Geography Key Words

Population distribution
The way that the population is spread out in a country or area
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Population density
The average number of people in a given area
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Birth rate
The average number of live births in a year for every 1000 people of the total population
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Death rate
The average number of deaths in a year for every 1000 people of the total population
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Fertility rate
The average number of children a female is expected to have in her lifetime in a country
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Natural population change
The change in population caused by death and birth rates only (birth rate - death rate)
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Carrying capacity
The number of people the environment can support without there being negative effects to the population.
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Optimum population
The amount of people that a region/country can ecologically support, usually less than carrying capacity
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When there are not enough people to fully maximise the potential of a country. E.g. vacant jobs or resources that cannot be fully exploited
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When there are not enough resources available in a region/country to support the entire population
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Population pyramid
A type of graph that shows the age and sex structure of the country.
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The movement of people from one area to another
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Voluntary migration
The free movement of migrants looking for an improved quality of life and personal freedom
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Forced or involuntary migration
When the migrant has no personal choice but to move
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Internal migration
Migration within a country e.g. rural/urban
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External migration
Also called international migration. Migration from one country to another
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A person who leaves a country/area to migrate to another
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A person who arrives in a new country/area after migrating from another
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A person who has been forced to leave their home and their country. This might be because of a natural disaster, war, religious or political persecution.
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Asylum seeker
A person who has left their country of origin, and applied to another county for recognition as a refugee and are awaiting a decision on their application
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Economic migrant
People that make a conscious choice to leave their home country knowing that they can return, to find a better job, improve their standards of living and quality of life.
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Internally displaced person (IDPs)
Someone who is forced to move within their country
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When someone is attacked for what they believe in e.g. their religion or political belief.
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The physical nature of where a settlement is located – the actual piece of land
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Describes settlement in relation to other settlements and physical features around it – this determines whether or not the situation will grow into a large city or remain a small town or village
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Dispersed rural settlement
An isolated building or a group of two or three buildings, separated from the next by 2 or 3 km
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Linear rural settlement
Buildings are strung along a line of communication, for example a main road, a river valley, or canal
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Nucleated rural settlement
Buildings are grouped together, initially for defence, or a common resource.
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Urban sprawl
The spread or growth of an urban area into the rural-urban fringe
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Sphere of influence
The distance or area people travel from to access a service
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Threshold population
The minimum number of people needed to ensure that demand is great enough for a service to be available and remain available
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High Order Goods (Comparison)
Goods that people buy less frequently. They tend to be more expensive and people will normally compare quality and price before purchasing
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Low Order Goods (Convenience)
Goods that people buy every day. They don't usually cost much money and people would not normally travel far to buy them e.g. bread and milk.
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Rural Settlement
A settlement in the countryside/small settlement
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Area of land around urban areas that is protected from development. Stops greenfield sites being built on and alternative like brownfield sites being used
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Urban Wedges
Urban growth allowed to take place in wedges ensuring some green areas protected throughout a city
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Brownfield sites
Disused and derelict land in an urban area that has the potential for being redeveloped
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Oceanic crust
Younger, heavier, can sink and is constantly being destroyed and replaced
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Continental crust
Older, lighter, cannot sink and is permanent
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Collision margin
A boundary between two tectonic plates moving together where, as both consist of continental crust, fold mountains form
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Conservative margin
A boundary between two plates that are sliding past each other and where crust is neither being destroyed nor formed
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Constructive margin
a boundary between two plates that are moving apart and where new oceanic crust is formed
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Destructive margin
A boundary between two plates that are moving together and where one, consisting of oceanic crust, is forced downwards and destroyed.
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Subduction zone
Occurs at a destructive plate margin where oceanic crust, moving towards continental crust, is forced downwards into the mantle and destroyed
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A mountain or hill, often cone-shaped through which lava, ash and gases may be ejected at irregular intervals
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Fold mountains
Mountains that form mainly by the effects of folding on layers within the upper part of the Earth's crust.
