Tuesday, 24 April 2012


These are taken from the Edexcel IGCSE Geography textbook, and also some of my own to complete it. 

River Environments
Abstraction: the taking of water from rivers, lakes and from below the watertable (aquifers)
Attrition: A process of erosion. The material is moved along the bed of a river, collides with other material, and breaks up into smaller pieces. 

Aquifers: permeable rock that can transfer or store water below ground (ground water)

Base flow: the usual level of a river, the part of a river's discharge fed by groundwater

Catchment area=Drainage basin
Channel network: the pattern of linked streams and rivers within a drainage basin

Clean water: water that is fit for human consumption and is therefore relatively free from pollutants

Condensation: when water vapour is cooled and changes state to form water droplets

Confluence: where two rivers/streams meet
Corrasion: a process of erosion, sometimes known as abrasion. This is when fine material rubs against the river bank. The bank is worn away, by a sand-papering action called abrasion, and collapses. 

Corrosion: a process of erosion. Some rocks forming the banks and bed of a river are dissolved by acids in the water

Cumecs: cubic metres per second, the unit for river discharge

Dam: a large structure, usually of concrete, sometimes earth, built across a river to hold back a large body of water (reservoir) taken for human use
Deposition: the dropping of material that was being carried by a moving force, such as running water

Discharge: the quantity of water flowing in a river channel at a particular location and time

Drainage basin: It is a water system involving external inputs and outputs, where the amount of water in the system varies over time. It is the area where water from precipitation (rain/snow..) drains downhill into a common body of water such as a river or lake. [The area drained by a river and its tributaries.]
Erosion: the wearing away and removal of material by a moving force, such as running water
Flood plain: the flat land lying either side of a river which periodically floods
Hydraulic action: a process of erosion. The sheer force of water hitting the banks of a river

Hydrograph: a graph showing the discharge of a river over a given period of time
Hydrological cycle: the global movement of water between the air, land and sea
Impermeable: if a material is impermeable, it does not allow water to pass through it

Interlocking spur: a series of ridges projecting out on alternate sides of a valley and around which a river winds
Levee: a raised bank of material deposited by a river during periods of flooding
Mass movement: the movement of weathered material down a slope due the force of gravity
Meander: a winding curve in a river's course
Oxbow: a horseshoe-shaped lake once part of a meandering river, but now cut off from it
Pollution: the presence of chemicals, dirt or other substances which have harmful or poisonous effects on aspects of the environment such as rivers and the air
Reservoir: an area where water is collected and stored for human use
River regime: the seasonal variations in the discharge of a river
Saltation: a process of transportation. smaller stones are bounced along the bed of a river in a leap-frogging motion

Solution: a process of transportation. Dissolved material is transported by the river.

Suspension: a process of transportation. Fine material, light enough in weight to be carried by the river. It is this material that discolours the water.

Stores: features, such as lakes, rivers and aquifers, that receive, hold and release water
Stormflow: the increase in stream velocity caused by a period of intense rainfall
Stream velocity: the speed at which water is flowing in a river at a given location and time
Traction: a process of transportation. Large rocks and boulders are rolled along the bed of the river

Transfers: the movement of water between stores in the hydrological cycle
Transport: the movement of a river’s load
Waterfall: where a river’s water falls vertically, as where a band of hard rock runs across the river channel
Watershed: the boundary between neighbouring drainage basins
Weathering: the breakdown and decay of rock by natural processes, without the involvement of any moving force

Hazardous Environments
Adjustment: changes designed to react to and cope with a situation, such as the threat posed by a hazard

Earthquake: a violent shaking of the Earth’s crust

Emergency aid: help in the form of food, medical care and temporary housing provided 
immediately after a natural disaster

Epicentre: the point on the Earth’s surface that is directly above the focus of an earthquake

Hazard: an event which threatens the wellbeing of people and their property

Infrastructure: the transport networks and the water, sewage and communication systems that are vital to people and their settlements and businesses

Lahar: a flow of wet material down the side of a volcano’s ash cone which can become a serious hazard

Natural disaster: a natural event or hazard causing damage and destruction to property, as well as personal injuries and death

Natural event: something happening in the physical environment, such as a storm, volcanic eruption or earthquake

Plate movement: mainly the coming together and the moving apart of tectonic plates

Prediction: forecasting future events or changes

Pyroclastic flow: a devastating eruption of extremely hot gas, ash and rocks during a period of explosive volcanic activity; the downslope flow to this mixture is capable of reaching speeds up to 200kph.

Risk assessment: judging the degree of damage and destruction that an area might experience as a result of a natural event

Storm surge: a rapid rise in sea level in which water is piled up against the coastline to a level far exceeding the normal. It tend to happen when there is very low atmospheric pressure and where seawater is pushed into a narrow channel

Subduction: the pushing down of one tectonic plate under another at a collision plate margin. Pressure and heat convert the plate into magma

Tropical revolving storm: a weather system of very low-pressure formed over tropical seas and involving strong winds and heavy rainfall (also known as cyclone, hurricane or typhoon)

Tsunami: a tidal wave caused by the shock waves originating from a submarine earthquake or volcanic eruption

Volcanic activity: the eruption of molten rock, ash or gases from a volcano

Economic activity and energy

Economic sector: a major division of the economy based on the type of economic activity. The economies of all countries are made up of three sectors; most HICs have a fourth sector.

