its mouth

elevation

height of land above sea level

Equator

imaginary line that runs around the earth halfway between the North and South Poles; used as the starting point to measure degrees of north and south latitude

glacier

large, thick body of slowly moving ice

gulf

part of a large body of water that extends into a shoreline, generally larger and more deeply indented than a bay

harbor

a sheltered place along a shoreline where ships can anchor safely

highland

elevated land area such as a hill, mountain, or plateau

hill

elevated land with sloping sides and rounded summit, generally smaller than a mountain

island

land area, smaller than a continent, completely surrounded by water

isthmus

narrow stretch of land connecting two larger land areas

lake

a sizable inland body of water

latitude

distance north of south of the Equator, measured in degrees

longitude

distance east or west of the Prime Meridian, measured in degrees

lowland

land, usually level, at a low elevation drawing of the earth shown on a flat surface

map

drawing of the earth shown on a flat surface

meridian

one of many lines on the global grid running from the North Pole to the South Pole; used to measure degrees of longitude

mesa

broad, flat-topped landform with steep sides; smaller than a plateau

mountain

land with steep sides that rises sharply (1,000 feet of more) from surrounding land; generally larger and more rugged than a hill

mountain peak

pointed top of a mountain

mountain range

a series of connected mountains

mouth (of a river)

place where a stream or river flows into a larger body of water

ocean

one of the four major bodies of salt water that surrounds the continents

ocean current

stream of either cold or warm water that moves in a definite direction through an ocean

parallel

one of many lines on the global grid that circles the earth north or south of the equator; used to measure degrees of latitude

peninsula

body of land jutting into a lake or ocean, surrounded on three sides by water

physical feature

characteristic of a place occurring naturally, such as a landform, body of water, climate pattern, or resource

plain

area of level land, usually at low elevation and covered with grasses

plateau

area of flat or rolling land at a high elevation, about 30-3,000 feet high

Prime Meridian

line of the global grid running from the North Pole to the South Pole through Greenwich, England; starting point for measuring degrees of east and west longitude

relief

changes in elevation over a giver area of land

river

large natural stream of water that runs through the land

sea

large body of water completely or partly surrounded by land

seacoast

land lying next to a sea or an ocean

sound

broad inland body of water, often between a coastline and one or more islands off the coast

source (of a river)

place where a river or stream begins, often between a coastline and one or more islands off the coast

strait

narrow stretch of water joining two larger bodies of water

tributary

small river or stream that flows into a large river or stream; a branch of the river

upstream

direction opposite the flow of a river; toward the source of the river

valley

area of low land between hills or mountains

volcano

mountain created as liquid rock and ash erupt from inside the earth

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