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Untouchability is Inhuman and a Crime

A publication under Free Textbook Programme of Government of Tamil Nadu

Department of School Education


First Edition - 2018



The wise
possess all

State Council of Educational

Research and Training


Tamil NaduTextbook and Educational

Services Corporation


UNIT I Fundamentals of Geography 1

UNIT II The Solar system and the Earth 23
UNIT III Lithosphere – Endogenic Processes 53
UNIT IV Lithosphere – Exogenic Processes 80
UNIT V Hydrosphere 107
UNIT VI Atmosphere 140
UNIT VII Biosphere 182
UNIT VIII Natural Disasters - Public Awareness For
Disaster Risk Reduction


UNIT IX Maps and Scale 241

UNIT X Representation of Relief Features and Climatic Data 253
UNIT XI Interpretation of Topographical Map 265
UNIT XII Weather Maps 275
UNIT XIII Field Work and Report Writing 292


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Organisations Supplying Special Publications / Databases

Geographers in State and Central
and Impart Trainings to Geographers
Government Agencies

xRemote Sensing:Publications and Public Relations Unit, ISRO HQ, AntarikshBhavan, New BEL Road, Bangalure-560
094; NRSC Data Centre, National Remote Sensing Centre, Balanagar, Hyderabad-500 037; Remote Sensing
xCensus of India Offices in different States.
Applications Group, Space Application Centre, SAC Post, Ahmedabad- 380 053;Indian Institute of Remote Sensing,
xNational Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC),
4-Kalidas Road, Dehradun- 248 001.
xCyclone, Rainfall and Weather Information: Indian Meteorological Department, Nungambakam, Chennai – 600 006.

xSurvey of India (SoI), Dehra Dun and in different
xSurvey of India - Topographic Sheets: Map Sales Office, Electronic Complex - Block II Ground Floor, Thiru. Vi. Ka.
Industrial Estate, Guindy, Chennai – 600032.
xNational Atlas and Thematic Mapping
xGeology and Minerals:Department of Geology and Mining, Thiru. Vi. Ka. Industrial Estate, Guindy, Chennai - 600
Organizaiton (NATMO), Kolkata.
032;Geological Survey of India, No A 2 -B Rajaji Bhavan, Besant Nagar, Chennai – 600090.
xRegional Planning/Town and Country Planning
xSurface and Groundwater and Climate Data: Office of the Chief Engineer, State Ground and Surface Water Resources
Data Centre,Tharamani, Chennai - 600 113; Central Ground Water Board. http://www.india-wris.nrsc.gov.in
xNaval Hydrographic Office, Dehra Dun.
xSoil Data and Maps:Regional Head, ICAR-NBSS&LUP, P.B.No. 2487, Hebbal, Agricultural Farm, Post, Bengaluru - 560
xNational Centre for Earth Science Studies,
xRainfall, Landuse, Irrigation and Crop Data:Village / Block/Taluk level Data available at Department of Economics and
xCentre for Water Resources Development and
Statistics, All District Headquarters; Department of Economics and Statistics, 259, Block II, DMS Compound,Teynampet,
Management, Kozhikode.
xCentral Arid Zone Research Institute,
xSoil, Rainfall and Weather Data: Agro Climate Research Centre, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore –
IndianCouncil of Agricultural Research, Jodhpur.
xCentral Research Institute for Dry Land
xPopulation Data:Census of India - Tamil Nadu, 'E' Wing, 3rd Floor, Rajaji Bhawan, Besant Nagar,Chennai – 600090.
Agriculture (ICAR), Hyderabad.
xNational Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use
xEconomic Appraisals & Annual Statistical Abstracts of Tamil Nadu:Stationery and Printing Department, 110, Anna Salai,
Planning (NBSS&LUP), Nagpur.
xFrench Institute of Pondicherry, Puducherry.
xSoil and Watershed Atlas: Remote Sensing Centre, Agriculture Engineering Department, Nandanam, Chennai - 600 035.
xNational Institute of Malaria Research, (ICMR), http://www.aedatlas.tn.nic.in
New Delhi.
xGIS Data Layers of Tamil Nadu:Tamil Nadu Geographical Information System (TNGIS), Chepauk, Chennai – 600 005.

Universities and Colleges Offering B.Sc., M.Sc., in Geography and

Competitive examinations comprising Geography
M.Tech Programme in Geoinformatics in Tamil Nadu
subject matter are listed below

xDepartment of Geography, University of Madras, Chepauk, Chennai – 600 005.

xDepartment of Geography, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai - 625 021.
xDepartment of Geography,BharathidasanUniversity,Tiruchirappalli - 620 024.
xDepartment of Geography, Central University of Tamil Nadu, Thiruvarur –610 005.
xDepartment of Environmental Remote Sensing and Cartography, Madurai KamarajUniversity, Madurai - 625 021.
xUPSC civil service examinations conducted by xDepartment of Geography, Presidency College (Autonomous),Chennai – 600 005.
Govt. of india. xDepartment of Geography,Queen Mary’s College (Autonomous), Chennai - 600 004.

xTamilnadu Public Service Commission Group xDepartment of Geography,Bharathi Women’s College (Autonomous), 85, PrakasamSalai, Chennai-600 108.
services Examinations conducted by Govt.of
xDepartment of Geography, Tourism and Travel Management, Madras Christian College
(Autonomous), Tambaram, Chennai - 600 059.
xTeachers Recruitment Board,School education
xDepartment of Geography, Government Arts College (Autonomous),Salem – 636 007.
and Collegiate education,Govt.of Tamilnadu.
xDepartment of Geography,Sri Vijay Vidyalaya College of Arts and Science, Nallampalli, Dharmapuri – 636807.
xDepartment of Geography,Arignar Anna Government Arts College, Namakkal – 637002.
xDepartment of Geography, Government Arts College (Autonomous), Coimbatore - 641 018.
xDepartment of Geography, Nirmala College for Women (Autonomous), Coimbatore – 641 018.
xDepartment of Geography, Bharathiar University Arts & Science College, Amaikulam,
PuliamParai (P.O.), Gudalur - 643 212.
xDepartment of Geography, Government Arts College (Autonomous), Karur – 639 005.
xDepartment of Geography, Periyar E.V.R. College (Autonomous), Tiruchirappalli – 620 023.
xDepartment of Geography,Government Arts College,Thiruverumbur, Tiruchirappalli – 620 022.
xDepartment of Geography,KundavaiNachiar Government Arts College for Women (Autonomous), Thanjavur - 613 007.
xDepartment of Geography, A.V.V.M Sri Pushpam College (Autonomous),Poondi - 613 503, Thanjavur District.
xDepartment of Geography, Government Arts College (Autonomous), Kumbakonam- 612 002.
TNPSC TRB xDepartment of Geography, Government Arts College for Women (Autonomous), Kumbakonam - 612 002.
xDepartment of Geography,SriMeenakshi Government Arts College for Women (Autonomous),Madurai – 624 002
xDepartment of Geography, MVM Government Arts College for Women, Dindigul - 624 008..
xDepartment of Geography, Government Arts College for Women, Nilakottai - 624 208, Dindigul District.
Unit I

of Geography

Chapter Outline Learning Objectives:

1.1 Introduction • Define the concept of geography
1.2 Defining Geography • Appreciate the developments of
1.3 Evolution of Geography geography
1.4 Themes of Geography • Understand the traditions and
1.5 Geography’s Relation with Physical themes of geography
and Social Science Disciplines
• Associate the relationship of
1.6 Approaches to the study of
geography with other disciplines
• Identify the approaches to study
1.7 Branches of Geography
1.8 Geographical Tools and Skills
• Examine various branches of
1.9 Geography in Tamil Nadu
1.10 Databases for Geography
Teaching and Learning • Appreciate the tools, skills and
scopes of geography
1.1 Introduction
“The study of Geography is about more from geography. It is a subject much
than just memorising places on a map. needed in everyday life .Unfortunately, in
It is about understanding the complexity the recent past it has been demoted to the
of our world, appreciating the diversity back seat in most parts of the world, while
of cultures that exists across continents. certain other sciences hold prominent
And in the end it is about using all that places in the society. Just as an intellectual
knowledge to help bridge divides and bring understands the value of a library, a
people together” - Barak Obama, Former financier understands the value of money,
President of USA. a parent understands the value of their
The subject ‘Geography’ was child a geographer understands the value
considered as ‘The Mother of all Sciences’ of our planet earth and the wealth of
as most streams of sciences took root resources it offers to us. A society that

lacks sufficient geographic knowledge new lands, sea routes, prepare maps and
cannot be expected to exhibit its strength describe them. Later, its emphasis had
of resource potentials and empowerment shifted to scientific investigation of earth’s
to make decisions in real-world context. landforms, oceans and atmosphere, as well
Therefore, the knowledge of geography is as the interactions with human beings and
very much vital for the care and concern the environment.
of the earth, growth and development of In essence, geography can be defined
every country and for minimising the as a multifaceted discipline studying intra
issues related to human activity. In this and inter relationships of various spheres
context, the National Geographic Society, of the earth, collects and analyses relevant
USA defines geographic literacy as being data, applies the latest tools and methods
equipped to understand the complexity to prepare maps and visuals and provides
of the world, how our decisions sustainable solutions to human and
affect others (and vice versa), and the environmental issues of the earth.
interconnectedness of this rich, diverse,
and not-so-large world. 1.3 Evolution of Geography
This unit introduces the student to Geography had evolved over a long period
the foundations over which the subject of time. Some of the earliest geographical
had developed in the past, the content studies go back about four thousand
it offers now and the changes that it had years ago through explorations. The early
undergone. It also opens the door to explorers travelled and tried to map the new
the world of  physical geography and the places. The evidences of such explorations
practical skills to be acquired to understand come from the archaeological discovery of
geography which are explained in the a Babylonian clay tablet map that dates back
units following this. to 600 BCE. During this time, Phoenician,
Chinese and Egyptian civilisations were
1.2 Defining Geography in the beginning to explore places outside
Geography is one of the oldest earth sciences their homelands. It was the ancient Greek
and its roots date back to the works of the early scholars who laid the foundations and gave
Greek scholars. The term ‘Geography’ was a solid form to geographic studies and on
coined by the Greek scholar Eratosthenes these foundations, the pillars of modern
who combined two Greek words ‘Geo’ geography were erected by others in the
(The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe). subsequent ages. The Romans, the Arabs,
Therefore, in the literary sense, geography is the Indians, the Chinese, the Germans,
the description of the Earth. Over the ages, the French, the British and the American
geography has become the art and science geographers have contributed to the
of studying the physical characteristics of development and enrichment of the subject.
the earth and man’s role in adapting to and The Greek philosophers and scientist
modifying the environment. focused on the spatial nature of human
Geography was born through and physical features of the Earth. The
explorations and discoveries. Earlier, first Greek geographer was Herodotus
the aim of geography was to discover (484 - 425 BCE) who wrote a number
of volumes on the human and physical discovery. Making of maps (cartography) was
geography of the Persian Empire. important in the discipline of geography due
The other early Greek  contributors to to the emphasis on location of phenomena
geography are,  Thales, Aristotle and on the earth surface, e.g. location of trade
Eratosthenes (276 - 194 BCE). routes, relief features and settlements.
The earlier geographers were
1.3.2 The period between 1800 -1950
descriptive geographers concerned with
The period between 1800 and 1950 was
answering questions like ‘what is where’
characterised by the work of various
on the earth and the question like ‘why it
individual philosophers who helped
is there’ came later. Geographers study the
to expand the scope of geography. The
location of the activities, carefully identify
discipline of geography became more
patterns using maps and find out the
distinct as a subject matter. Geographic
reasons for these patterns. The areas are
knowledge saw strong growth in Europe
then described based on the distribution
and the United States in the 1800s. This
of land forms, population, housing and
period also saw the emergence of a number
agriculture. They discover the linkages
of societies interested in geographic issues.
and movements between places and are
In Germany, Alexander Von Humboldt,
able to infer the spatial processes that are
Carl Ritter and Friedrich Ratzel made
working in these areas.
substantial contributions to human and
The development of geography can be physical geography. Humboldt’s publication
summarised in three phases namely (1) ‘Kosmos’ in 1844, examines the geology and
The age of discovery (1400-1800), (2) The physical geography of the earth. This work
period between 1800 and 1950 and (3) is still considered by many academics as a
The period after 1950. milestone contribution to geography.
1.3.1 The age of discovery between There are two schools of thought that
1400-1800 emerged during this period as an attempt
The period between 1400 and 1800 was when to explain the relationship between human
the subject matter and the methodology beings and their environment. These
of geography were not fully developed. were environmental determinism and
The discipline was in an embryonic possibilism. Proponents of environmental
stage. This period was characterised by deterministic school of thought such as
exploration, discovery and conquest Mackinder, Ellen Semple and Huntington
through the voyages of Vasco da Gama believed that human actions and activities
and Christopher Columbus. Numerous were moulded by the physical (natural)
journeys of geographical exploration were conditions. In several developing
commissioned by a number of Nations in countries, human beings are susceptible
Europe (Figure. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4). Most of to natural disasters such as drought,
these voyages were financed because of the famine, floods and earthquakes. Human
potential commercial returns from resource beings under such natural conditions
exploitation. The voyages also provided an usually surrender to nature. A good
opportunity for scientific investigation and example of environmental determinism is

the influence of the natural environment happen in the future. If we can predict
on human activities such as nomadic successfully, we can plan and limit the
pastoralism. Nomadic pastoralism is extreme possibilities.
so much dependent on the natural One of the important developments
environment. Pastoralists do very little to in this period was the use of quantitative
modify their environment. techniques in physical and human
geography. These techniques refer to various
statistical tools that are used to synthesise
the data from maps, field, laboratories and
questionnaires. Quantification came about
as a result of the expanding scope of the
discipline as well the need to understand
the processes that were becoming more
Ratzel La Blache diversified and complicated.
This quantitative revolution was
The proponents of possibilistic school
referred to as a revolution because it
of thought, such as Vidal de la Blache saw
marked a new beginning in the way the
the environment as a limiting factor rather
subject matter of geography was to be
than as a deterministic force. According
studied. The quantitative revolution
to the possibilism school of thought,
involves the use of statistics, mathematical
human beings have several alternatives in
equations and the use of deterministic
their environment and their actions are
models. Many geographers believed that
influenced by the decisions they make in
numbers are more precise, and therefore
the environment. For instance, humans
perceived as more scientific compared to
can survive in hot or extremely cold
words. The map, both as graphic language
conditions due to their ability to modify the
and visual representation, continues to be
environment to suit them. A good example
used as a geographical tool and at present
is that in many arid countries such as Israel,
with the valuable assistance of remote
humans have overcome the constraints set
sensing and Geographical Information
by the natural environment such as low
Systems, map making has become digital
rainfall, high temperatures and poor soils.
and easier especially due to advances in
1.3.3 The period after 1950 computer and software technologies.
Until 1950s, geography was more of an
1.4 Themes of Geography
art subject where facts were established
by casual observation in the field rather In any subject there will be certain themes,
than by careful measurement and around which the scholars work and
hypothesis testing. In the 1950s there was contribute. In this way, geography subject
a new development in the discipline and also has certain traditional themes. Let us
several laws were established to explain look at them carefully. In 1963, William
geographical phenomena. Using the D. Pattison identified the core themes of
laws, it is possible to predict what will geographic studies as ‘The Four Traditions

Figure 1.3 Vosco da Gama


How might the ship that Columbus traveled have sailed at the time when no engine and
power fuel available?

Christopher columbus’ Bay
voyages N

Saint Lawrence
NORTH Mississippi

Gulf of
2 -15
Not to Scale

Figure 1.4 Christopher Columbus’s Voyages to America

(relationship between man and his physical 1.4.1 Location
environment) and Earth science tradition Every point on earth has a location. The
(processes of the earth). location can be described in two different ways:
• Absolute location is a location
Five Themes in as described by its latitude and
Geography longitude on the  earth. For example,
the coordinates of  Chennai Central
Themes of Geogra-
Railway station are 13°04'56" N
phy  are the educational
latitude and 80°16'32" E longitude.
tools for understanding  the geography
• Relative location is the position of a
subject in detail. It was adopted in the
place in relation to another well-known
year 1984 by the Association of American
landmark. For example, Kallanai Dam
Geographers and these five themes were
or Grand Anicut is located roughly 350
published in the National Council for Geo-
km south –southwest of Chennai City.
graphic Education/Association of Ameri-
The absolute and relative location
can Geographers’ publication  Guidelines
related surveys and studies fall under
for Geographic Education.
this category.