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A series of vibrations or movements in the earth's crust, caused when two plates ‘stick’; pressure builds up; one plate jerks forward sending shock waves to the surface
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Active Volcano
A volcano that has erupted recently
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Dormant Volcano
A volcano that has not erupted in recent history but may erupt again in the future
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Extinct Volcano
A volcano that is unlikely to ever erupt again, because no magma is being produced under it.
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The increase in proportion of people living in towns and cities
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Primary industry
An industry that extracts raw materials directly from the land or sea. E.g. mining, farming, fishing
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Secondary industry
An industry that processes or manufactures primary raw materials, assembles parts made by other industries or is part of the construction industry
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Tertiary industry
An industry that provides a service for people. E.g. health, education, retail
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Quaternary industry
An industry that provides research and expertise
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Growing of crop
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Rearing of animals
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Commercial farming
Farming to make a profit
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Subsistence farming
Farming for one's own/one's family's own consumption
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Extensive farming
Farm size is large in comparison to either the number of people working there or the amount of money spent. There is a low yield per area of land.
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Intensive farming
Farm size is small in comparison to either the number of people working there or the amount of money spent. There is a high yield per area of land.
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Shifting cultivation / Nomadic farming
A type of farming where people mover every few years as the soil becomes exhausted.
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Sedentary farming
The farming and settlement is permanent.
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Ill-health caused by a diet deficiency, either in amount (quantity) or balance (quality). Often causes deficiency diseases such as kwashiorkor.
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Extreme scarcity of food
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Natural resources
Features of the environment which are needed and used by people
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Non-renewable resources
Resources that are finite or non-sustainable and their use will eventually lead to their exhaustion
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Renewable resources
Resources that come from a sources that will not be depleted
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Heavy industries
An industry which, as it is tied to raw materials, has a limited choice of location
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Footloose industries
An industry which, as it is not tied to raw materials, has a free choice of location
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High-tech industry
An industry using advanced information technology and/or processes involving micro-electronics.
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Transnational corporation
A company which, by having factories and offices in several countries, is global in that it operates across national boundaries.
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Sustainable development
A way of improving people's standard of living and quality of life without wasting resources or harming the environment (no negative externalities)
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The increasing and easier movement of people around the world
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Just-in-time policy
Ordering components to arrive just as they are required by a company
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A place of attractive scenery or historic interest which attracts tourists in large numbers
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Human development index. A social welfare index, adopted by the UN, measuring quality of life according to life expectancy, education attainment (adult literacy and primary, secondary and tertiary student enrolment rate) and real GDP per capita.
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Quality of life
The satisfaction of people with their environment and way of life.
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Standard of living
The degree of material comfort (i.e. wealth) enjoyed by an individual, group or country.
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the hour-to-hour, day-to-day state of the atmosphere in relation to temperature, sunshine, precipitation and wind
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the average weather conditions for a place taken over a period of time.
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Prevailing wind
the direction from which the wind usually blows
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Front (weather)
The boundary between two air masses which have different temperature and humidity characteristics
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Global warming
The increase of the world's average temperature, believed to be because of an enhanced greenhouse effect.
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Animal life
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A natural system in which flora and fauna interact with each other and the non-living environment.
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The loss of moisture from water from water surfaces, the soil and vegetation
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The complete clearance of forested land
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A large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat
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The disintegration and decomposition of rocks
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Physical weathering
Weathering where there is no change in the chemical composition of the rock, due to physical processes
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Freeze-thaw weathering
Occurs where there are cracked rocks and temperatures fluctuate around freezing point, repeated freezing and thawing causes cracks to widen.
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Humus layer
organic material found in soil derived from the decomposition of vegetation, dead animals and animal waste
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Soil erosion
The wearing away and loss of soil due to the action of rain, running water and strong winds, often accelerated by human activity
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The exhaustion of the soil by growing crops, especially the same crop on the same piece of land, year after year.
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The destruction of the protective vegetation cover by having too many animals grazing on it
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Contour farming
When crops a planted around the hillside rather than up and down the slope