Energy: heat and motive power. The former provided by the sun and by burning coal, oil and timber, the latter provided by electricity, gas, steam and nuclear power

Energy consumption: the amount of energy used by individuals, groups of countries

Energy efficiency: making the most of energy sources in order to cut down on waste and reduce consumption

Energy gap: a gap created because the loss of energy caused by phasing out the use of fossil fuels is greater than the amount of energy that is being developed from new, low-carbon sources

Fossil fuel: carbon fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas that cannot be ‘remade/renewed’, because it will take tens of millions of years for them to form again

Global shift: the movement of manufacturing from HICs to cheaper production locations in LICs

High-tech industry: economic activities that rely on advanced scientific research and produce new, innovative and technologically advanced products, such as microchips, new medical drugs and new materials

Informal employment: types of work that are not officially recognized and are taken up by people working for themselves on the streets of LIC cities. e.g. shoe shining, selling stuff on the street

Non-renewable energy: energy produced from resources that cannot be replaced once they are used. Examples include the fossil fuels of coal, oil and natural gas

Primary sector: economic activities concerned with the working of natural resources-agriculture, fishing, mining and quarrying

Quaternary sector: economic activities that provide highly skilled services such as collecting and processing information, research and development

Secondary sector: economic activities concerned with making things, such as cars, buildings and electricity

Renewable energy: sources of energy which cannot be exhausted, such as the sun, wind and running water

Tertiary sector: activities that provide a wide range of services and enable goods to be traded

Transnational company (TNC): a large company operating in a number of countries and often involved in a variety of economic activities

Urban environments

Accessibility: the ease with which one location can be reached from another; the degree to which people are able to obtain goods and services, such as housing and healthcare

Brownfield site: land that has been previously used, abandoned and now awaits a new use

Congestion: acute overcrowding caused by high densities of traffic, business and people

Counterurbanisation: the movement of people and employment from major cities to smaller cities and towns as well as to rural areas

Environmental quality: the degree to which an area is free from air, water, noise and visual pollution

Ethnic group: a group of people united by a common characteristic such as race, language or religion

Greenfield site: land that has not been used for urban development

Land value: the market price of a piece of land; what people or businesses are prepared to pay for owning and occupying it

Megacity: a city or urban area with a population larger than 10 million

Poverty: where people are seriously lacking in terms of income, food, housing, basic services (clean water and sewage disposal) and access to education and healthcare. See also Social Deprivation.

Shanty town: an area of slum housing built of salvaged materials and located either on the city edge or within the city on hazardous ground previously avoided by urban development; I like to think of it as: a slum settlement (sometimes illegal or unauthorized) of impoverished people who live in improvised dwellings made from scrap materials: packing boxes, corrugated iron and plastic sheeting, often on undesirable locations such as steep slopes or on the city edge.

Social deprivation: when the well-being and quality of life of people falls below a minimum level

Social segregation: the clustering together of people with similar characteristics (class, ethnicity, wealth) into separate residential areas

Socio-economic group: a group of people sharing the same characteristics such as income level, type of employment and class

Squatter community: see Shanty town

Suburbanisation: the outward spread of the urban area, often at lower densities compared with the older parts of the city or town

Urban regeneration: the investment of capital in the reviving of old, urban areas by either improving what is there or clearing it away and rebuilding

Urban re-imaging: changing the image of an urban area and the way people view it

Urban managers: people who make important decisions affecting urban areas, such as planners, politicians and developers

Urbanisation: growth in the percentage of people living and working in urban areas

Fragile environments

Agro-forestry: the growing of trees for the benefit of agriculture: as wind breaks or as protection against soil erosion

Alternative energy: renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind power, that offer an alternative to the use of fossil fuels

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): chemicals once used in foams, refrigerators, aerosols and air-conditioning units. Their use is now banned because they were thought to be responsible for the destruction of the world’s ozone layer and for part of the greenhouse effect

Climate change: long-term changes in the global atmospheric conditions

Deforestation: the deliberate clearing of forested land, often causing serious environmental problems such as soil erosion

Desertification: the spread of desert conditions into what where semi-arid areas

Famine: a chronic shortage of food resulting in many people dying from starvation

Fossil fuel: carbon fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas that cannot be ‘remade’ because it will take tens of millions of years for them to form again (i.e they are finite)

Fragile: a term used to describe those natural environments that are sensitive to, and easily abused by human activities

Global warming: a process whereby global temperatures rise over time

Malnutrition: a condition resulting when a person is unable to eat what is needed to maintain good health

Overgrazing: when pasture or grazing is unable to support the number of animals relying on it for food. The result is the vegetation cover declines and soil erosion sets in.

Population pressure: when the number of people in an area begins to approach carrying capacity and places a strain on available resources

Refugee: a person whose reasons for migrating are due to fear of persecution or death

Soil erosion: the washing or blowing away of topsoil so that the fertility of the remaining soil is greatly reduced

Sustainable: a term used to describe actions that minimize negative impacts on the environment and promote human well-being

Well-being: a condition experienced by people and greatly influenced by the standard of living and quality of life 


  1. wow so fast! but yes add more later :)

  2. wat abt others lyk catchment area and storm flow and etc :P

  3. mcihelel, you spend so much time on here!! it amuses me! but keep up the good work lol

  4. there are some words missing but its amazing!

  5. THANK YOU <3


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Note: This blog will no longer be updated as I finished IGCSEs in 2012. Sorry! :( If you are interested in buying IB notes though, please contact me. :)