Like the major traditions identified in 1.4.2 Place

geography, the significant themes of the A place is an area that is defined by
subject are also identified. The Association everything in it. All places have features
of American Geographers put forward the that give them personality to distinguish
‘Five themes of Geography’ and it has been them from other places. A number of
widely accepted by geographers worldwide place names in Tamil Nadu, like Redhills,
(Figure1.5). The themes are location, Fort St. George, Mint, and George Town
place, human – environment interaction, are examples to this theme.
movement and regions.
Student Activity
1. Find the absolute location of your
2. Find the important towns within
a radius of 100 km from your
Region Place residence or school along with
Themes of their direction.
3. Find how the name of your village
or town came into existence.
Human– 4. Find the total population of your town
Movement Environment or village as per 2011 census.
5. Find the altitude of your village or
town from Mean Sea Level.
Figure 1.5 Themes of Geography
• Toponym: A place name, especially one 1.5 Geography’s Relation with Physical
derived from topographical feature. and Social Science Disciplines
• Site: An area of ground on which a town, While defining geography, we have seen that
building, or monument is constructed. some branches of geography have strongest
• Situation: The location and surround- affiliations with subjects like mathematics
ings of a place. and environmental sciences, while others
have very close connection with history and
1.4.3 Human-Environment Interaction sociology. Some subjects deal with distinctive
The theme describes how people interact type of phenomena while geography
with the environment and how the examines several kinds of phenomena
environment responds. These are studied together. The diagram (Figure 1.6) gives clear
with reference to the following three key idea about the relationship of geography with
concepts: other disciplines.
• Dependency: How humans depend on
the environment (Example: For water, Relations with Physical Sciences
fresh air, sunlight etc.) 1.5.1 Astronomy, Mathematics,
• Adaptation: How humans adapt to the Computer Science and Geography:
environment (Example: Life in polar or Astronomy basically deals with the
desert regions) celestial bodies including stars, planets,
• Modification: How humans modify the satellites, their motions, constellations,
environment (Example: Construction as well as different kinds of phenomena
of Underground Metro rail, Agriculture occurring in the outer space. The precise
in Israel). location, nature of movements, form and
size of celestial bodies, including those
1.4.4 Movement of the solar system, have been accurately
Movement is the network of travel of measured with the help of mathematics.
people, goods and ideas from one location The interaction of astronomy, mathematics
to another. Examples: Rural-urban and computer science with geography has
migration and metro train commuting paved way for the development of modern
in Chennai. Air transport which carries cartography and GIS.
people and goods and the internet that
allows access to ideas and knowledge 1.5.2 Geology and Geography:
across the world are also examples of this Geology is the study of rocks, their types,
kind. distribution, mineral content, petroleum,
etc. The subject investigates all these
1.4.5 Region phenomena, classify them and put them
Regions are areas with distinct homogenous in a sequence. Geography interacts with
characteristics such as climate (Monsoon the subject in studying the distribution of
regions), natural vegetation (Tropical rain exposed rocks, interaction with climate
forests), crops (Corn Belt of USA), major and human activities, economic prospects
landforms (Himalayan region), industries of the minerals and so on. Interaction
(Chota-Nagpur plateau) etc. between geology and geography leads to

formation of the new branch of study called soil, surface and groundwater, atmosphere
geomorphology, the study of landforms. are the interests of the geographers. They
study how the physical and chemical
1.5.3 Physics, Chemistry and Geography: contents are disturbed by human activities
As geography is the study of variable and vice versa.
phenomena on the earth’s surface, the
dynamic mechanism of the phenomena 1.5.4 Botany, Zoology and Geography:
requires to be studied within the framework The systematic branches of botany and
of physics. The physics of atmosphere is zoology have traditionally been confined to
studied under climatology and the physics the classification and description of various
of hydrosphere through oceanography, and kinds of species on the earth’s surface.
both the subjects investigate, interpret and Geography, being the study of the spatial
explain the atmospheric and hydrological section of earth’s surface, attempts to study
processes. The chemical contents of rocks, the distributional aspects of flora and fauna

gy opo
lo log
ocio An y
S ial
Soc phy Ge throp
gra rap o
Geo hy


His graph
rap ic


Ge nom




IS y

d G ph
B ota n

ie n ce
an gra

Co t h e m m y
u te i c s

y, Z

r Sc


M a t ro n

Oc limat



an eano ology y


d h gra o
rol phy o rph
Me og
y e om
te o G
l o gy
P ro l o Ge o
C h hy s i c s g y
istr y
Figure 1.6 Relationship of Geography with Physical and Social Science Disciplines
especially with reference to climate and sociology and geography as it studies
relief. The integration among these subjects social phenomena in spatial context.
has given birth to biogeography.
1.5.7. Anthropology and Geography:
Anthropology attempts to study human races
The study of
and their classification. Both anthropology
‘apartheid’ (a system
and geography seek to identify and classify the
of institutionalised
human races on the basis of their habitat and
racial segregation as
cultural traits and attempt to study the variable
existed in South Africa) is an example
racial phenomena on the spatial context of
of anthropo-geographic study.
the earth’s surface. The relationship between
anthropology and geography has resulted in
Relationship with Social Sciences the development of ‘anthropogeography’ or
1.5.5. Economics and Geography: geography of humans.
Economics is concerned with how human
1.5.8. History and Geography:
needs and wants are satisfied with the available
History is a framework of events as per time
resources. Economic geography is concerned
and place. Geography attempts to study these
with the study of resources endowment
events with reference to the physical earth
and patterns of utilisation. The economic
and depict the places of historical events
activities of the human beings including
using thematic maps. Anyone who attempts
agriculture, fishing, forestry, industries, trade
to study any historical events of India should
and transport are studied in this branch. The
always integrate the temporal and the spatial
economic activities are highly influenced
phenomena of that period together to arrive at
by the relief and climatic factors of the
a conclusion.
region or the country. Therefore, economics
and geography have close links with each
Tamil Rulers and
other, especially for integrated resources Geographic Knowledge
development. History reveals to us that
how the Great rulers
1.5.6. Sociology and Geography:
like Raja Raja Chola or
Sociology is mainly concerned with the Rajendra Chola had trade relations with
institutional aspects of the society. A other countries of the world, especially
number of investigations including social South Asian countries by understanding
behaviour, movement of people between the relief, seasons, ocean current
rural-urban areas, spatial interactions movements etc., The sailors would have
between social groups, the relations been experts in every aspect of geography
between innovation and tradition in to move their troops, sail overseas and
trade with all known nations of that time.
rural and urban areas etc., have been
They also utilised the ocean currents to
jointly undertaken by sociologists and transport teak and other valuable timbers
geographers in different countries of the from Indonesia, Myanmar, and other
world. Social geography is the logical countries to South India.
expression of the interaction between

1.6 Approaches to the Study of techniques for field studies, qualitative,
Geography quantitative and cartographic analysis.
Geography has undergone several changes
in its approach. The earlier geographers were 1.6.2. Regional Approach:
descriptive geographers. Later, geography It is otherwise called as ideographical
came to be developed as an analytical approach. It was developed by Carl Ritter
science. Today the discipline is not only
concerned with descriptions but also with
analysis as well as prediction. There are two
distinct approaches or methods to study
geography. They are:
1. Systematic approach and 2. Regional

1.6.1. Systematic Approach:

Systematic or nomothetic approach was
introduced by Alexander Von Humbolt,
a German geographer (1769-1859). In
this approach a particular phenomenon
is considered for detailed understanding.
The study of specific natural or human Born on 14 September 1769 Alexander
Von Humboldt was a Prussian polymath,
phenomenon that gives rise to certain spatial
geographer, naturalist, explorer.
patterns and structures on the earth surface is Humboldt’s quantitative work on
called systematic study. Generally, systematic botanical geography laid the foundation
geography is divided into four main branches. for the field of biogeography. Humboldt
i. Physical Geography: Study of various resurrected the use of the word cosmos
elements of earth systems like from the ancient Greek and assigned it
to his multi-volume treatise, Kosmos.
atmosphere (air), hydrosphere (water),
He was the first person to describe the
lithosphere (rock) and biosphere (life) phenomenon and cause of human-
and their distributions. induced climate change, in 1800. He
ii. Biogeography, including environmental described the Guanoco asphalt lake as
geography: It focuses on various kinds of “The spring of the good priest”. Humboldt
forests, grasslands, distribution of flora and Bonpland discovered dangerous
electric eels, whose shock could kill a man.
and fauna, human-nature relationships,
His stay in Ecuador was marked by the
quality of the living environment and its ascent of Pichincha and their climb of
implications for human welfare. Chimborazo, where Humboldt and
iii. Human Geography: It describes the his party reached an altitude of 19,286
human culture, population, dynamic feet (5,878 m). This was a world record
socio economic and political aspects. at the time. U.S President, Jefferson
later referred to Humboldt as the most
iv. Geographical methods and techniques:
scientific man of the age.
It is concerned with methods and

(1779 – 1859), a contemporary of Humbolt. into three major domains. Each one has
The regions could be classified based on a many sub divisions which deal with
single factor like relief, rainfall, vegetation, specific objectives (Figure 1.7).
percapita income or there could also be multi- a. Physical Geography b. Human
factor regions formed by the association of Geography and c. Geographic Techniques.
two or more factors. Administrative units
like states, districts and taluks can also be 1.7.1 Physical Geography
treated as regions. The main sub branches It is the study of natural features of the
of regional geography are : i) Regional earth such as land, water, air and living
studies ii) Regional analysis iii) Regional organisms. The changes taking place
development and iv) Regional planning. within and among these natural features
and their resultant features are studied
under its various branches. The branches
of physical geography are:
i. Geomorphology deals with the
distribution of land forms, their origin
and the forces causing changes over
these landforms. Geology provides
basic information to the study of
1.6.3. Geographical Data Matrix:
ii. Soil Geography is a study related to soil
The matrixis a simple method of arranging
formation, soil profile, soil types, their
information in rows and columns for better
fertility level and distribution. Soil erosion
understanding of complex spatial problems.
and conservation measures are also dealt
Brian J.L. Berry adopted this method from
in this branch.
anthropology for studying geography more
iii. Climatology deals with the study of
effectively.Geographic data can be arranged in
global and regional weather and climatic
a rectangular array or matrix. Row-wise group
conditions by analysing relevant statistical
of variables represent the systematic or topical
data. Meteorology provides basic
branches of geography while, regions are
information on the composition, structure
represented by columns. Berry has explained
and the changes in the atmosphere.
that regional synthesis could be derived with
the help of a series of geographic matrices in iv. Hydrology encompasses the study of
correct temporal sequence. Each time period earth’s realm of water such as oceans and
has been taken to be equivalent to a ‘slice’ of the surface water bodies like rivers, reservoirs
three-dimensional cake. The diagram of ‘Third and ponds. It also makes a study of
Dimension’ makes it possible to examine rows underground water and its recharge and
and columns, cutting across time. also pollution of water bodies.
v. Oceanography is the study of seas and
1.7 Branches of Geography oceans. The shape, size, depth and
Based on content and the available bottom relief of ocean, distribution of
techniques, the discipline can be divided oceans, ocean currents and various









Figure 1.7 Branches of Geography

life forms existing in ocean are also due importance. It also tries to give
studied under oceanography. sustainable solutions to these problems.
vi. Biogeography is a study of
1.7.2 Human Geography
ecosystems over geographical space.
Human Geography is concerned with
It also analyses the changes in the
the changes made by the humans over
ecosystems. Phytogeography or
the natural or physical landscape. The
plant Geography, Zoo Geography or
ethnic and political aspects are taken into
animal geography and Ecology are the
consideration. The issues like climatic
branches of biogeography.
change, natural and anthropogenic
vii. Environmental Geography is the study
disasters are also the major concerns.
of environmental issues arising out of
misuse of various spheres of the earth i. Population Geography is the study of
and their implications. The ozone layer distribution and density of population,
depletion, global warming, melting the changing patterns in age and
of polar ice caps, rising sea level and sex composition, birth and death
other related aspects are also given rates, life expectancy, literacy level
and dependency ratio, migrations

at national and international level behaviour of the population, relations
and the causes and consequences of between independent states, and
migration. patterns of voting and delimitation of
ii. Settlement Geography deals with the electoral constituencies.
characteristics of rural and urban viii. Economic Geography deals with the
settlements and transportation distribution of economic activities such
network. It seeks better understanding as, primary, secondary and tertiary.
of the present landscape and plans The primary activities include food
for the future. The study is more gathering, hunting, animal rearing,
important for town and country agriculture, and mining. The secondary
planning. activities include manufacturing and
iii. Historical Geography tries to the tertiary activities include the
picturise the geography of an area service sectors such as trade, transport,
or region as it was in the past and communication and other related
studies how it has evolved over time. areas.
The forces involved in transforming xi. Medical Geography mainly deals
region such as colonisation by the with study of geographical aspects of
Europeans or a natural disaster are origin, diffusion and distribution of
also included in the study. various communicable diseases and
iv. Anthropo Geography deals with the health care planning.
distribution of human communities
1.7.3 Geographic Techniques
on the earth in relation to their
Geography has developed a number
geographical environment.
of methods and tools to investigate
v. Cultural Geography gives emphasis and identify the spatial structures and
on the location and diffusion of patterns. Besides, it also lends or borrows
customs and cultural traits such some methods and tools to measure and
as food habits, skills, clothing and investigate precise understanding of the
beliefs and social organisations and spatial locations and patterns.
their developments in different parts
i. Mathematical Geography deals with
of the earth.
the study of earth’s size and shape,
vi. Social Geography is closely related to motions of the earth, concept of time
cultural geography. It examines the and the time zones.
relationships among the social groups
ii. Statistical Geography is concerned
and their social relationships in the
with the practice of collecting,
places of their living.
analysing and presenting data that
vii. Political Geography tries to has a geographic or areal dimension,
understand the countries and their such as census data.
neighbours, problems of resources
iii. Cartography is the study of making
sharing, boundaries and territorial
maps of various scales using authentic
limits. This branch is also concerned
with understanding the political
iv. Remote Sensing is the art, science dynamic world. The subject is more flexible
and technique of capturing the earth and accommodates many principles of
surface features using sensors or related subjects. At the same time, it lends
cameras in airplanes or satellites, concepts and knowledge to many related
processing and presenting the spatial disciplines. Owing to these changes, the
information tousers. subject is attaining more refinement,
v. Geographic Information System accuracy, precision, depth and scientific
(GIS) is a computer-based tool of rationale.
the recent decades for geographical 1.8 Geographical Tools and Skills
studies. It is used for storing, retrieving, Every day the news media report several
transforming, analysing, and displaying geographically significant events of near
data to prepare useful thematic maps. by or faraway places. Such reports include
vi. Global Navigation Satellite System the occurrence of earthquakes, floods,
(GNSS) is used to pinpoint the forest fire, landslides etc., which trigger
geographic location of a user anywhere the interests of everyone to recollect their
in the world. Airlines, shipping, travel geographic knowledge they had acquired
agencies and automobile drivers use the earlier.
system to track the vehicles and follow The essential tools of geography are
the best routes to reach the destination maps and globes and now the digital
in the shortest possible time. versions of aerial photographs, satellite
images, Geographical Information
Global Navigation Systems (GIS) and Global Navigation
Satellites System Satellite System (GNSS).These tools have
GNSS is the standard become an integral part of geography and
generic term for these products help us to visualise the
satellite navigation systems that provide spatial patterns over the surface of the
geo-spatial positioning with global or earth.
regional coverage. This term includes The GIS technique has enhanced the
the GPS (USA), GLONASS (Russia), skills and capabilities to compare and
Galileo (Europe), Beidou (China), overlay the digital layers to create maps
IRNSS (India) and other systems. quickly and efficiently. It helps us to study
The GPS was the first GNSS system of the areas affected by floods or cyclones or
the United States and originally used forest fire and the damages can be assessed
for military applications. Today it is
accurately and losses be estimated within
commonly used in mobiles, vehicles,
a very short span of time. The navigation
agriculture and other areas that allow us
satellites provide accurate location of
to use it in all fields of mapping.
these occurrences.
In recent years, geography aims to develop
Geography is undergoing frequent a set of marketable skills to the students
changes to tackle the challenges of the rather than preparing the students only for
the teaching in educational institutions.
The job market is changing frequently. and urban and regional planning. The
Therefore, the teaching methodology of satellite data from Landsat, SPOT, IRS and
the subject is to be adapted to the changing other satellites made it possible to repeatedly
trends of the society and provides a couple view each part of the earth surface at
of specialisations to the students so that they frequent intervals and thereby geographers’
could be acquainted with the global market ‘data thirst’ is considerably quenched.
and get suitable employment. The maps
still remains an important visual medium 1.8.3 Geospatial Analysis:
for geographers although the microchip A geospatial analyst designs databases,
revolution is expanding exponentially to analyses geographical data, uses
address a number of societal issues. appropriate GIS software to a wide
range of applications including defence,
1.8.1 Cartography: real estate, pollution and government
Geographers who specialise in this branch administrations. The skill helps to identify
make traditional maps, digital maps, atlases, optimum size and ideal location, establish
charts, globes and models. Quantification new or relocate existing facilities like
and cartography are considered as two hospitals, police station, banks, shopping
sides of the ‘geography coin’. Owing to centres etc.,
quantitative and computer revolutions,
handling of spatial data become easier, not 1.8.4 Environmental Impact Assessment:
only for the preparation of ‘instant maps’ This investigation requires voluminous data
but also for statistical graphs, graphic images related to physical, social, economic and
and models. Preparation of the computer- other aspects of the area under study. The
aided-maps and updating the existing ones data are collected from maps, satellites and
become easier and faster. Creation of three field and synthesised to provide meaningful
dimensional models, changing the viewing visual results. Such complex thematic visual
angle of these models and plotting the images results allow the decision makers to take
are made possible due to the introduction of appropriate steps to tackle the day to day and
computer expertise in cartography. long term environmental issues.

