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Geography Test 2 2


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What is Geomorphology?
The study of landforms
Plate Tectonics
Refers to how the earth's surface is built of plates
Theory of Plate Tectonics
Earth crust is fragmented into a dozen or more large and small plates that move relative to one another
Continental Drift
Put forth by Alfred Wagener in 1912-1915. It was based on the same fossils that were found on different continents.
Means "all lands". There are 14 major plates and numerous micro plates. These plates float atop the asthenosphere.
3 types of boundaries between plates:
Divergent - plates move apart (Mid Atlantic Ridge)

Convergent - two plates collide and one slides beneath the other. "Subduction" (N. Cali and Washington State)

Transform - plates slide horizontally against each other and lithosphere is conserved. (San Andreas Fault)
Hot Spots
developed by J. Tuzo Wilson

"mantle thermal plume" - plates move over the plum created island
Ring of Fire
located along western coast and extends down to South America and around the Pacific Ocean. Place of high volcanic activity
3 types of rocks:
Igneous - formed from cooling molten rock. If the magma cools slowly, it forms a coarse grained rock such as granite. If magma cools quickly, it form a fine grained or glassy rock such as basalt or obsidian.

Sedimentary Rocks - composed of particles of gravel, sand, silt, and clay. Pressure and cementing process cause rocks to form. (Silt and Clay form shale.) 2 types: Classic - made of fragments of existing rock (ie sandstone or shale) and Chemical - existing rocks are dissolved, transported in a solution, and precipitate from the solution ro form rock (ie limestone)

Metamorphic - formed from older "parent" rock (either igneous or sedimentary) under intense heat and/or pressure with considerable depths beneath the earths surface (marble - met from limestone and slate - met from shale)
weathering, erosion, and mass wasting
physical and chemical breakdown of rocks and minerals

physical weathering - breaks rocks into smaller pieces

chemical weathering - breaks rocks down chemically by adding or removing chemical elements
Types of physical weathering
thermal expansions, freeze thaw, salt, vegetation
Chemical Reactions that cause Chemical Weathering
Redox - reduction/oxidation reaction (ie rust)

Carbonation - reaction of carbonate and biocarbonate ions with minerals (ie carbonic acids)

hydrolysis - chemical union of water molecules with minerals to form different, more stable, mineral compounds (ie clay)
The breakdown of existing landforms
Agents of Erosion
water, wind, ice, and gravity
the decrease in velocity of wind, water, and ice (wind deposition=dunes and ice deposition=glaciers)
What is an earthquake?
the shaking or vibrating of the earth. It is a sudden release of energy caused by volcanos, movement of plates, and man-made sources
What is a focus?
where the earthquake starts
What is a seismic wave?
waves of energy coming from the focus
point directly above the focus on the surface of the earth
Earthquakes are measured by...
Richter Scales and Seismographs
Weather and Climate
"Climate is what you expect, Weather is what you get."
What affects air temperature?
water vapor, cloud cover, land vs. water, elevation above sea level, degree and direction of air movement, solar energy
Air Pressure
weight of air (14.7 pounds per square inch). It is measure by the barometer.
Convection System
shows pressure systems
Pressure Gradiant
difference between high and low pressure > the pressure gradiant, the stronger the winds
Sea Breeze
the wind from sea to land.

at night - cooler land surface, warmer sea surface
High/Low Pressure
occur in belts in a fixed location/latitude
Coriolis Effect
indirect curving of wind caused by rotation of earth
What affects ocean currents?
winds and water density (salinity)
3 types of Precipitation
convectional - summer rain

orographic - occurs in mts.

cyclonic - collision of cold and warm air masses between the boundary of 2 air masses
El Nino and La Nina
deals with oceanic currents. El Nino causes normally cold waters to cool down and vice versa. La Nina causes normally cool waters to be extremely cold
How much does the sea rise each year?
0.22 centimeters
Natural Resources
must be naturally occuring and a material that society deems significant
Renewable Resources
can be replaced by nature (ie trees, soil, fresh/salt water wetlands, forests
Nonrenewable Resources
finite resources (ie oil, natural gas, and coal)

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