Glossary of geographical terms
Fall line: A geomorphologic unconformity between an upland region of relatively hard crystalline basement rock and a coastal plain of softer sedimentary rock
Federation: A form of government in which powers and functions are divided between a central government and a number of political subdivisions that have a significant degree of political autonomy.
Fault: A fracture in the Earth’s crust accompanied by a displacement of one side of the fracture
Fallow: Agricultural land that is plowed or tilled but left unseeded during a growing season. Fallowing is usually done to conserve moisture.
Geosphere: The nonliving parts of the Earth: the lithosphere, the atmosphere, the cryosphere, and the hydrosphere
Glacier: A thick mass of ice resulting from compacted snow that forms when more snow accumulates than melts annually.
Globe: A true-to-scale map of the Earth that duplicates its round shape and correctly represents areas, relative size, and shape of physical features, distances, and directions
Grid: A pattern of lines on a chart or map, such as those representing latitude and longitude, which helps determine absolute location.
gulf: a large area of water that lies within a curved coastline. a gulf usually is larger than a bay and smaller than a sea.
Hearth: The source area of any innovation. The source area from which an idea, crop, artifact, or good is diffused to other areas.
Heavy industry: Manufacturing activities engaged in the conversion of large volumes of raw materials and partially processed materials into products of higher value; hallmarks of this form of industry are considerable capital investment in large machinery, heavy energy consumption, and final products of relatively low value per unit weight
Hemisphere: Half of the Earth, usually conceived as resulting from the division of the globe into two equal parts of either north and south or east and west.
Hinterland: The area tributary to a place and linked to that place through lines of exchange, or interaction.
Horizon: A distinct layer of soil encountered in vertical section.
Humus: Partially decomposed organic soil material.
Hot spot: An area in the middle of a lithospheric plate where magma rises from the mantle and erupts at the Earth’s surface. Volcanoes sometimes occur above a hot spot.
Hydrography: The study of the surface waters of the Earth.
Hydrosphere: The water that covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface as oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams. The hydrosphere also includes ground water, water that circulates below the Earth’s surface in the upper part of the lithosphere.