1.8.2 Land use Studies: 1.8.5 Regional Planning:

For studies of quickly changing phenomena A planner who is responsible for planning
on the earth surface, such as floods, drought, an urban or a regional unit needs to have
forest fires, etc, remote sensing data provide an overall view of the area. They should be
accurate information in different scales. able to synthesise the issues from multiple
The remote sensing organisations employ perspectives. The problems are increasingly
geographers who have the knowledge concerned with balancing different, sometimes
to process the frequently changing contradictory, interests into functional and
earth’s surface features. Even before the sustainable suggestions and proposals. This
introduction of satellites in remote sensing, specialisation is concerned with planning,
aerial photographs were widely used by housing, and smart city development projects.
geographers for natural resources surveys The regional land use maps are to be prepared

to locate facilities and optimise the existing The students of geography undergo
land for various uses. special trainings in their college level studies
and seek employment in the areas of their
1.8.6 Weather Forecasting / Nowcasting:
specialisation. Depending upon their area
At present the meteorologists are using
ground data and satellite data to forecast of specialization; geographers are employed
the wind direction, rainfall possibilities as scientists in national and state planning
and cyclone movement. However, with the commissions, water resources organizations,
advancement of satellite sensors, navigation and land use planning units, agricultural or
satellites and GIS technology it is possible to economic institutes or as demographers in
nowcast the weather conditions and provide
government and research organizations.
live cyclone movement tracts, otherwise
known as weather nowcasting.Geographers
are utilising spatial and non–spatial data HOTS
to analyse weather and climate parameters
and conduct research concerning climate
How does ground penetrating RADAR
and climate changes and forecast the earth’s
locate the archaeological site?
future climate and weather conditions and
their implications.
The geographers are also employed
1.8.7 Surveying, Utilising Large Scale
Maps/Sketches: as climatologists, geomorphologists, GIS
Surveying with specialists and hydrologists. Geography
instruments, starting background is an asset for careers in travel and
from chain survey tourism, particularly for ‘Travel Journalism’.
to differential GPS Besides these, the geography graduates apply
(DGPS), are an integral for civil services examinations conducted by
part of geography
various States of India and also the UPSC.
curriculum. The students survey and
prepare sketches of various features in an Recent developments in geography are
area. They also survey the campuses with technological in nature and mostly computer
advanced survey instruments and prepare oriented. The average geography graduate is
large scale maps. The geographical therefore well versed in the use of computers,
knowledge and training enable the and as they are trained in understanding
students to interpret large scale maps of patterns and relationships over space.
India and other countries of the world.
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), one 1.9 Geography in Tamil Nadu
of the emerging field survey instruments, A number of institutions of higher
is gaining importance not only in earth learning in Tamil Nadu have been offering
sciences discipline but also in archaeology, graduate and post graduate programmes
civil engineering, city planning and other in geography for several decades. Some
related fields. of the Departments are recognized as

research centers and these are engaged in Two geographical Associations are
undertaking national and international functioning in Tamil Nadu to disseminate
research projects besides conducting geographic knowledge to the students
research programmes in geography. and teachers of schools, colleges and
The departments are also engaged in universities through publishing journals,
organizing short term and long term organizing workshops and conduct talent
training programmes and workshops tests to the geography students.
to disseminate the latest geographic
knowledge and technology for the benefit 1.10 Databases for Geography
of students, researchers and teachers of Teaching and Learning
geography. Geographers are concerned about certain
global and local issues like disasters,
Annual Geography environmental problems, natural
Talent Tests for resources and other related aspects.
College / University Often these issues are discussed in the
Students and classrooms. Data relating to the issues are
School Students of Tamil Nadu necessary for better understanding of the
same and for seeking real world solutions.
The Indian Geographical Society is
A number of organizations in India are
conducting talent test examination
engaged in disseminating such valuable
to final year UG and PG geography
information through special publications,
students across the State and present
especially to the student community. The
awards and cash prizes to a tune of Rs.
schools, colleges, universities and research
15,000 (top three M.Sc. students) and
institutions can write to the following
Rs. 10,000 (top three B.Sc students)
organizations and enroll themselves
in the names of the IGS Founder
to receive the published materials like
Prof N.Subrahmanyam and the
booklets, pamphlets, satellite images,
former Head of the Department of
manuals etc. They can also enroll for short
Geography of University of Madras
term trainings / field visits / workshops
Prof. A.Ramesh, respectively.
arranged by these organizations.
The Association of Geography
Teachers of India conducts Annual
Geography Talent Tests to the school Awards to Geography
students. The talent test is conducted Teachers and Scientists
at two levels: Students of classes 7 The Indian Geographical
and 8 take Junior Level test while the Society has instituted Awards
students of classes 9 and 10 take it at in the names of renowned Geographers
the Senior Level. Prizes and certificates Prof.B.M. Thirunaranan, Prof. A.R.
are awarded to top ranking candidates. Irawathy and Prof.V.L.S.PrakasaRao to
the leading geographers who work in the
areas of geomorphology, remote sensing
and regional planning respectively.

The students can make use of the free transparent to it but opaque to reradiated
software available from these organizations long wave terrestrial energy. It also refers
to visualize the earth’s surfaces from space to increasing the opacity of the atmosphere
and map the existing and changing land cover through the addition of increased amounts
details, traffic density, pollution levels etc., of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane
A number of spatial information, including and chlorofluorocarbons.
satellite images can be downloaded freely Greenwich Mean Time (GMT): Local
for educational purposes such as classroom time at the prime meridian (Zero degree
teaching, preparation of maps, for project longitude), which passes through the
work, field work and other activities. observatory at Greenwich, England.
Map Projection: A method by which
the curved surface of the Earth is shown
on a flat surface map. As it is not possible
to show all the Earth’s features accurately
Absolute Location: The exact position on a flat surface, some projections aim to
of an object or place stated in spatial show direction accurately at the expense
coordinates of a grid system designed of area, some the shape of the land and
for the location purposes. In geography, oceans, while others show correct area at
the reference system is the global grid of the expense of accurate shape.
parallels of latitudes north or south of One of the projections most commonly
equator and of meridians of longitude east used is the Mercator projection, devised in
or west of the Prime meridian. 1569, in which all lines of latitude are the
Cartography: The art, science and same length as the equator. This results
technology of making maps. in increased distortion of area, moving
Field Measurement Book (F.M.B): The from the equator towards the poles. This
FMB depicts the dimensions of each field projection is suitable for navigation charts.
boundaries and the sub divisions. In FMB The Mollweide projection shows the
the individual survey number maps are land masses the correct size in relation
maintained at a scale of 1:1000 or 1:2000. to each other but there is distortion
Each survey number is divided into of shape. As the Mollweide projection
several sub divisions. Each sub division is has no area distortion it is useful for
owned by a owner. The FMB’s also depicts showing distributions such as population
the dimensions of each field boundaries distribution. The only true representation
and the sub divisions. of the Earth’s surface is a globe.
Global Positioning System (GPS): A Nation: A culturally distinctive group
method of using satellite observations for of people occupying a particular region
the determination of extremely accurate and bond together by a sense of unity
location information. arising from shared ethnicity, beliefs and
Greenhouse Effect: The heating of the customs.
earth’s surface as shortwave solar energy Natural Resource: A physically
passes through the atmosphere, which is occurring item that a population
perceives to the necessary and useful to its Region: In geography, the term applied
maintenance and well-being. to an area of the earth that displays a
Ozone Layer: A gas molecule consisting distinctive grouping of physical or cultural
of three atoms of oxygen (O3) formed phenomena or is functionally united as a
when diatomic oxygen (O2) is exposed to single organisational unit.
ultraviolet radiation. In the lower atmosphere, Relative Location: The position of a place
it constitutes a damaging component of in relation to a well-known place.
photochemical smog; in the upper atmosphere, Site: The place where something is
it forms a normally continuous, thin layer that located; the immediate surroundings and their
blocks ultraviolet light. A layer of ozone in attributes.
the atmosphere (stratosphere) protects life on Situation: The location of something in
earth by absorbing ultraviolet radiation from relation to physical and human characteristics
the sun. of a larger region.
Prime Meridian: An imaginary line Toponym: A place name with reference to
passing through the Royal Observatory at topography.
Greenwich, England, serving by agreement
as the zero degree line of longitude.

Evaluation 5. Anthropology deals with human

Choose the correct ___________.
answers a. Migration b. Settlements
1. The word ‘geography’ c. Races d. Kingdoms
is coined from 6. Geo1ogy is a study of___________
_______language. a. Rocks b. Minerals
a. Latin c. Petroleum d. Animals
b. Spanish 7. Meteorology is a study of __________.
c. Greek a. Atmosphere b. Meteors
d. Tamil c. Metals d. Mammal
2. Four traditions of geography were 8. Astronomy is a science which deals
introduced by___________. with____________.
a. Hartshorne a. Plants b. Animals
b. Gerard Mercator c. Climate d. Celestial bodies
c. William D Pattison 9. What is the GNSS system of India called
d. Humboldt as?
3. Which one of the following is not a a. IRNSS b. GPS
theme of geography? c. GLONASS d. Beidou
a. Location b. Place 10. Which one of the following countries
c. Movement d. Technology first used the GPS for its military
4. Systematic approach to study geography applications?
was developed by___________. a. Canada b. Germany
a. Carl Ritter b. Humboldt c. India d. USA
c. Pattison d. Hartshorne

Very short answers McGraw-Hill International Edition, New
1. Define Geography. York.
2. What are the four traditions of 3. Haggett, P. (2001), Geography: A Global
geography? Synthesis, Prentice Hall, New York.
3. List the five themes of geography.
4. Holt-Jensen, A. (2009), Geography-History
4. Write about the approaches to study
and Concepts: A Student’s Guide, Sage
Publications, London.
5. What are the three domains of
geography? 5. Morrill, R. L. (1983), The Nature, Utility
6. What is GNSS? and Value of Geography, Professional
7. Define cartography. Geographer, 35 (1), pp. 1-9.
8. What is mathematical geography? 6. Robinson, J.L. (1976), A New Look at the
9. What is the significance of man -land Four Traditions of Geography, Journal of
tradition? Geography, 75, pp. 520-530.
10. How is regional approach helpful in 7. Rogers, A. and Viles, H. A. (2003), The
studying political units? Student’s Companion to Geography,
Short answers Second Edition, Blackwell Publications,
1. Distinguish between systematic Kundli.
approach and regional approach to
8. Strahler, A. and Strahler, A. (2002),
study geography.
Physical Geography - Science and Systems
2. What is Geographical data matrix?
of Human Environment, Second Edition,
3. Write a note on remote sensing.
Wiley India, New Delhi.
Detailed answers
1. How has geography developed over 9. Waugh, D. (1995), Geography: An
the years? Integrated Approach, Nelson Canada,
2. Describe how the five themes are Ontario.
3. Describe how geography is related to Internet Resources
natural sciences. Open GIS Software
4. Explain any four geographic http://www.saga-gis.org/en/index.html; https://
techniques. qgis.org/en/site/; https://grass.osgeo.org/
5. What are the advantages of developing Free Satellite Data and Images
the geographical skills? https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/; https://
Online Mapping
https://www.openstreetmap.org; https://
1. Adhikari, S. (2015), Fundamentals of maps.google.com/; https://www.google.
Geographical Thought, Orient Blackswan, com/intl/en_in/earth
New Delhi. Online Learning Resource
2. Getis, A., Getis, J., Fellmann, J. D. (2006), www.mhhe.com/getis10e/
Introduction to Geography, Tenth Edition,

Modern Tools of Geography

Explore and survey geography

using modern tools.

• Use the URL or QR code to download and install ‘Mapit GIS’
app in your smartphone. Open the app and go to settings tab on
the top right corner of the page and set units of measurement
of your choice.
• Select scale icon from the bottom and place the targets by pressing ‘Balloon’ icon from
the bottom. Scale icon will provide you instant survey of distance using GPS.
• Long press the scale icon and it will transform into ‘Area mode’. Follow the same step to
drop the balloon and survey the area between any numbers of points.
• Touch the menu navigation button from the top left corner and change the map styles
you want to survey.

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4

Website URL:

Pictures are indicative only.

Unit II

The Solar system

and the Earth

Chapter Outline Learning Objectives:

Learning Objectives:
2.1 Introduction • To know more about the universe,
2.2 Theories of the Earth’s origin stars, planets and others.
2.3 Modern theories of the origin of • Understand theories of the origin of
the Universe the Universe.
2.4 Star and Constellations • Explain the position of the planets
2.5 The Solar system in the solar system.
2.6 The Sun • Describe the cause and effect of the
2.7 The Planets motions of the earth.
2.8 Dwarf Planets
These glittering stars, which we see, are a
2.9 Satellites
part of the universe. Let us now discuss
2.10 Asteroids
in detail about the Universe, stars, planets
2.11 Comets and other objects. The universe is a vast
2.12 Meteors endless space which includes galaxies,
2.13 Shape and size of the Earth stars, planets and other forms of matter
2.14 Motions of the earth and energy in it.
2.15 Seasons
2.2 Theories of the Earth’s origin
2.16 Time Zones of the World
There are many theories supporting the
origin of the earth. One of the earlier and
2.1 Introduction popular arguments of the earth’s origin
Have you ever relaxed lying on the terrace was by a German professor Immanuel
of a building or in the front yard at a Kant. Mathematician Laplace revised
cloudless night? If yes, could you watch it in 1796. It was known as Nebular
the night sky filled with glittering stars Hypothesis. It considered that planets
which appear to be growing in numbers? were formed out of a cloud of material
associated with a youthful sun, which was 2.3 Modern theories of the origin of
slowly rotating. Lyttleton propounded the the Universe
accretion theory of the earth’s formation.
The most popular argument regarding
According to this theory, approximately
the origin of the universe is the Big
4.6 billion years ago, the solar system was
Bang Theory. It is also called expanding
a cloud of dust and gas known as a solar
universe hypothesis. In 1927, Abbe
nebula. As the solar nebula began to
Georges Lemaitre, a Belgian astronomer
spin, the gravity collapsed the materials
was the first to propose, a theory on
on itself and it formed the sun in the
the origin of the universe. It was Edwin
centre of the solar system. When the sun
Hubble who provided the evidence that
formed, the remaining materials began to
the universe is expanding. It was called,
clump up. Small particles drew together,
‘the Big Bang Theory’. According to it,
bound by the force of gravity, into larger
the universe was formed during a period
particles. The solar wind swept away
of inflation that began about 13.75 billion
lighter elements, such as hydrogen and
years ago.
helium, from the closer regions. It left
Like a rapidly expanding balloon, it
only heavy rocky materials to create
swelled from a size smaller than an electron
planets like the Earth. But farther away,
to nearly its current size within a fraction
the solar winds had less impact on lighter
of a second. Matter from the universe was
elements, allowing them to coalesce into
thrown out with great force in all directions
gas giants. In this way, planets, moons,
and started expanding outwards. From this
asteroids, comets, etc., were created.
matter, many groups of stars were formed
which we call ‘galaxies’. A galaxy is a
Voyager 2 travelling
system of billions of stars, stellar remnants,
at the speed of more
interstellar gas, dust, and dark matter. The
than 62,764.416 km/h
word galaxy is derived from the Greek word
will still take more
Galaxias, literally “milky”, a reference to the
than 296,000 years to pass Sirius, the
Milky Way (Figure 2.1). The Milky Way is
brightest star in our night sky.
the galaxy that contains our Solar System.

Earth's rocky core formed first Galaxies are in three major forms:
when heavy elements collided and 1. Spiral Galaxies: It consists of a flat and
bound together. Dense materials sank rotating disk of stars, gases and dust.
to the center, while the lighter material It has a central concentration of stars
created  the crust. The planet's magnetic known as the ‘bulge’. The Milky Way and
field probably formed around this the Andromeda are spiral galaxies.
time. Gravity captured some of the 2. Elliptical Galaxies: It contains older
gases that  made up the planet's early stars with fewer gases. Messier89
atmosphere. galaxy is an elliptical galaxy.