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***** farming
When two or more crops are grown in the same field, to shelter smaller crops from strong winds
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The turning of land, often through physical processes and human mismanagement, into desert
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The part of the Earth's structure between the crust and the core.
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The point of origin of an earthquake.
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Richter scale
The scale used to measure the magnitude of an earthquake
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The place on the Earth's crust directly above the focus of an earthquake.
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Primary hazard
Immediate effects of a natural hazard
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Secondary hazard
Hazards that are caused by the primary hazard
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Drainage basin
The area of land drained by a main river and its tributaries
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A ridge of high land that forms the boundary between two adjacent drainage basins
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Water table
The upper limit of the zone of saturation found in a porous or permeable rock, or soil
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The volume of water in a river at a given time
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A graph showing the changes in discharge of a river over a period of time
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Difference in height from the surrounding terrain
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A process of transportation in rivers in which material is rolled along the bed
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A process of transportation in rivers in which small particles bounce along the bed in a 'leap-frog' movement
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A process of transportation in rivers in which material is picked up and carried along within the water itself
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Solution (rivers)
A process of transportation in rivers in which material is carried in solution
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Erosion caused when rocks and boulders, transported by rivers and waves, bump into each other and break up into smalled pieces
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Hydraulic action
Erosion caused by the sheer force of water breaking off small pieces of rock
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Erosion caused by acids in rivers and waves dissolving rocks by chemical action
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Erosion caused by the rubbing and scouring effect of material carried by rivers, glaciers, waves and the wind.
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The laying down of material previously transported by mass movement, water, glaciers, waves and wind
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The wearing away of the land by material carried by rivers, glaciers, waves and the wind
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The wide, flat valley floor of a river where silt is deposited during times of flood
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An area of silt deposited by a river where it enters the sea or a lake
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A river or stream flowing into a larger river or lake
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Lag time
The period of time between peak rainfall and peak river discharge
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An artificial embankment built to prevent flooding by a river or the sea
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Constructive waves
Waves with limited energy, stronger swash than backwash to deposit material
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Destructive waves
Waves with higher amount energy, stronger backwash than swash to remove material
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A narrow piece of land that projects from a coastline into the sea.
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The motion of receding waves
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The rush of seawater up the beach after the breaking of a wave
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Wave-cut platform
A gently sloping, rocky platform found at the foot of a retreating cliff
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Wave-cut notch
An indentation at the foot of a cliff caused by wave erosion
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Longshore drift
The movement of material along a coast by breaking waves
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A long, narrow accumulation of sand or shingle cause by longshore drift, with one end attached to land and the other projecting out to sea, often with a hooked end
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Salt marsh
An area of coastal grassland that is regularly flooded by seawater
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An artificial structure running out to sea to limit longshore drift
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Stevenson Screen
Used to create a standardised environment to allow accurate comparable weather data. he idea is for the weather instruments to take accurate readings of the air, rather than direct sunlight or heat from the ground or from buildings
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An instrument measuring atmospheric pressure
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Max./Min. Thermometer
An instrument used to record the maximum temperature of the day and the minimum temperature of the day (diurnal range)
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Wet/Dry Bulb Thermometer
A hygrometer measures the humidity of the air.
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Rain gauge
A device for collecting and measuring the amount of rain which falls
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Wind Vane
Wind vanes are used to determine the direction of the wind
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An instrument for measuring the speed of the wind
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An instrument used for measuring the angle or elevation of slopes.
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The downward movement, and often loss, of nutrients in solution in the soil
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A broad inlet of the sea where the land curves inwards
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Chemical weathering
The decomposition of rock caused by a chemical change
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A prolonged period of dry weather leading to a water shortage
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


The average number of people in a given area


Population density

Card 3


The average number of live births in a year for every 1000 people of the total population


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


The average number of deaths in a year for every 1000 people of the total population


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


The average number of children a female is expected to have in her lifetime in a country


Preview of the back of card 5
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