Geography of Africa (Intermediate) Terms Weeks 1-5

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Desert

a very dry area receiving less than 10 inches of rain per year

Arable

land that can be cultivated

Sahel (sa HEL)

transition area in western and central Africa directly south of the Sahara Desert. It is semi-arid grassland with sparse vegetation.

Savannah

tropical grassland with scattered trees with wet/dry seasons

Escarpment

cliff or steep slope separating two nearly flat land surfaces

Cataract

a large steep waterfall

Salt pan

an accumulation of salt on the floor of a desert basin

Wadi

a channel cut through the desert by water; a dry river bed

Reg

gravel-covered plain

Erg

sand dune

Drought

long period without rainfall

Famine

extreme scarcity of food

Oasis

an area made fertile by a source of fresh water in an otherwise arid region

Nomads

livestock herders who migrate seasonally in search of pasture, food, or water

Ethnic group

a group of people that have similar racial, cultural, and language backgrounds

Subsistence farming

farming in which crops are grown for food (not for sale)

Confluence

the point at which two streams or rivers meet and flow together

Reservoir

artificial lake where water is collected

Animism

belief that plants and animals are inhabited by mostly evil spirits

Infrastructure

the permanent resources serving society's needs, including roads, sewers, schools, hospitals, railways, utilities, communication networks, etc.

Indigenous

native to an area; the original people of a region

Desertification

transformation of habitable land into desert

Refugee

a person who is forced to flee their country because of war, famine, or persecution

Gross domestic product (GDP)

total value of all goods and services produced by a country in a given year

Per capita GDP

average income for each person (calculated by dividing the GDP by the population)

Literacy

the ability to read and write

Erosion

the process by which soil or rock is worn away by the action of wind, water, or ice

Berbers

original non-Arab peoples of northwest Africa

Staple food

main food in the diet of a region

Maghreb

5 countries of North Africa west of Egypt: Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania

Desalination

process to remove salt and other minerals from water

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