Figure 2.1 Milky Way Galaxy

3. Irregular Galaxies: They are youthful The new measurement technique

galaxies with more dust and gases. called gravitational lensing confirmed
This can make them very bright. Large the age of the universe and the strength
Magellanic Cloud is an example of of dark energy. Dark energy is responsible
irregular galaxy. for the accelerating expansion of the
Initially, the universe was saturated only universe. Scientists used gravitational
by energy. Some of this energy set into lensing to measure the distances light
particles, which assembled into light atoms traveled from a bright, active galaxy to the
like hydrogen and helium. These atoms earth and some details of its expansion.
grouped first into galaxies, then stars and
all the other elements. This is generally
agreed-upon concept of our universe's
Three scientists, Saul
origin as estimated by scientists.
Perlmutter, Brian
In fact, the stars, planets and galaxies Schmidt and Adam
that can be detected make up only Riess won the Nobel
4  percent of the universe, according to Prize in Physics (2011) for their
astronomers. The other 96 percent of the discovery that the universe is just
substances in the universe cannot be seen expanding and picking up speed.
or easily understandable.
around the sun in fixed elliptical paths
known as ‘orbits’. Most stars host their
own planets. So there are billions of other
solar systems in the Milky Way galaxy
Solar systems can also have more than
one star. These are called binary star
systems if there are two stars or multi-star
systems if there are three or more stars.
Our solar system is located in an outer
Figure 2.4 Stars spiral arm of the vast Milky Way galaxy.
Our solar system orbits the centre of the
exist today. Earlier Ptolemy, in his book Milky Way Galaxy at about 828,000 km/h.
Almagest, listed 48 constellations. Our solar system takes about 230 million
Ursa Major (Figure 2.3) is a constellation years to complete one orbit around the
that can be seen in the northern hemisphere galactic centre.
and part of the southern hemisphere. Ursa The solar system is believed to have
Major means Great Bear in Latin. been formed about 4.6 billion years ago.
The solar system also includes the Kuiper
2.5 The Solar system Belt that lies past Neptune's orbit. This is a
A solar system consists of a star (Figure 2.4) sparsely occupied ring of icy bodies. This
at the centre and the eight planets, moons, is almost all smaller than the dwarf planet
asteroids, comets and meteoroids that Pluto. Beyond the fringes of the Kuiper
revolve it. The eight planets, namely the belt (Figure 2.5) is the Oort cloud. This
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, giant spherical shell surrounds our solar
Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, revolve system. It has never been directly observed,

Figure 2.5 Solar system

but its existence is predicted based on have the highest number of satellites in
mathematical models and observations of our solar system.
comets that likely originate there.
The Oort cloud is made up of icy 2.6 The Sun
pieces of space debris. It is orbiting our The Sun is at the centre
Sun as far as 1.6 light years away. This of our solar system.
shell of material is thick, extending from It is a yellow dwarf
5,000 astronomical units to 100,000 star, with a hot ball
astronomical units. One astronomical of glowing gases. Its
unit (AU) is the distance from the Sun to gravity holds the solar
Earth, or about 150 million kilometre. The system together and it keeps everything
Oort cloud is the boundary of the Sun's from the biggest planets to the smallest
gravitational influence, where orbiting particles of debris in its orbit. Electric
objects can turn around and return closer currents in the Sun generate a magnetic
to our Sun. field that is carried out through the solar
There are more than 163 known system by the solar wind.
natural satellites in our solar system and
several more awaiting confirmation of Structure of the Sun
discovery. Of the eight planets, Mercury By mass, the Sun is made up of about
and Venus are the only planets with no 70.6% hydrogen and 27.4% helium. The
satellites while the Jupiter and Saturn Sun's enormous mass is held together

Internal structure:
Inner core
radiative zone Subsurface flows
convection zone Photosphere

Figure 2.6 Structure of the sun
by gravitational attraction, producing surface is about 5,500 to 6,000 degrees
immense pressure and temperature at its Celsius.
core. There are three main layers in the At the core, the temperature is about 15
Sun's interior: the core, the radiative zone, million degrees Celsius, which is sufficient
and the convective zone (Figure  2.6). to sustain thermonuclear fusion. This is a
The core is at the centre. It is the hottest process in which atoms combine to form
region, where the nuclear fusion reaction larger atoms and in this process, released,
to give the sun power. Moving outward staggering amounts of energy. Specifically,
next come the radiative (or radiation) in the Sun’s core, hydrogen atoms fuse to
zone. Its name is derived from the way make helium.
energy is carried outward through this
Size and Distance
layer, carried by photons as thermal
radiation. The third and final region of The sun has a radius of 695,508 kilometres.
the solar interior is named the convective It is far more massive than earth and
(or convection) zone. It is also named 3,32,946 Earths equal to the mass of the
after the dominant mode of energy flow Sun. The Sun’s volume would need 1.3
in this layer. The boundary between the million Earths to fill it.
Sun's interior and the solar atmosphere is
Venus is hotter than
called the photosphere. It is what we see as
Mercury because
the visible ‘surface’ of the Sun.
Venus has an
Did you know that the Sun has an atmosphere which is
atmosphere? The lower region of the solar thicker and made almost entirely of
atmosphere is called the chromosphere. Its carbon dioxide.
name is derived from the Greek word chroma
(meaning colour), for it appears bright red Orbit and Rotation
when viewed during a solar eclipse. A thin
transition region, where temperature rises The Milky Way has four main spiral arms:
sharply, separates the chromospheres from the Norma and Cygnus arm, Sagittarius,
Scutum-Crux, and Perseus. The Sun is
the vast corona above. The uppermost
located in a minor arm, the Sagittarius arm.
portion of the Sun's atmosphere is called
From there, the Sun orbits the centre of the
the corona, and is surprisingly much hotter
Milky Way Galaxy, bringing the planets,
than the Sun's surface (photosphere) The
asteroids, comets and other objects along
upper corona gradually turns into the solar
with it. Our solar system is moving with
wind. Solar wind is a flow of plasma that
an average velocity of 828,000 kilometres
moves outward through our solar system
per hour. It takes about 230 million years
into interstellar space. to make one complete orbit around the
Therefore, the Sun has six regions: Milky Way. The Sun’s spin has an axial tilt
the core, the radioactive zone, and the of 7.25 degrees with respect to the plane of
convective zone in the interior; the the planets’ orbits. Since the Sun is not a
photosphere; the chromospheres; and solid body, different parts of the Sun rotate
the corona. The temperature of the sun’s at different rates. At the equator, the Sun
spins around once about every 25 days, but makes one ‘planet day’. The planets moving
at its poles the Sun rotates once on its axis around the sun is called revolution or a
every 36 Earth days. Most of the materials ‘planet-year’.
are pulled toward the centre to form our
Planets in the Solar System
Sun. The Sun alone accounts for 99.8% of
the mass of the entire solar system. The Mercury
Like all stars, the Sun will someday Mercury is the nearest planet to the sun and
run out of energy. When the Sun starts to it is the smallest planet in the solar system.
die, it will swell so big that it will engulf It does not have any satellite. It rotates on its
Mercury and Venus and maybe even Earth. own axis in 58.65 earth days while it takes
Scientists predict that the Sun is a little 88 Earth days to complete one revolution
less than halfway through its lifetime and around the sun. Mercury is 0.4 astronomical
will last another 6.5 billion years before it units away from the Sun. The sunlight
shrinks down to be a white dwarf. takes 3.2 minutes to travel from the Sun
to Mercury. Mercury is the second hottest
2.7 The Planets planet though it is nearest to the sun.
The word planet in Greek means ‘wanderer’.
The Venus
Planet is the celestial body which does
not have light or heat of its own. A planet ‘Venus’ is the second nearest planet to
should possess the following qualities: the sun. It is also called as ‘Earth’s Sister’
planet due to its similar size and mass as
a. It should orbit around the sun.
that of our Earth. It is the hottest planet
b. It should not be a satellite of any in the solar system and experiences a
planet mean surface temperature of 462qC. It is
c. Due to its own mass and self-gravity, popularly known as “Morning star and
it should get a spherical shape and Evening star” It is seen in the east sky
d. Any other celestial body should not before sunrise (dawn) in the morning and
cross in its orbit. in the west sky after the sunset (twilight).
The planets are classified in order of their It rotates clockwise i.e. east to west
distance from the sun and based on their direction on its own axis. The rotation and
characteristics. They are: orbit of the Venus are unusual in several
1. The inner planets or terrestrial planets ways. Venus is one of just two planets that
or rocky planets. Mercury, Venus, rotate from east to west. Only Venus and
Earth and Mars are called inner or Uranus have this ‘backwards’ rotation. It
terrestrial planets. completes one rotation in 243 Earth days
which is the longest day of any planet in
2. The outer planets or gaseous planets
our solar system. The Venus takes 224.7
or giant planets. Jupiter, Saturn,
Earth days to complete one revolution
Uranus and Neptune are called outer
around the sun, and it has no natural
or gaseous planets.
satellites. Venus is 0.7 astronomical units
Each planet spins on its own axis. This away from the sun. The sunlight takes 6
movement is called rotation. One rotation minutes to travel from the sun to Venus.
Table 2.1 Distance of the planets from the sun
Name Of The Planet Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune
Diameter (km) 4,879 12,104 12,756 6,794 1,42,984 1,20,536 51,118 49,528
Density (kg/m3) 5,427 5,243 5,514 3,933 1,326 687 1,271 1,638
Rotation Period (hours) 1,407.6 5,832.5 23.9 24.6 9.9 10.7 17.2 16.1
Length of Day (hours) 4,222.6 2,802 24 24.7 9.9 10.7 17.2 16.1
The Average distance
57.9 108.2 149.6 227.9 778.6 1,433.5 2,872.5 4,495.1
from the sun(106 km)
Orbital Period (days) 88 224.7 365.3 687 4331 10,747 30,589 59,800
Number of Satellites 0 0 1 2 67 53 27 13

The Earth to complete one rotation on its axis and its

Earth is the third nearest planet to the sun. It takes 687 days to complete one revolution
is the fifth largest planet in the solar system. around the Sun. The surface temperature
The Earth’s orbit lies between the orbits of of the Mars is ranging from -153q to 20qC.
Venus and Mars. It takes 23 hours 56 minutes With the exception of the Earth, Mars
and 4 seconds for the earth to complete one probably is the most hospitable to life.
rotation on its own axis. The Earth takes This planet has seasons, polar ice caps,
365.25 days (Table 2.1) to complete one volcanoes, canyons and weather. Mars has
revolution around the Sun. Earth’s surface two satellites namely Phobos and Deimos.
temperature varies from – 88q to 58qC and The Jupiter
it is the densest planet in the solar system. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar
The Earth is a unique planet because system. It is made primarily of gases and is
of its distance from the sun, its motions, therefore known as ‘Giant Gas planet’. It
atmosphere with oxygen, presence of takes 9 hours 55 minutes to complete one
water and moderate temperature. The rotation on its axis and it takes 11.86 years
earth is neither too close nor too far from to complete one revolution. Jupiter has the
the sun. It is the only known planet to shortest day in the solar system. Jupiter has a
support life. It is also known as the ‘Blue faint ring system around it. They are mostly
Planet’ because of the presence of water. comprised of dust particles. Jupiter has 67
Earth has only one natural satellite called confirmed satellites orbiting the planet.
the Moon. The sun light takes about 8.3 Ganymede, the satellite of Jupiter, is the
minutes to reach the earth. largest natural satellite in the solar system
The Mars (even bigger than the planet Mercury).
Mars is the fourth nearest planet to the The Saturn
sun and it is the second smallest planet in Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and
the Solar system. It is also described as the the second largest planet in the solar system.
“Red planet”. It is reddish in colour due Saturn is called as the Ringed Planet. It is
to the presence of iron oxide on its surface. because of large, beautiful and extensive
The landmass of Mars and Earth are very ring systems that encircles the planet. These
similar. It takes 24 hours and 37 minutes rings are mostly made from the chunks
of ice and carbonaceous dust. Saturn is
the only planet in our solar system whose North Pole of the
average density is less than water. Uranus experiences
21 years of night time
The Saturn has 30 rings and 53confirmed
in winter, 21 years of
natural satellites. The Saturn takes 10 hours
daytime in summer and 42 years of
34 minutes to complete one rotation on its
day and night in the spring and fall.
axis and it takes 29.4 years to complete one
revolution around the sun.
The Uranus
Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun
Which planet may float on water
and it is not visible to the naked eye. Like
and why?
Venus, Uranus also rotates on its axis from
east to west. Uranus is inclined on its axis nearly be round in shape is called ‘Dwarf
at an angle of 98 degrees. The planet is Planet’. It should not be a satellite of any
almost lying on its side as it goes around planet. They are five in number Ceres,
the sun. The sunlight, thus, is received Pluto, Heumea, Makemake and Eris. As
mostly in the polar areas. Hydrogen, Pluto has not cleared the neighbourhood
helium and methane are the major gases around its orbit, it is officially demoted in
of its atmosphere. It is very cold due to 2006 from its ninth position as a planet.
its great distance from the sun. Uranus is
named after the ancient Greek god of the 2.9 Satellites
sky. It has a dense atmosphere primarily
The word ‘Satellite’ means companion. The
consisting of methane, which lends it a
moon was the only known satellite in the
bluish-green appearance. Uranus also has
Solar System until 1610. Today, there are
rings and twenty-seven satellites.
163 known satellites in the Solar System.
The Neptune The satellites move around a planet from
Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun. West to East. They do not have own light,
It takes 16 hours to complete one rotation but reflect the light of the Sun. They have
on its own axis and it takes nearly 165 years no atmosphere and water.
to revolve around the sun. It has 13 natural
satellites and 5 rings. It is the coldest planet
in the Solar System because it is the farthest
planet from the Sun. Neptune was the
first planet located through mathematical
calculations. Neptune is our solar system’s
windiest planet.
2.8 Dwarf Planets
Dwarf planets are tiny planets in our solar
system. Any celestial body orbiting around
the sun, weighing for the self gravity and Figure 2.7 Surface of the Moon
Moon: the Earth’s Satellite are found in between the planets Mars and
The moon is located at a distance of 8, Jupiter. This belt is known as ‘Asteroid belt’.
84,401 km from the earth (Figure 2.7). The diameter of the asteroids varies from
The moon revolves around the earth. 100 km to a size of a pebble. The asteroids
The moon takes 27 days and 7 hours may be the fragments of a planet exploded
and 43 minutes for both its rotation and in the past or some parts of comets. The new
revolution around the earth. asteroids are being discovered continuously.
Hence, the observers on the earth 2.11 Comets
could see only one side of the moon. Comets are the most exciting heavenly
The moon is the fifth largest natural bodies and have ever been the objects of
satellite in the solar system. The moon man’s curiosity as well as fear. The word
was likely to be formed after a Mars- Comet (Figure 2.8) is derived from the
sized body collided with Earth. There are Greek word Aster Kometes meaning ‘Long
many craters, high and steep mountains Haired Star’. They are made up of small
of different sizes which cast shadows on ice particles and meteoric fragments. They
the Moon’s surface. The light which is revolve around the Sun. But their orbits are
reflected by the Moon will reach the Earth irregular. Sometimes they get very close
in just one and a quarter seconds. (Perihelion) to the sun and in other times
they go far away (Aphelion) from the sun.
Apollo 11 was the
first manned mission
to land on the Moon
sent by NASA. Two
American Astronauts Neil Armstrong
and Edwin Aldrin set foot on the
moon’s surface on the waterless Sea of
Tranquility on 20th July, 1969. They
stayed there for 21 hours 38 minutes
and 21 seconds on the moon. Michael
Collins piloted Apollo 11.

