Glossary of Geography 12 Major Concepts, Special Themes, Places

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Physical Geography
Closely examines the systems of the natural environment
Human Geography
Focuses on human interaction with natural environment
The Four Spheres
Location 2
Every point on earth has a specific location that is determined by an imaginary grid of lines denoting latitude and longitude.
Place 2
- has characteristics that give them meaning and character and distinguish them from other places on earth.
- Geographers describe places by their physical and human characteristics

Physical: elements such as animal life

Human:architecture, patterns of livlihood, town planning ect.
Human/animal interaction 2
Geographers look at all the effects- positive and negative- that occur when people & animals interect with their environment.

Ex. Damming a river to prevent flooding or to provie irrigation, requires consideration of the potential consequences.
Regions 2
-An area on the earth's surface that is deinfed by certain unifying characteristic.
- These may be physical, human or cultural.
- Geographers also study how regions change over time.
- Regions can be seperated by many different types of criteria; language, physical geography, income levels, etc.
Movement 2
The theme of movement helps students understand how they themselves are connected with, and dependent upon, other regions, cultures, and people in the world.
Cartography is the study and the construction of maps.
Large Scale Map
A map (eg 1:25 000 1: 10 000) which covers a small area but supplies a lot of detail.
Small Scale Map
A map which covers a large area but gives little detail.
Map Projection
An orderly system of lines on a plane surface representing a corresponding system of parallels of latitude and meridians of longtitude of the Earth or section of the Earth.
Grid systems
A grid system allows the location of a point on a map (or on the surface of the earth) to be described in a way that is meaningful and universally understood.
What are some examples of how each sphere interects and effects another?
- Oxygen in the atmosphere, minerals and fuels in the lithosphere, and water in the hydrosphere interact to create dynamic planet that provides all of the elements needed to support the life zone called the biosphere.

Take the desert for example:
The generally hot desert atmosphere leads to little precipitation in the hydrosphere. This means poorly developed soils in the lithosphere.
Wegner's Pangaea
Wegener's idea was that the continents had once been joined together in a single "supercontinent," which he called Pangaea
Continental Drift
The widely accepted view that the continents of the Earth are slowly drifting across the surface of the globe.
Plate Tectonics
The theory that the Earth's lithosphere consists of large, rigid plates that move horizontally in response to the flow of the asthenosphere beneath them, and that interactions among the plates at their borders cause most major geologic activity, including the creation of oceans, continents, mountains, volcanoes, and earthquakes.
Ring of Fire
A zone around the perimeter of the Pacific Ocean containing about two-thirds of the world’s active volcanoes.
The Rock Cycle
The Rock Cycle is a group of changes.

Igneous rock can change into sedimentary rock or into metamorphic rock.

Sedimentary rock can change into metamorphic rock or into igneous rock.

Metamorphic rock can change into igneous or sedimentary rock.
The "Big One"
Southwestern British Columbia is overdue for a big, perhaps an enormous earthquake. Although it has been 50 years since the region had a close encounter of the shaky kind--a strong 7.3 Richter-scale quake north of Courtenay in 1946--the fact is that Vancouver sits atop the most active earthquake zone in Canada and the half-century hiatus since the Vancouver Island quake means subterranean pressures are building up again.
Convection Currents
Convection occurs because the density of a fluid is related to its temperature. Hot rocks lower in the mantle are less dense than their cooler counterparts above. The hot rock rises and the cooler rock sinks due to gravity

Convection currents beneath the plates move the plates in different directions.

The source of heat driving the convection currents is radioactive decay which is happening deep in the Earth.
Divergent Boundaries (tension)
Places where plates are coming apart
Convergent Boundaries (compression)
Places where plates are coming together
Transform Boundaries (shear)
Moving along side one another

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