Since the moon is smaller than the

earth, it has 1/6 of the gravitational pull of
the earth. So, man weighs 6 times less on Figure 2.8 Comets
the moon than the earth.
The best known
2.10 Asteroids
Comet, Halley’s Comet,
Asteroids are small rocky celestial bodies appears once in every
that revolve around the Sun, like other 76 years. The Halley’s
planets. They are also called ‘Minor Planets’. Comet was seen last in 1986 and it will
There are lots of asteroids in the solar system. be seen again on 28th July 2061.
Larger asteroids are called Planetoids. These
2.12 Meteors
There is a bright streak of light flashing
seen often in the sky during night for a few
Titan – only moon with clouds and seconds. They are called as ‘shooting stars’.
atmosphere. They are the removed pieces of rocks mainly
Titan is Saturn’s largest moon and from the Asteroid belt. They are called
the second largest (after Ganymede Meteoroids before they enter into our
of Jupiter) in the solar system. It is atmosphere. They enter into the atmosphere
the only moon in the solar system with great speed. But most of them are burnt
with clouds and a dense, planet-like when they enter into the atmosphere.
atmosphere. After entering into our atmosphere
Scientists believe that conditions on they are called as Meteors. Some pieces
Titan are similar to Earth’s early years do not burn fully and they fall on the earth
(the main difference is that, because it and make craters. The large unburned
is closer to the sun, Earth has always pieces of rocks that fall on the earth are
been warmer). According to NASA, called Meteorites.
“In many respects, Titan, is one of the Examples for Meteorite Fall: Meteor
most Earth-like worlds we have found crater in Northern Arizona and Lake
to date.” Lonar in Buldhana District of Maharastra
Titan was discovered by Dutch in India were created by meteor impacts.
astronomer Christiaan Huygens in
1655. The Huygens lander probe 2.13 Shape and size of the Earth
sent to the moon aboard NASA’s It once was believed that the Earth was
Cassini spacecraft by the European flat and that ships could sail over the edge.
Space Agency is named in his honor. This view persisted even in the middle
Huygens was the first human-built ages and was an issue in recruitment of
object to land on Titan’s surface. Columbus.
Diameter:5,150 kilometres, about half
Early Greek view was that the world
the size of Earth and almost as large
was surrounded by the ocean (Oceanus),
as Mars. Surface temperature: - 179
origin of all rivers. Anaximander (600
degrees Celsius, which makes water
B.C) proposed that cylindrical earth was
as hard as rocks and allows methane
surrounded by celestial sphere. Pythagoras
to be found in its liquid form. Surface
(582-507 B.C.) believed that the Earth was
pressure: Slightly higher than Earth’s
a sphere, which was considered the most
pressure. Earth’s pressure at sea level is
harmonious geometric shape. Aristotle
1 bar while Titan’s is 1.6 bars. Orbital
(384-322 B.C.) described observations that
period: 15,945 days. Titan’s mass is
supported the theory that the Earth was
composed mainly of water in the form
a sphere. These included the fact that the
of ice and rocky material. Titan has no
shadow of the moon is circular in lunar
magnetic field.
eclipses and constellations were higher in
the sky as one traveled south. Eratosthenes
Figure 2.9 Geoid shape of the earth

(275-195 BCE) estimated size of earth from The Sun’s gravitational pull differs in
observations that the elevation of the sun force at the poles. The North Pole points
varied with position on the Earth’s surface in the same direction to the North Star
in Egypt. Observations of the following when it revolves about the Sun. If the
suggested that the Earth is a sphere. Earth would not have been tilted on its
1. Mountain peaks lit by the Sun after axis, the days and nights would have been
sunset. of same duration always.
2. Ships disappear below the horizon as
2.14 Motions of the earth
they sail across ocean.
3. The moon looks like a disc. The earth has two basic movements:
1) Rotation and 2) Revolution.
4. The Earth casts a circular shadow
during lunar eclipses.
Galactic movement:
The Earth is an oblate spheroid, bulged at
This is the movement
the equator and flattened at the poles. It is
of the earth with the
called ‘Geoid’ (Figure 2.9) meaning the earth
sun and the rest of
is earth-shaped. The bulge at the equator is
the solar system in an orbit around
caused by the centrifugal force of the Earth’s
the centre of the MilkyWay Galaxy.
rotation. The gravitational pull of the earth
This, however, has little effect upon the
is the strongest at the flattened poles and it
changing environment of the earth.
is weaker towards the equator.
1. Rotation: The spinning of the earth
HOTS around its axis is called the rotation of
the earth. The axis is the imaginary line
Chimborazo in Ecuador is higher than passing through the centre of the earth.
Mount Everest, if measured from the The earth completes one rotation in 23
centre of the Earth. Why? hours, 56 minutes and 4.09 seconds.
It rotates in an eastward direction

The Vertical line gives a difference of 4 minutes for
from the earth’s
orbital plane every degree of longitude that passes
North Pole
the sun. The hour (60 minutes) is thus
23½o 1/24 of a day.
3. When you observe through a moving
Equ Tro
train, trees, houses and fields on the other
ato c of
cer side of the track appear to move in the
The plane direction opposite to that of the speeding
of the earth’s
orbit train. The apparent movement of the sun
Tro and the other heavenly bodies in relation
pic of
to the rotating earth is similar. As the
earth rotates from west to east, the sun,
moon, planets and stars appear to rise in
South Pole
the east and set in the west.
Figure 2.10 Tilt of the Earth’s axis 4. Rotation causes the working of the
Coriolis force which results in the
opposite to the apparent movement of
deflection of the winds and the ocean
the sun. The earth’s axis is inclined at an
currents from their normal path.
angle of 66½q to the orbital plane as it
moves around the sun. We can say, the 5. Tide is caused by the rotation of the
earth’s axis is tilted at an angle of 23½q earth apart from the gravitational pull
(Figure 2.10) from a perpendicular of the sun and the moon.
to the elliptic plane. The velocity of Rotation causes a flattening of Earth at
earth’s rotation varies depending on the two poles and bulging at the Equator.
the distance of a given place from the Hence, there is a difference in diameter at
equator.The rotational velocity at the the poles and equator.
poles is nearly zero. The greatest velocity Circle of Illumination: The line around
of the rotation is found at the equator. the earth separating the light and dark
The velocity of rotation at the equator is is known as the circle of illumination
1,670 km per hour. (Figure 2.11).

Effects of earth’s rotation: The rotation It passes through the poles and allows
of the earth causes the following effects: the entire earth to have an equal amount
of time during the daylight and night
1. The apparent rising and setting of time hours. This line can be seen from
the sun is actually caused by the space, and the exact location of the line is
earth’s rotation which results in the dependent on the various seasons.
alternate occurrence of day and night
everywhere on the earth’s surface. Revolution of the Earth
2. Rotation of the earth is also responsible The movement of the earth in its orbit
for the difference in time between around the sun in an anti-clockwise
different places on the earth. A 24 direction, that is, from west to east is called
hour period divided by 360 degrees revolution of the earth. The earth revolves
Figure 2.11 Circle of Illumination

in an orbit at an average distance of 150 of the revolution is 1,07,000 km per hour.

million km. The distance of the earth The speed is 30 km per second. The bullet
from sun varies time to time due to the from a gun travels with a speed of 9 km
elliptical shape of the orbit. About January per second.
3rd the earth is closest to the sun and it is
said to be at Perihelion (‘peri’ means close Period of Revolution and Leap year
to and Helios means sun). At Perihelion, The period of time the earth takes to make
the distance is 147 million km. one revolution around the sun determines
Around July 4th the earth is farthest the length of one year. The earth takes
from the sun and it is said to be at Aphelion 365 days and 6 hours to complete one
(Ap means away and Helios means sun). revolution. Earth takes 365.25 days to
At Aphelion the distance of the earth is complete one trip around the Sun .That
152 million km away from the sun. extra quarter of a day presents a challenge
The period taken by the earth to to our calendar system, which has one year
complete one revolution around the sun is as 365 days. To keep our yearly calendars
365 days and 6 hours (5 hours, 48 minutes consistent with our orbit around the Sun
and 45 seconds) or 365¼ days. The speed once in, every four years we add one day.
The extra day added to is called a leap day,
and the year the extra day is added to is Let us know!
called a leap year. The extra day is added How to calculate leap year? Take any
to the month of February which has 29 year and divide by 4 or 100 or 400. If
days in a leap year. it is divisible (whole number with no
reminder), it is a leap year.
Brain storming Students’ activity: calculate and
How many birth days a person, whose identify the leap years from the
life span supposed to be 60 years, following years
would have seen in his/ her life time, 1992, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2010,
if born on 29th February? 2012, 2014, 2017, 2020, 2024, 2030,
2035, 2040 and 2044.
Effects of revolution of the earth
The revolution of the earth around the 2.15 Seasons
sun results in the following
The seasons are caused due to the
• Cycle of seasons, combined effect of the earth’s revolution
• Variation in length of days and nights, and the tilt of its axis in the same direction
• Variation in distribution of solar energy throughout the year. In general, spring,
over the earth and the temperature summer, autumn and winter are the four
zones. seasons (Figure 2.12). The latitude at

Figure 2.12 Earth’s revolution and the seasons

which the sun appears directly overhead rays of the sun. It is spring in the northern
changes as the earth orbits the sun. The hemisphere and autumn in the southern
sun appears to follow a yearly pattern of hemisphere. This day (21 March) is known
northward and southward motion in the as spring equinox.
sky, known as the ‘apparent movement of Position of the earth on 23 September.
the sun’. It gives an impression that the sun Neither pole of the earth is inclined towards
is continuously swinging north and south the sun. The rays of the sun fall vertically on
of the equator. Actually it is the earth that the equator. All the places have equal days
is moving around the sun on its tilted and nights. It is autumn in the northern
axis. It varies when observed on a daily hemisphere and spring in the southern
and monthly basis, at different times of hemisphere. This day (23 September) when
the year. On 21 March and 23 September sun’s rays for fall verticaly on the equator, is
the sun rises precisely in the east and sets known as autumnal equinox (Figure 2.13).
exactly in the west.
Position of the earth on 21 June
Equinoxes and solstices
The North Pole is inclined or tilted towards
You already knew that the sunrays are the sun. It, therefore, experiences complete
vertical at noon. The vertical rays fall on a light for 24 hours. The South Pole is tilted
small area, giving more heat. away from the sun so it is in complete
Equinoxes darkness for 24 hours. The rays of the
sun fall vertically at the tropic of cancer
Equinoxes occur when the earth reaches (23½º N). In the Northern hemisphere, the
the points in its orbits where the equatorial days are longer than the nights (Table 2.2).
and the orbital planes intersect, causing It is summer in the northern hemisphere
the sun to appear directly overhead at the and winter in the southern hemisphere. The
equator. During the equinoxes the periods day 21 June is known as summer solstice.
of day light and darkness are equal all over
the world. On 21 March the sun is directly Position of the earth on 22 December
overhead at the equator. Throughout the The South Pole is inclined towards the sun
world, on this day all the places experience and the North Pole is away from it. The
almost equal hours of day and night. rays of the sun fall vertically at the tropic
This position of the sun is called spring of Capricorn (23½º S). The greater part of
equinox. Again on 23 September the sun the southern hemisphere gets the direct
is directly overhead on the equator and it rays of the sun so the days are long and
is called autumn equinox. the nights are short here. In the northern
Position of the earth on 21 March hemisphere the nights are longer than the
days at this time. The southern hemisphere
Neither pole is inclined towards the sun. has summer. The northern hemisphere
The rays of the sun fall vertically on the has winter. This day (22 December), when
equator. All the places have equal days the sun’s rays fall vertically on the Tropic
and nights as both the poles receive the of Capricorn, is known as winter solstice.

March equinox June Solstice Septemper equinox December Solstice
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
900 N
800 N 24 hours (Constant day)
700 N 1 23 hours 1
600 N 6 18 hours 6
8 8
500 N 16 hours
400 N
10 10
300 N 14 hours
200 N
100 N

12 12
00 12 hours
100 N
200 N
14 14
300 N 10 hours
40 N

16 8 hours 16
500 N
18 6 hours 18
600 N 23 1 hours 23
700 N
800 N 0 hours (Constant night)
900 N

Figure 2.13 Variations in the Length of Day and Night

Table 2.2 Variation in the length of day time

Latitude Summer Solstice Winter Solstice Equinoxes
0º 12 hrs 12 hrs 12hrs
10º 12hrs 35 min 11hrs 25 min 12hrs
20º 13hrs 12min 10hrs 48min 12hrs
30º 13hrs 56min 10hrs 4 min 12hrs
40º 14hrs 52 min 9 hrs 8 min 12hrs
50º 16hrs 18min 7 hrs 42 min 12hrs
60º 18hrs 27min 5 hrs 33min 12hrs
70º 24 hrs (for 2 months) 0 hrs 00 min 12hrs
80º 24 hrs (for 4 months) 0 hrs 00 min 12hrs
90º 24 hrs (for 6 months) 0 hrs 00 min 12hrs

Eclipses A) Solar Eclipse

Let us understand the effect of the It occurs on New Moon days, when
revolution of the earth on the length of the the moon is between the Sun and the
days and the nights. The duration of the Earth. Thus it obscures a part of the Sun
daylight varies with latitude and seasons. viewed from the Earth, but only from a
An eclipse is a complete or partial small area of the world. It lasts only for
obscuration of light from a celestial body a few minutes. A partial solar eclipse
and it passes through the shadow of (Figure  2.14) happens when the moon
another celestial body. The eclipses are of partially covers the disc of the sun. An
two types. They are: annular solar eclipse occurs when the

Fact File
Geo connects History
Secret to Great Pyramid’s Near Perfect
Alignment Possibly Found!
The Great Pyramid of Giza, 4,500 years
ago, is an ancient feat of engineering.
Now an archaeologist has figured out
how the Egyptians may have aligned
the pyramid almost perfectly along the
cardinal points, north-south-east-west.
Egyptians may have used the autumn
equinox. Methods used by the ancient
Egyptians to align the pyramids along the
cardinal points are accurate.
W On the day of the fall equinox, a surveyor
placed a rod into the ground and tracked its
shadow throughout the day. The result was
Shadow lin

a line running almost perfectly east-west.

The Egyptians could have determined the
day of the fall equinox by counting forward
91 days after the summer solstice.

Figure 2.14 Solar eclipse

moon passes centrally across the solar (b) Lunar Eclipse
disc. During a total solar eclipse, the It occurs on a Full Moon
moon’s shadow is short enough to cover position when the earth
the whole sun. The outer regions still is between the sun and
glow and look bright as a ring. Such a the moon. The earth’s
phenomenon is called Diamond Ring. shadow obscures the

Difference between Rotation and Revolution
Rotation Revolution
Spinning of the earth from west to east on its axis. Movement of the earth around the sun in its
elliptical orbit.
It takes 24 hours to complete a rotation (or a day) It takes 365¼ days to complete one revolution
(or a year)
It is known as the daily or diurnal movement. It is known as the annual movement of the earth.
Rotation causes days and nights to alternate, tides, Revolution results in the varying lengths of day
deflection of winds and ocean currents and also and night, changes in the altitude of the midday
gives the earth its shape. sun and change of seasons.

moon as viewed from the earth. A partial The changing angles between the earth,
lunar eclipse can be observed when only the sun and the moon determine the
a part of the moon’s surface is obscured by phases of the moon. Phases of the moon
earth’s umbra (Figure 2.15). A penumbral (Figure 2.16) start from the ‘New Moon’
lunar eclipse happens when the moon every month. Then, only a part of the
travels through the faint penumbral Moon is seen bright  called ‘Crescent’,
portion of the earth’s shadow. A total which  develops  into the ‘first quarter’.
lunar eclipse occurs when the earth With the increasing brightness it turns
umbra obscures the entire the moon’s into three quarters known as ‘Gibbous’
surface. Lunar eclipse can be seen from and then it becomes a ‘Full Moon’.
anywhere on the night side of the Earth. These stages are the waxing moon.
It lasts for a few hours due to the smaller After the full moon, the moon starts
size of the moon. waning or receding  through  the stages
of Gibbous, last quarter, crescent, and
Phases of the Moon

Figure 2.15 Lunar eclipse

Half Moon
First Quarter
Waxing Gibbous Waxing Cresent

10 7

Full Moon New Moon

14 Midnight Noon (0 & 29)

18 26

Waning Gibbous Waning Cresent

Last Quarter
Half Moon

Figure 2.16 Phases of the Moon

finally  becomes  invisible as dark New particular latitude receive vertical rays
Moon. from the sun. As we move north or south
The varying lengths of daylight in of this location, the sun’s rays strike at
different latitudes decreasing angles. The yearly fluctuations
in the angle of the sun’s rays and the length
It is evident from the table that the
of the days change with the continual
duration of daylight is 12 hours
change of the earth’s position in its orbit
throughout the year at the equator only.
around the sun at an inclination of 66½
As one moves away from the equator,
to the orbital plane.
the seasonal variations in the duration of
daylight increase. The seasonal variations Difference in the angle of the sun’s rays
in the duration of daylight are maximum striking different parts of the earth.
at the polar region.
Away from the equator, the sun’s rays
Effects of the spherical shape of the earth strike the earth’s surface at particular
angle. The slanting rays are spread over
Variation in the amount of solar radiation
a large area and do not heat with the
same intensity as the direct rays. As
If the earth were a flat surface, we go pole wards, the rays spread over
oriented at right angle to the sun, all the
the regions beyond  the Arctic and the
places on the earth would have received
Antarctic circles in an extremely slanting
the same amount of radiation. But the
manner. This is how we get the various
earth is spherical/ geoid. Hence the
temperature zones.
sunrays do not heat the higher latitudes
Lower the degree of latitude; higher the
of the earth as much as the tropics. On
any given day only the places located at temperature. Not only that, the rays striking
at a low angle must travel through a greater
Figure 2.17 Time zones of the world
thickness of the atmosphere  than the rays The world time zone (Figure 2.17) was
striking at a higher angle. The rays striking formed, relating longitude and the rotation
at a lower angle are subject  to greater of the earth. The Prime Meridian is the
depletion by reflection  and absorption by centre of time zone extending from 7½ºW
the atmosphere. and 7½ º E longitudes. The 24 hours time
Temperature zones zone system had been developed so that
all the time zones should be referred with
The spherical shape of the earth along
respect to Greenwich Mean Time. Earth
with its movement around the sun causes
was divided into 24 time zones, each one
differences in the angles at which the sun’s
zone for one hour of the day. It is because
rays fall on the earth’s surface. This causes
earth rotates 15º of longitude in one hour
a difference in the distribution of heat on
(360º divided by 24 hours). The time when
the earth’s surface.
solar noon occurs at the Prime Meridian is
As a result, the world has been fixed as noon for all places between 7½º E
divided into three distinct heat zones or and 7½º W.
temperature zones. They are the Torrid
zone, Temperate zone and Frigid zone.
Daylight Saving Time
You will learn more about it under the
unit atmosphere. In the mid latitude countries of
Europe, North America, Australia
2.16 Time Zones of the World and South America, the day time are
longer in summer than the night. In
People during the medieval period were
spite of employing daylight duration,
using sundials and water clocks to observe
the clocks are adjusted 1 hour forward
the Sun’s meridian passing at noon. In 17th
in spring and 1 hour backward in
century, the people started using pendulum
autumn. This time is generally known
clock which did not show accurate time while
as ‘the Daylight Saving Time’ (DST).
travelling in the sea. Later chronometer was
invented in 1764. Chronometer measures
Time Zones
time accurately and the mariners widely
used this during the 19th century. But in On its axis, the earth rotates 360 degrees
many towns and cities clocks were set based every 24 hours. You can look at it as it
on sunset and sunrise. The use of local takes one day to complete a full circle.
solar time hindered the development of Divided up into an hourly rate, the earth
railways and telecommunications. A time rotates 15 degrees every hour (360/24).
zone is a region on the earth where uniform This number plays an important role in
standard time should be maintained for determining time zones. You have already
transport, commercial and social purposes. learned about the latitudes and longitudes
For example, if different time zones were and their importance in the lower classes.
followed, the trains coming from different An important factor in determining
regions, sharing single track may meet with time zones is the lines of latitude and
accidents. longitude, imaginary lines known as
latitudes and longitudes dividing the
earth. Latitude lines are drawn east - west 1. First, we need to know what longitudes
and they measure the location in northern the two places are located.
and southern hemisphere. The line starts 2. Next, you would need to find the
at the equator and measure distance from differences in longitude (in degrees)
0 degrees to 90 degrees north and also 0 between the two places. If both places
degrees to 90 degrees south. They also are located on the same side of the
become shorter farther away from the Prime Meridian, then the numbers
equator. On the other hand, longitude are just simply subtracted to find the
lines are drawn north - south and they difference. If they are on the opposite
measure eastern and western hemisphere. side of the Prime Meridian then the
They start at the Prime Meridian (or 0 two numbers should be added together
degree) and measure from 0 degrees to 180 to find the difference.
degrees east and 180 degrees west. Unlike 3. Third, we need to divide the difference
lines of latitude, these lines are fairly equal (measured in degrees) by 15 since
in length. The origin of this spherical there are 15 degrees in every hour.
coordinate system is at 0 degree latitude This will give us the difference in
and 0 degree longitude. This spot can be time between the two locations. So
found in the Atlantic Ocean just south if you know what time it is in one
west of Africa. Also, the two lines connect location, and the longitude of another
at 180 degrees or at the International location, then just simple addition or
Date Line (Figure 2.18). This too helps to subtraction problem will give us the
determining different time zones of the time in a different time zone. Let's
world. look at another way we may have to
Together all of the above information can calculate the difference between times
be used to calculate the difference of time of two locations.
between two locations. Another calculation you may have to make
N is over the International Date Line. This
line is strategically placed in the Pacific
Ocean so that no two neighboring cities
West to East are one day apart in time. It can be difficult
to calculate though the International Date
International date line

Gains a
Day Line when trying to determine the amount
Loses a of time difference between locations on
either side. This calculation is very similar
East to West to the situation with the Prime Meridian.
+ -
Subtract a Day
We must start by finding the difference in
longitude (or degrees) of the two places.
Add a Day

We do this by adding the two numbers.

Then, divide by the 15 degrees that occurs
S in one hour and this will give you the time
difference between two locations through
Figure 2.18 International date line
the International Date Line. And again, 3:00pm in Japan on Thursday that means
just add or subtract that difference from it is 3:00  5 hours 8:00pm in Hawaii.
the time that we already know to come up However notice that when crossing the
with the new time in the new time zone. IDL we subtract a day going east. So, in
Hawaii it is 8:00pm on Wednesday.
Example of Time Calculations
Now note that Latitudinal lines are
To review, to find the difference between imaginary horizontal lines over the Earth's
the two longitudes and divide by 15, this globe. 0q longitudinal line is Equator.
gives you the difference in hours between Earth completes one rotation on its axis
the two locations. Second, add or subtract in 24 hours and in the process turns a
the number of hours from the time of day complete circle of 360q. This means Earth
that was already known, we will need to rotates 360q/24 15q in one hour. Every
add the numbers if we are going east, and gain or loss of 1q longitude stands for 4
subtract if we are going west. Here are minutes.
some examples of how we may need to
360q 24 hours 1440 min
calculate the difference of time zones.
Difference of time for 15q longitude one
If you are in London at 12:00, and want
to know what time it is in Japan, you would
need to first figure out that London is 0 Difference of time for 1q longitude 4
degrees (right on the prime meridian), and minutes.
Japan is 135 degrees East. So the difference Longitude Calculations Procedures
is 135 degrees (135–0), divided by 15 which a. First locate the two places involved
equals 9. It means there is a 9-hour difference
b. find the longitude difference
between London and Japan. Since Japan is
c. Convert the longitude difference to
further east than London is, you would add
time and,
9 hours to 12:00. The answer is at 12:00 noon
London time, it is 9:00pm in Japan. d. Adjust the time according to the
direction of movement, (west or east).
Now we suppose imagine that we are
going through the International Date Example 1
Line. Pretend you are in Japan, which Ponni starts her journey at longitude 0q at
is 135 degrees east and you wanted to 12 noon and she’s moving towards eastward
know what time it is in Hawaii, which of longitude 10q. Calculate the time that
is 150 West. Well, there is 45 (180–135) Ponni will arrive at her destination.
degrees difference between Japan and the
IDL. Also there is 30 (180–150) degrees
Initial time 12 noon
difference between the IDL and Hawaii.
Therefore the difference in time is (45  Destination 10qE
30/15  5) 5 hours. Now the tricky part Conversion of degree to time
is that Japan and Hawaii are on different 1 hour 15q
days. It is one day ahead on the left side of and 4 minutes 1q
the IDL compared to the right side. If it is
Hence 10q (4 u 10) minutes

40 minutes Destination time = initial + calculated
Destination time Initial time  calculated time
time = 10:00am + 6hrs
12 noon  40minutes = 14:00pm
12:40pm 14:00pm = 4:00pm
Answer 4:00pm
Example 2
If the time at village A (long 75qW) is 5:00
pm on Friday. Calculate the time and day
at village B (long 120qE)
Solution 1. Dark energy: A theoretical form of
360q 24hrs energy postulated to act in opposition to
15q 1 hour gravity and to occupy the entire universe,
1q 4 minutes accounting for most of the energy in it
and causing its expansion to accelerate.
Village A 75qW
2. Magnetic field: A force field that is
Village B 120qE
created by moving electric charges and
We will add (west and east)
magnetic dipoles, and exerts a force
(75  120)q 195q on other nearby moving charges and
195 divided by 15q magnetic dipoles.
13hrs 3. Penumbra: The partially shaded outer
Destination time initial  calculated region of the shadow cast by an opaque
time object.
5:00  13 hrs 4. Asteroids: Small rocky celestial bodies
18:00 that revolve around the Sun, like other
18:00 6:00
5. Standard time: A uniform time for
Answer 6:00am on Saturday
places in approximately the same
Example 3 longitude, established in a country or
Calculate the local time in New York region by law or custom.
(USA) longitude 75°W, when it is 10am in 6. Galactic movement: This is the
Nigeria of longitude 15°E movement of the earth with the sun and
Solution the rest of the solar system in an orbit
Initial time = 10:00am around the centre of the MilkyWay
New York = 75°W Galaxy
Nigeria = 15° E 7. Equinox: Time when the apparent
We will add (west and east) movement of the sun is overhead the
(75 + 15)° = 90°
8. Gibbous: Third quarter of moon’s
90° divided by 15° = 6 hrs
phase is known as Gibbous.

9. Solar flare: A magnetic storm on the c. September 5 d. December 4
sun and releases huge amounts of 7. The length of day time at 800 N during
gases. It can cause ‘Sun quakes’. summer solstice is
10. Super Nova: The explosive death a. 18hrs 27min
of a star. It obtains brightness of 100 b. 24 hrs (for 2 months)
million suns for a short time.
c. 24 hrs (for 4 months)
Evaluation d. 24 hrs (for 6 months)

I. Choose the best 8. The apparent movement of the Sun is

answer from the overhead the Equator twice a year on
options given a. Dec 22 and Mar21
1. The scientist who b. Mar21 and Sep23
proposed Big Bang c. Jun 21 and Dec 22
Theory was d. Sep 23 and Dec22
a. Abbe Georges Lemaitre 9. On June 21 the Sun’s rays fall vertically
b. Edwin Hubble on the
c. Nicholas Copernicus a. The Tropic of Cancer
d. Aryabhatta b. The Tropic of Capricorn
2. is called the Morning c. The Equator
and Evening Star in the Solar system. d. The Arctic Circle
a. The Mercury b. The Venus 10. The Prime Meridian is the centre of
c. The Uranus d. The Saturn time zone extending between
3. The Planet with 30 rings in the solar a. 7 ½q W and 7 ½° E longitudes
system is b. 7 ½° N and 7 ½° S
a. The Jupiter b. The Mars c. 17 ½° W and 17 ½° E Longitudes
c. The Earth d. The Saturn d. 17 ½° N and 17 ½° S
4. The earth takes to II. Very short answer
complete one rotation.
11. Define a star.
a. 23 hrs 56 min 4 sec
12. Why is the Venus hottest?
b. 27 hrs 17 min
13. Mention any two differences between
c. 24 hrs 56 min 4 sec the Mercury and Neptune.
d. 10 hrs 7 min 14. What are the inner planets?
5. The windiest planet is 15. Define the circle of illumination.
a. The Saturn b. The Neptune
III. Short answer
c. The Jupiter d. The Mars
16. What are dwarf planets?
6. The sun appears to be the closest to the
17. Why could we see only one side of the
earth on
Moon always?
a. January 3 b. July 4
18. Mention the characteristics of the a. 40,000 miles;
Saturn. b. 25,000 miles;
19. Distinguish between the solar eclipse c. 2400 miles;
and lunar eclipse.
d. 76,000 miles;
20. Calculate the local time of Chennai
e. none of the above.
(800 27’ E) when it is 8 pm in Singapore
(1030 81’E) 4. How many degrees of a full circle can you
travel eastward or westward from the
IV. Detailed answer
zero (prime) Meridian before heading
21. Explain the Big bang Theory. back toward the Prime Meridian?
22. Describe the structure of the Sun. a. 60 degree.
23. Draw the four positions of the Sun
b. 90 degree.
during equinoxes and Solstices and
briefly explain them. c. 360 degree.
d. 180 degree.
Additional questions
e. none of the above.
1. Lines of latitude
5. 0 degree longitude and 0 degree.
a. begin with the prime meridian; latitude is located:
b. are designated by being East or a. over central Australia;
West from an origin;
b. in Brazil;
c. are of equal length;
c. in the Atlantic south and west of
d. become shorter away from the
d. at the South Pole;
e. E. none of the above.
e. none of the above.
2. All of the following are true statements
about longitude, except 6. To find longitude, a sailor needs to
a. has its origin at the prime meridian; know
b. extend east and west to 180 degrees a. the elevation of the sun above the
longitude; horizon;
c. are relatively equal in length; b. the latitude at the prime meridian;
d. could be determined by sailors c. local time and the time at another
using a device called the sextant; line of longitude;
e. could not be determined by sailors d. the relative space;
until the introduction of the e. none of the above.
chronometer. 7. Latitude and longitude is a spherical
3. You are told that the earth rotates on its axis coordinate system with its origin at
at a speed of about 1042 miles per hour. 0 degree latitude and 0 degree longitude.
Given that the rotation occurs in 24 hours, This point is in the Atlantic Ocean
what is the circumference of the earth? just below the African country of the

Ivory Coast. Locations are measured Practice
in degrees away from this origin in
1. Prepare a working model of the
north, south, east and west directions.
Solar system as a group work and
23.34 degree S and 46.38 degree W is
demonstrate in the class.
probably located in:
2. Collect and prepare in a chart, the
a. Russia;
facts about the sun, planets, satellites,
b. Canada; asteroids, comets and meteors and make
c. South Africa; a news reading of each heavenly body in
d. South America the school assembly each one day.
e. None of the above. 3. Collect latest information on the
8. The circumference of the earth at the “Planet 9” and present it in the
equator or along any line of longitude classroom.
is approximately:
a. 25,000 km Reference
b. 40,000 km 1. Geography by Surender Singh.
c. 36,000 km 2. Geography by Vee Kumar publications.
d. 46,000 km. 3. Solar system. Nasa.gov.com
9. It is 1:00 PM on Friday at 90 degree W.
what time is it at 90 degree E?
a. 7:00 PM Friday;
b. 7:00 AM Friday;
c. 7:00 AM Saturday;
d. 1:00 AM Saturday;
e. 1:00 PM Saturday.
10. It is 12 Noon, Monday at 90 degree. W.
what time and day should it be at 75
degrees east longitude?
a. 11PM, Monday;
b. 11 AM; Tuesday;
c. 1 AM; Monday;
d. 11 PM; Tuesday;
e. 6 AM; Monday.

Time zone and Eclipses Conflicting Clocks

Through this activity you will

identify time zones and Eclipses.

• Use the URL to reach the ‘Time Zone Map’ page or scan the QR code.
• Use the mouse and surf over the interactive map to observe the time variations and
current time in a particular place.
• Select ‘Eclipses’ under ‘Sun and Moon’ menu to observe eclipses and transits of
• Click ‘See list of all eclipses & planet transits worldwide (1900 to 2199)’ option form
the list and use the interactive map to identify date and paths of eclipse and transits.

Step 1 Step 2

Step 3 Step 4

Website URL:

Pictures are indicative only.

Unit III


Chapter Outline Learning Objectives:

3.1 Introduction • Understand the structure and
3.2 Interior of the Earth
composition of the Earth.
3.3 Continental Drift Theory
3.4 Plate Tectonics • Develop an insight into the
3.5 Plate boundaries Continental Drift Theory.
3.6 Convection Cell • Describe the concept of Plate
3.7 Fold Tectonic movement.
3.8 Fault • List and compare the characteristics
3.9 Earthquake and distribution of the earth’s
3.10 Volcano
internal forces
3.11 Rocks
3.12 Rock Cycle • Explain rock types and rock cycle

3.1 Introduction
Do you know that the Russians tried to dig
through the centre of the Earth? It indeed
is a daring attempt.
While the famous Voyager 1 satellite
took 26 years to exit our Solar System
(16.5 billion km away), almost the same
amount of time (24 years) was taken for
man to dig out a mere 12.3 km into the
earth’s surface.
Russia drilled Kola Super Deep bore
Figure 3.1 Kola Super Deep
hole between 1970 and 1994. The deepest
Borehole, Russia
are collectively known as geomorphic
processes. (figure. 3.3)
The process by which the earth’s surface

is reshaped through rock movements and

displacement is termed as diastrophism.
KIMBERLITE Diastrophism includes both orogenic and
epeirogenic processes.

Our knowledge of the earth is mostly

Figure 3.2 Extreme points of the earth limited to its surface. But the earth has
a complicated interior. The earth is
part of it, named 'SG-3 (Star Gate), extends composed of lithosphere, atmosphere,
12.3 km into the Earth. Look at figure 3.2 hydrosphere, and biosphere.
and amaze the highest and deepest points The lithosphere is the outermost rigid
of the earth. rocky shell of the earth. It comprises the
The earth’s surface is being continuously crust and the upper portion of the mantle.
reshaped by both the internal (Endogenic The word lithosphere is derived from
forces) and external forces (Exogenic the Greek words lithos meaning rocky
forces). The changes that the endogenic and sphaira meaning sphere. The term
and exogenic forces bring about in the lithosphere was introduced by Joseph
appearance of the surface of the earth Barrel, an American Geologist.


Endogenetic Exogenetic

Slow Movements Sudden

Weathering Erosion

Orogenic or Mountain building Earthquakes Physical Glacier

Epeirogenic or Continent

Tension Volcanoes Chemical River Water

Compression Biological Waves

water (Karst)

Figure 3.3 Earth's Forces

Figure 3.4 Layers of the Earth
3.2 Interior of the Earth 70 km thick in the Himalayan region. The
The interior of the earth is composed density of the crust is less than 2.7 g/cm3.
of many minerals both in the solid and 3.2.2 The mantle
liquid state. The temperature in general The mantle is composed of silica, magnesium
increases at the rate of 1q C for every 32 and iron. It lies between the lower crust
metres towards the earth’s interior. and the outer core. It extends for about
Look at the figure.3.4 the layers of the 2,900 km. It is divided into upper mantle
earth. Earth’s interior can be divided into and lower mantle. The mantle generally is
the crust, upper mantle, lower mantle, in a solid state. The upper part of the mantle
outer core, and inner core. is called asthenosphere. The word Asthen
in Greek means weak. It extends up to
3.2.1 The Crust 400 km and it is the main source of magma.
The crust is further divided into upper The Mohorovicic is the boundary which
crust (continental crust), composed of divides the lower crust and the upper mantle.
silica and aluminum (sial) and the lower The density of the mantle is 3.9 g/cm3.
crust (oceanic crust) made up of silica and
magnesium (sima). The boundary between 3.2.3 The core
the upper crust and the lower crust is termed The core forms the centre of the earth. Its
as ‘Conorod boundary’. The thickness density is 13.0 g/cm3. Its temperature is
of the crust varies from oceanic areas to about 5500q C to 6000q C. The core has
continental areas. Oceanic crust is thinner two parts namely the outer core and the
when compared to the continental crust. inner core. The boundary between the
The mean thickness of oceanic crust is 5 km lower mantle and the outer core is called
while the continental crust is around 30 km. Guttenberg margin.
The continental crust is thicker in the areas The outer core and inner core are
of major mountain systems. It is as much as separated by Lehmann boundary. The
outer core is in the liquid state while the 3.3 Continental Drift Theory
inner core is in the solid state. Generally, In 1912 Alfred Wegener (1880-1930)
the core is composed of Nickel and Ferrous postulated that all the continents once
(Iron) which is called NiFe (Barysphere). were together forming a single continent.
The core is extended from 2,900 km to 6,370 According to him, about 250 million years
km from the surface of the earth.


Equator Equator


250 million years ago 200 million years ago

Equator Equator

145 million years ago 65 million years ago






Figure 3.5 Continental Drift

ago, the earth was made up of a single the western side of Africa and the
landmass called Pangaea (meaning "all eastern side of South America fit
lands"), and a single ocean surrounding it together.
called as Panthalassa. Over a long period
of time, probably 220 million years ago, Enchanted rock in the
they drifted apart and gradually moved to Texas Hill Country is
form their present position. First, Pangaea about a billion years
broke into two landmasses namely old. The Hawaiian
Laurasia in the north and Gondwana in Islands are the youngest lava forms of
the south. the Hawaiian hotspot.
Laurasia further split into Eurasia and
North America. Gondwana land split
into Africa, South America, Antarctica, South America
Australia, and India.
Wegener put forward certain evidences
to support the continental drift theory. Let
us deal with it in detail.
3.3.1 Evidences to support continental pole
drift theory India
The continental drift theory is supported
by the following evidences.
1. Certain identical rare fossils have been Antarctica
found in different continents.
The fossils of Mesosaurus (a small
Permian reptile), for example, have
been found only in Africa and South
2. The fossil of a Fern tree, about 360
million year old, has been found only Figure 3.6 Evidence of continents split
in India and Antarctica. from the same land mass
3. Rocks of similar type, formation, and age
have been found in Africa and Brazil. 3.4 Plate Tectonics
Have you heard about diving between
4. Geological structure in Newfoundland
two continents? It is possible in the Silfra
matches with that of Ireland, Scotland
rift of Iceland. Look at Figure.3.7. It is
and Scandinavia. Geological Structure
located in the Tingvellir National Park.
of Appalachian Mountains matches with
It is in the boundary between the North
Morocco and Algeria in North Africa.
American plate and the Eurasian plate. It
5. The corresponding edges of the is the visible boundary between these two
continents fit together. For example, plates.

tectonic is derived from the Greek word
tekton meaning builders.

GNSS (Global navigation satellite System)

measures the speed
of plate movement.
Rate of seafloor
spreading ranges from
1 to 2 centimetres per year
Figure 3.7 Silfra rift, Tingvellir, Iceland along the oceanic ridge in the northern
Atlantic Ocean to more than 15 cm per
Web link for Silfra drift year along the East Pacific Rise.
Lithospheric plates are sometimes
called as crustal plates or tectonic plates.
You have already learned the Earth's lithosphere is divided into a
Continental drift theory. Now let us see series of major and minor mobile plates.
what plate boundaries are. Eurasian plate, Indo-Australian plate,
North American plate, South American
3.5 Plate boundaries plate, Pacific plate, African plate and
Plate boundaries are the zones where Antarctic plate are the major plates.
two or more plates move about. Plate Arabian plate, Caribbean plate, Cocas
tectonics describes the distribution and plate and Scotia plate are the examples of
motion of the plates. The earth's surface minor plates. Plates move at the rate of 2
is composed of rigid lithospheric slabs to 3 centimeters per year.
technically called “plates”. The word





Not to scale

Figure 3.8 Distribution of tectonic plates

Student activity
Look at the map given below. Label the plates or number them. Identify and colour
the oceanic plates.
1. Pacific plate 9. North American plate
2. African plate 10. South American plate
3. Eurasian plate 11. Juan de Fuca plate
4. Arabian plate 12. Indian plate
5. Australian plate 13. Antarctic plate
6. Caribbean plate 14. Philippine plate
7. Cocas plate 15. Nasca plate
8. Scotia plate
1. Name the plates bordering the Indo-Australian plate.

2. Which sea lies between African plate and Arabian plate?

3. Which two continents, you think, may fit together?


Not to scale

Figure 3.9 Tectonic plates

Plates are composed of the continental Plate margins mark the occurrence of
or oceanic landmass. The subduction the most significant landforms, including
of the oceanic plates results in the volcanoes, fold mountains, island arcs
occurrence of earthquakes and volcanoes and deep-sea trenches. There are three
adjacent to trenches. principal types of plate boundaries. They
are divergent, convergent, and transform


3.5.1 Divergent plate boundaries Oceanic Crust
Divergent plate boundary is the margin Lithosphere Lithosphere
where two plates move apart. For
instance, the African plate and South
American plate move apart and form a
divergent plate boundary. Narrow oceans Figure 3.10 Divergent margin
represent young divergent boundaries islands such as the Azores, Ascension, St.
and wide oceans are indications of Helena and Tristan da Cunha.
old ocean basins. Ocean ridges are
the boundaries  between  plates of the Web link: Mid Atlantic Ridge
lithosphere. www.britanica.com/place/
Atlantic Ocean
is widening at an
Secondly, rift valley is formed when
estimated rate of 1 to
two plates move apart. If a divergent
10 cm a year
boundary runs through the continent,
A fissure is created when oceanic the continent splits apart and rift valley
lithosphere separates along the oceanic is formed. The African Rift Valley of East
plate boundary. The gap is filled by magma Africa is an example.
that rises from the asthenosphere. The
3.5.2 Convergent plate boundary
magma cools and solidifies to create a new
Convergent plate boundary is the margin
oceanic crust. Hence, the divergent plate
where two plates collide with one another.
boundary is termed as the constructive
For instance, the South American plate
plate boundary. It is also called as accreting
and Nazca plate collide with each other.
plate margin.
There are two kinds of surface features
Let us see what happens in the divergent
associated with the convergent margin.
plate boundary. Firstly, submarine
The first is the ocean trench that forms a
mountain ridge is formed through the
line between the two colliding plates.
fissures in the oceanic crust when the
plates move apart.
The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is an ideal Wadati-Benioff
example of a submarine mountain ridge zones are nothing but
in the Atlantic Ocean. It is the longest Subduction zone
mountain ridge in the world.
It extends for about 16,000 km, in a 'S'
shaped path, between Iceland in the north
and Bouvet Island in the south. It is about A trench is a narrow and deep depression of
80 to 120 km wide. It reaches above the the ocean floor. It is formed when the oceanic
sea level in some places thus forming the plate slides down underneath continental

plate as the oceanic plate is denser than the 3.5.3 Transform plate boundaries
continental plate. For instance, Mariana Transform plate boundary is the margin
Trench in the Pacific Ocean, is the deepest where two plates move side by side. The
trench in the world. It is formed when the lithosphere is neither destroyed nor created
Pacific plate sinks down the Eurasian plate. It is by the transform plate boundary. Hence
about 10,994 metres (10.99 km) deep. Mariana it is called as the Conservative or passive
Trench stretches for more than 2,540 km with plate boundary. The San Andreas Fault,
a width of 69 km. California, is a transform boundary that
You could take Mount Everest and separates the North American plate and
sink it in the Mariana Trench, the deepest Pacific Plates.
Subduction zone
point in the ocean, and still you have a km
of depth to reach the surface of the ocean. oceanic
When a continental plate and an oceanic Juan
plate collide with each other, denser oceanic De Fuca North
plate sinks below the lighter continental Plate American
plate, subduction zone is formed. Transform Plate
boundary San Francisco
A subduction zone is a boundary where Plate motion direction Andreas
one plate sinks under the other plate. It was Los Angeles fault

first identified by Kiyoo Wadati and Benioff. Pacific

Plate Gulf of
Secondly fold mountain is formed when California

two plates collide each other. For instance, Figure 3.12 Transform plate boundary
the Himalayas were formed when the Indian
plate collided with the Eurasian plate. The 3.6 Convection Cell
zone marking the boundary of the two Now you may think why plates keep
colliding plates is known as suture line. moving. The plate movements are caused
As the crust is less dense than the by the convection cells. Convection cell
mantle, the newly formed magma will is the circulation of the molten materials
tend to rise to the Earth’s surface, where caused by the heat derived from the core.
it may form volcanoes. The area in the When looking at the figure.3.13 you will
subduction zone where most earthquakes understand how and why plates move in
occur is known as the Benioff zone. different directions.
High When the molten materials( magma)
Ra ntain


circulate in different directions, they push


Continental crust
or pull the plates in different directions.
Continental crust
Thus, the plates move towards each other,
Lithosphere Lithosphere
move away from one another and move
side by side. The plate movements cause
the formation of fold, fault, earthquake, and
volcano to occur. Let us see the cause, effects,
Figure 3.11 Convergent plate boundaries and distribution of the internal forces.

Mid-Oceanic Ridge


Continental Oceanic
Lithosphere Lithosphere


Figure 3.13 Convection Cell

Axial Planes
3.7.1 Parts of a Fold
Hinge Lines
(fold axes) Axis Up thrown part of a fold is called anticline.
Down thrown part of a fold is syncline.


The side of the fold is a limb. The top

Lim of the fold is the crest. The plane which
Li m

Li m b
bisects the angle between two limbs is

Anticline Syncline Anticline

called the axis of fold or axial plane. The
Figure 3.14 Parts of the Fold fold is formed by the plate movements.

3.6.1 Internal forces 3.7.2 Types of Folds

The internal forces are also called as the The type of fold depends on the nature of
tectonic forces. They generally occur in the rock, the intensity of compression forces,
the plate boundaries. They are caused by etc. The types of the fold can be many but
convection cell and plate movement. They we will deal with five of the following.
form fold, fault, earthquake and volcano. 1. When compressional force is equal
from both sides, the angle of the limb
3.7 Fold
is same on both sides. Such a fold is
Horizontal movements are produced
called symmetrical fold.
by forces of compression and tension.
Folding is the bending of rock strata due 2. When compressional force is more
to compression. Folding on a large scale from one end, one limb is steeper
results in mountain building generally than the other. Such a fold is called
referred to as orogeny. asymmetrical fold.

A. Open (Symmetrical) B. Asymmetrical C. Overturned

D. Recumbent E. Isoclinal

Figure 3.15 Types of Fold

3. Isoclinal folds are similar to symmet- So  isoclinal folds are symmetrical and
rical folds, but these folds both have aligned in a parallel fashion.
the same angle and are parallel to each 4. When one limb of the fold is pushed
other. 'iso' means 'the same' (symmet- over the other limb of the fold, it is
rical), and 'cline' means 'angle,' so this called as over turned fold. Limbs are
name literally means 'the same angle.' seldom horizontal.

Figure 3.16 The Fold mountains of the world

Student activity
From the map given above, name the plates causing the formation of fold mountains
given below.
S. No Fold Mountain Two Converging Plates

1. The Andes

2. The Rockies

3. The Atlas

4. The Himalayas

5. The Alps

5. When one side of the fold is pushed so The fault plane is the flat surface
much that it lies positioned over the along which broken blocks of rock slide
other, such a fold is called recumbent past one another. A fault dip is an angle
fold. between the fault plane and horizontal
plane. Up thrown side represents the
When plates converge, the weak
uppermost block of a fault. Down thrown
rocks and sediments lying between two
side represents the lowermost block of a
plates get squeezed and folded. Parallel
fault. Sometimes it becomes difficult to
folds form long chains of fold mountain
find out, which block has really moved
ranges with high peaks. The fold
along the fault plane. Hanging wall is the
mountains are characterised by peaks and
upper wall of a fault. Foot wall represents
valleys. The tops of anticlines become
the lower wall of a fault.
the peaks and synclines become the
valleys. Intermontane plateaus (plateau A fault scarp is the steep wall like slope
surrounded by the mountain ranges all caused by faulting of the crustal rocks.
sides) may be found between the high Sometimes the fault scrap is so steep that
ranges. Example, Tibet. it resembles a cliff.

3.8 Fault 3.8.1 Types of Faults

A fault is a break in earth’s crust where Based on how plates move about, the fault
blocks of rock crust slide past each other. can be divided into as follow:
Usually it occurs along plate Normal Fault
boundaries, where the forces of plate Vertical displacement of the crust is called a
motion compress, pull or shear the crust normal fault. The normal fault is caused by
that breaks the crust. Energy release tensional forces where plates diverge. One
associated with rapid movement on active block lies above the other (hanging wall). The
faults is the cause of most earthquakes. other block lies below the fault (footwall).

Footwall Block Hanging Wall Block

Normal Fault
Figure 3.18 Narmada Rift Valley, India
word meaning ‘trough’. A Rift Valley may
subsequently get filled by water and a
river may flow through it. Normally, a rift
Hanging Wall Block valley is long, narrow and very deep. For
Footwall Block example,
i. Rhine rift Valley is flanked by two
Reverse Fault Block Mountains namely the Vosges
and the Black Forest.
Figure 3.17 Normal fault and Reverse fault
When movement occurs along a normal ii. The rift of River Narmada in India lies
fault, the hanging wall slips downward. between the Vindhyas and Satpura
block mountains.
Landforms made by Normal fault are: iii. The great rift valley of Africa.
1. Rift Valley or Graben The Great Rift Valley of Africa is
When a narrow block of land drops or the longest rift valley in the world. It
subsides between two parallel normal stretches for 6,400 km from Mozambique
faults, rift valley (Graben) is formed. in the south to Syria in the north. The
Graben originates from the German depressions have become lakes. The lakes

Volcano (e.g. Mt.Kilimanjaro) Fault Scarps

Parallel Faults (F = Faults)

Plate pulled apart Central

block Plate pulled apart
Multiple fracturing F F Rift Valley F F FF
F Rift Valley Multiple fracturing
Lakes on valley floors (e.g. Lake Tanganyika)
Figure 3.19 Rift valley and Block Mountain


Tectonic Stress

Figure 3.20 Horst (Left) and Vindhya Block Mountain (Right)

of Africa, Dead Sea of Israel and the Red convergent plate boundaries. One side of
Sea form the parts of the Great Rift Valley. the fault lies at an angle above the other.

2. Horst Shear Fault / Transform Fault/

When a block of land between two faults Strike – Slip Fault
is pushed up, block mountain or horst is It is created by shearing along transform
formed. In this case, the central block is boundaries. Rocks on either side of fault
not only up thrown but the side blocks slip past each other sideways with little up
are also relatively downthrown so that the or down motion. It mostly occurs in the
whole central mass appears like a dome. ocean basin and connects offsets in the
In India, specifically the mountain mid ocean ridge.
ranges of Vindhya and Satpura found in
the central western part of the India are 3.9 Earthquake
block mountains. Earthquake is a sudden shaking of the
earth’s surface. Focus is the location Reverse Fault inside the earth where the earthquake
A reverse fault is a horizontal displacement originates. Epicenter is the point on the
of the crust. It is formed where two earth's surface vertically above the focus
fractured blocks move towards each other. of an earthquake. Earthquake results from
It is caused by compressional forces along the sudden release of pressure which
Left lateral strike - slip Fault
has slowly built up within the earth’s
crust. Energy is released in the form of
shockwaves known as seismic waves. The
seismic waves can broadly be classified
into two types namely Body waves and
surface waves.
I. Body Waves are the waves that travel
through the interior of the earth. They
are further divided into the following.

Figure 3.21 Transform fault

Fault Scarp
Fault trace


Waves Focus

Fault Plane

Figure 3.22 Parts of an Earthquake

a. P or Primary or Compressional waves Love waves  shake the ground side to

are the fastest seismic waves (6 km/ side like S wave.
sec. in the upper crust). They cause Rayleigh waves  displace the ground
the matter to oscillate forward and like rolling ocean waves. The ground
backward, parallel to the motion of rolls forward and up and then down and
the seismic wave front. P waves push backwards. This is similar to a p wave but
(compress) and pull (dilate) the rock with the extra up-down motion.
that they pass through. They pass
through all medium. 3.9.1 Measuring the earthquake
b. S or Secondary or Shear waves are It is estimated that about 100,000
slower than the primary waves (3.5 earthquakes occur but all cannot be felt. A
km/sec. in the upper crust). They few earthquakes may be severe causing huge
cause matter to oscillate side to side, damage to property. Earthquake magnitude
perpendicular to the motion of the is measured on the Richter scale (named
wave front. S waves shear the rock that after the seismologist who devised it), which
they pass through. They pass through rates them on a scale of 1 to 10. Earthquake
only solid medium. intensity is measured on the modified Mercalli
II. Surface Waves are the waves that scale, which ranges from 1 to 12, depending
travel along the earth's surface. They upon the intensity. The seismograph is an
are slower than body waves. They instrument used to detect and record seismic
cause damage during earthquakes. waves created by the earthquakes.

3.9.2 Description of effects of earthquake in Richter scale


I. Felt by almost no one. 2.5. Generally not felt, but
II. Felt by very few people. recorded on seismometers.
III. Tremor noticed by many, but they often 3.5. Felt by many people
do not realize it is an earthquake.
IV. Felt indoors by many, Feels like a truck
has struck the building.
V. Felt by nearly everyone: many people
awakened. Swaying trees and poles
may be observed.
VI. Felt by all; many people run outdoors. 4.5. Some local damage
Furniture moved, slight damage occurs. may occur.
VII. Everyone runs outdoors. Poorly built
Structures considerable damaged; Slight
damage elsewhere.
VIII. Specially designed structures damaged 6.0. A destructive earthquake.
Slightly, others collapse.
IX. All buildings considerably damaged, many
shift off foundations, Noticeable cracks in
X. Many structures destroyed. Ground is 7.0. A major earthquake.
badly cracked.
XI. Almost all structures fall. Very wide cracks 8.0. Great Earthquakes.
in ground. and
XII. Total destruction. Waves seen on ground up
surfaces, objects are tumbled and tossed.

Table 3.1 The Mercalli and Richter scales

3.9.3 Causes of Earthquakes 3. Fires in the forest and urban areas.
There are many factors controlling the 4. Flash floods.
occurrence of the earthquake. Some of the
5. Tsunami - The high amplitude oceanic
major factors include:
waves caused by submarine earthquake
1. Plate Tectonic Movements
(measuring more than 7 on Richter
2. Volcanic Eruptions.
scale). The seismic waves travel through
3. Construction of large dams results
seawater generates high sea waves. They
in earthquake. Example. Koyna dam,
cause severe loss of life and property.
For instance, on 26th December 2004, a
4. Other Reasons: The nuclear
tsunami originating from a magnitude
explosions also release massive energy
8.9 earthquake in northern Sumatra
to cause tremors in the earth crust.
killed over 1,50,000 people in countries
When underground cave collapses,
surrounding the Indian Ocean.
earthquake may occur.
3.9.5 Distribution of earthquakes
3.9.4 Effects of the Earthquakes
1. Damage to buildings, roads, rails, 1. Circum-Pacific region: This region
factories, dams, bridges etc. includes all the coastal areas around
2. Landslides caused by earthquakes the Pacific Ocean. It extends through
damage infrastructure. the coasts of Alaska, Aleutian Islands,



Not to scale

Figure 3.23 World Distribution of Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Japan, Philippines, New Zealand, west
coast of North and South America.
This zone accounts for 68% of all
earthquakes on the surface of the earth. EARTHQUAKE MIDDLE EAST
2. Mediterranean-Himalayan region: NEAR THE IRAN/IRAQ BORDER/NOV.12.2017-9:18P.M.LOCAL TIME

This region extends from Alps

mountain to the Himalayan Mountains Tehran
and Tibet to China. About 31% of

world's earthquakes occur in this
3. Other Areas: These include Northern ❂
Africa and Rift Valley areas of the Red
Sea and the Dead Sea. ✵ ✵

3.10 Volcano
A volcano is an opening in the earth's crust
through which magma, gases and ash are
Figure 3.24 Earthquake,Iran-Iraq
released to the earth's surface. The molten border, 2017
rock material found in the interior of the th
On 12 November 2017, an earthquake
earth is called magma. It can be noted that with a magnitude of 7.2 on the Richter
when magma reaches the earth’s surface, it scale occurred on the Iran–Iraq border.
is known as lava (Figure. 3.25). Vent is an Areas affected: Iran and Iraq.
opening or mouth of a volcano. Fumaroles Max. intensity: VIII (Severe)
are the gushing fumes through the gap Fault: Arabian and Eurasian plates.
Casualties: 630 dead; above 8,100
in the volcano. Crater is a saucer shaped
injured; above 70,000 homeless.
depression in the mouth of a volcano. Depth: 19.0 km.
When the crater is widened, it is called as
Crater (if filled with water,
a crater lake is formed). Fact File
Mt. Krakatau
Vent Lava
The greatest volcanic explosion
Ash Side
known to humans is perhaps
Fumarole Mt. Krakatau in August 1883.

Crust Krakatau is a small volcanic island

in the Sunda Straits, between Java
and Sumatra.
Figure 3.25 Volcano The explosion could be heard in
Caldera. Volcanic ash consists of fragments Australia, almost 4,000 km away.
of pulverized rock, minerals and volcanic The vibration set up enormous waves
glass, created during volcanic eruptions. over 30 m high which drowned
Volcano generally erupts either through the 36,000 people in the coastal districts
vent (E.g. Mt. Fujiyama, Japan) or fissure of Indonesia.
(The Deccan Plateau, India).
Pumice is a volcanic rock produced when
lava with a very high content of water and Cotopaxi in Ecuador
gases is discharged from a volcano. is the world’s highest
active volcano.
3.10.1 Causes of Volcanic Eruptions
The following are the causes of volcanic
eruptions: 1. Active Volcanoes: Volcanoes which
Weak Zones in the Earth Crust: The erupt frequently are called active
parts of the earth where two tectonic volcanoes. Generally, their vent remains
plates collide against or drift apart from open. Mount Etna of Italy, Cotopaxi in
each other are considered very weak. Ecuador are some examples.
Volcanoes may erupt in such zones, for 2. Dormant Volcanoes: These volcanoes
example, African and Eurasian plates. may not have erupted in the recent past
Magma Saturated with Gases: The but there is a possibility of eruption
magma, in the interior of the earth, is often at any time. In other words, they may
found saturated with gases like carbon lie dormant awaiting active eruption
dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide. These anytime. Sometimes gases and steam
gases together with water vapour make the come out of them. They cause great
magma highly explosive. Magma is forced destruction to life and property once
out as lava on the surface of the earth due they become active again. Mt. Vesuvius
to the pressure exerted by these gases. of Italy and Mt. Fujiyama of Japan are
3.10.2 Types of Volcanoes 3. Extinct Volcanoes:  These volcanoes
Based on the frequency of eruption, there have exhausted their energy and have
are three types of volcanoes:
not erupted during the known geological 3.10.3 Effects of Volcanic Activities
period. The vent of these volcanoes Destructive effects of volcano
remains closed with solidified lava. Showers of cinders and bombs can cause
The formations such as craters may be damage to life and properties. Sometimes
filled with water and crater lakes may be ash can precipitate under the influence of
formed. The slopes of these landforms rain and completely cover large areas.
may be covered with vegetation. Popa in The volcanic gases pose potential
Myanmar and Mt. Kenya in eastern Africa hazard to people, animals; agriculture,
are the examples of extinct volcano. while sulfur dioxide gas can lead to acid
On the basis of nature of eruption rain and air pollution.
and form developed on the surface, they
are classified into following types: Positive Effects of Volcanoes
Volcanism creates new landforms.
1. Shield Volcanoes: These are made up
Volcanic rocks yield very fertile soil upon
of basalt, a type of lava that is very fluid
weathering and decomposition.
when erupted. They become explosive
when water gets into the vent. They The Kimberlite rock of South Africa,
develop into a cinder cone. Hawaiian the source of diamonds, is the pipe of an
volcano is an example of this category. ancient volcano.

2. Composite cone volcanoes: They are In the vicinity of active volcanoes,

also called 'strato volcanoes'. They waters in the depth are heated from contact
are cone-shaped volcanoes composed with hot magma giving rise to springs and
of layers of lava, ash and rock debris. geysers. The Puga valley in Ladakh region
Mount Vesuvius and Mount St. Helens and Manikaran (Himachal Pradesh) are
are examples of composite volcanoes. promising spots in India for the generation
of geothermal electricity.
3. Cinder Cone Volcano : It forms when
magma is thrown out to the surface, 3.10.4 Distribution of Volcanoes across
cooled in to ash and cinders and settled the World
around the mouth of volcano. It is less Most known volcanic activity and the
dangerous than other volcanoes. earthquakes occur along converging plate
4. Lava Dome: Unlike composite and margins and mid-oceanic ridges. The
shield volcanoes, lava domes are of major regions of volcanic distributions are
significantly smaller structure. They as follows.
are formed when the lava is too viscous
1. Pacific Ring of Fire
to flow to a great distance. As the lava
Circum-Pacific region, popularly termed
dome slowly grows, the outer surface
the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, has the greatest
cools and hardens as the lava continues
concentration of active volcanoes.
to pile within. Eventually, the internal
Volcanic belt and earthquake belt closely
pressure can shatter the outer surface,
overlap along the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’. It
causing loose fragments to spill down
is estimated to include two-thirds of the
its sides.
world’s volcanoes.

2. Mid Atlantic Region 3.11.1 Rock Types
The Mid Atlantic Region coasts has Based on their origin, the rocks are
comparatively fewer active volcanoes classified as follows:
but many dormant or extinct volcanoes, 1. Igneous Rocks
example. St. Helena, Cape Verde Islands Igneous rocks are formed out of magma and
and the Canary Islands. But the volcanoes lava and they are known as primary rocks. If the
of Iceland and the Azores are active. magma cools slowly at great depths, mineral
3. The Great Rift valley of Africa grains increase in their size. Sudden cooling (at
In Africa some volcanoes are found along the surface) results in small and smooth grains.
the East African Rift Valley. Kilimanjaro The igneous rocks are the oldest of all the rocks.
and Mt. Kenya are extinct volcanoes. The Granite, pegmatite, basalt, etc are some of the
only active volcano in West Africa is Mt. examples of igneous rocks. There are two types
Cameroon. of igneous rocks: intrusive rocks (Granite) and
extrusive rocks (Basalt-Deccan Traps).
4. Mediterranean Region
Volcanoes of the Mediterranean Granite is less dense and is lighter in
region are mainly associated with the colour than basalt rocks.
Alpine folds. Example, Mt. Vesuvius,
3.11.2 Intrusive Igneous rocks
Mt. Stromboli (known as the Light House
Intrusive Igneous rocks are formed when
of the Mediterranean Sea).
magma rises and cools within the crust.
5. Other Regions The intrusive activity of volcanoes gives
Elsewhere in the interiors of continents rise to various forms. We see them one by
of Asia, North America and Europe active one as follow.
volcanoes are rare. There are no volcanoes
1. Batholiths
in Australia.
Batholiths are large rock masses formed due
Volcanoes in India to cooling and solidification of hot magma
There are no volcanoes in the Himalayan inside the earth. It is granitic in origin.
region of India. However, Barren Island, 2. Laccoliths
lying 135 km north-east of Port Blair Laccoliths are large dome-shaped intrusive
became active in 1991 and 1995. rock connected by a pipe-like conduit
However, the other volcanic island in from below. These are basically intrusive
Indian Territory is Narcondam (Andaman counterparts of an exposed domelike
and Nicobar Islands) It is probably extinct. batholiths. The Karnataka plateau is
Its crater wall has been completely destroyed. spotted with dome hills of granite rocks.
Most of these, now exfoliated, are examples
3.11 Rocks of laccoliths.
Rock is the solid mineral material forming
3. Lapoliths
the surface of the earth. Petrology is
When the magma moves upwards, a
the science of rocks. The age of the rock is
saucer shape, concave shaped body called
determined based on Carbon-14 dating.
Lapolith is formed.

4. Sill compaction turn into sedimentary rocks.
Sill is a solidified sheet-like horizontal They occupy only 5 percent of the earth.
lava layer inside the earth. The near They are layered or stratified of varying
horizontal bodies of the intrusive igneous thickness. Example: sandstone, shale etc. Ice
rocks are called sill or sheet, depending on deposited sedimentary rocks is called Till.
the thickness of the material. The thinner Wind-deposited sediments are called Loess.
ones are called sheets while the thick Depending upon the mode of formation,
horizontal deposits are called sills. sedimentary rocks are classified into
1. Mechanically formed sedimentary
5. Dyke
rocks: sandstone, conglomerate,
When the magma makes its way through
limestone, shale, loess, etc.
cracks and the fissures developed in the
land, it solidifies almost perpendicular 2. Organically formed sedimentary rocks:
to the ground. It gets cooled in the same geyserites, chalk, limestone, coal etc.
position to develop a wall-like structure. 3. Chemically formed: halite, potash, etc.
Such structures are called dikes.
3. Metamorphic Rocks
These are the most commonly found The word metamorphic means ‘change
intrusive forms in the western Maharashtra of form’. The metamorphic rocks form
area. These are considered the feeders for under the action of pressure, volume and
the eruptions that led to the development temperature (PVT) change.
of the Deccan traps.
Metamorphism is a process by which
2. Sedimentary Rocks the already consolidated rocks undergo
Sedimentary rocks are also called as recrystallisation and reorganization of
detrital rocks. They are formed as a result materials within original rocks. Gneiss,
of denudation. These deposits through slate, schist, diamond, marble, quartzite

Volcano Lava flows &

Pyroclastic deposits

Volcanic neck
Dyke Lapolith
Sill Sill




Figure 3.26 Intrusive Volcanic structure

etc. are some examples of metamorphic Igneous and sedimentary rocks can
rocks. The igneous and metamorphic rocks change into metamorphic rocks. The
together account for 95 percent of the earth. crustal rocks (igneous, sedimentary and
metamorphic) may be carried down into
3.12 Rock Cycle the mantle (interior of the earth) through
Rock cycle is a continuous process through subduction process and the same melt and
which old rocks are transformed into new ones. turn into magma, the original source for
Igneous rocks can be changed into sedimentary igneous rocks. In this way the rock cycle
or metamorphic rocks. The fragments derived is a continuous process.
out of igneous and metamorphic rocks form
into sedimentary rocks.

Table 3.2 Metamorphosis processes

Igneous/ Sedimentary rock Influence Metamorphosed rock
Granite Pressure Gneiss
Clay, Shale Pressure Schist
Sandstone Heat Quartzite
Clay, Shale Heat Slate or Phyllite
Coal Heat Anthracite or Graphite
Coal Heat and Pressure Diamond
Limestone Heat Marble


melting Metamorphic Rock

Igneous Rock

heat & pressure

heat & pressure

weathering, erosion &
weathering, erosion &

Sedimentary Rock

compaction & cementation

Figure 3.28 The Rock Cycle

Figure 3.29 Rock forming Minerals

Students’ activity
Place the appropriate number given in the diagram in the bracket
Lacolith ( )

Batholith ( )

Dyke ( ) 1 7

Sill ( )

Chamber ( ) 4

Phacolith ( )

Lapolith ( )
Figure 3.27 Intrusive Volcanic Structures

I. Multiple choice
1. Orogeny: structural deformation of questions
lithosphere due to interaction between
tectonic plates. 1. The term “Lithosphere”
2. Conorod boundary: Margin between was introduced by
the upper crust and the lower crust. a. Alfred Wegener
3. Shearing fault: the fault is created by b. Joseph Barrel
shearing along the plate boundary.
c. Alexander Von Humbolt
4. Laccoliths: are large dome-shaped
intrusive rock connected by a pipe. d. Kiyoo Wadati
5. Lapolith: When the magma moves 2. The boundary between the upper crust
upwards, a saucer shape, concave and lower crust is termed as
shaped body called lapolith. a. Guttenberg margin
6. Syncline: down slope of a fold
b. Lehmann Boundary
7. Crest: the top of the fold.
c. Conorod boundary
8. Catasrophism: sudden movements of
the earth caused by plate movements. d. Mohorovicic boundary
9. Metamorphism: the process by which 3. Who postulated the continental drift
both igneous and sedimentary rocks theory?
get changed into metamorphic rocks.
a. Kober b. Holmes
10. Rock cycle: a continuous process
through which old rocks are c. Taylor d. Wegener
transformed into new ones. 4. Odd one out

a. The Eurasian plate 10. Solidified sheet-like horizontal lava
b. The North American plate layer inside the earth is called as
c. The Pacific plate a. Dyke
d. The African plate b. Batholith
5. One among the given is the deepest c. Sill
trench in the world. d. Lacolith
a. The Mariana Trench
b. The Sandwich Trench II. Brief answer
c. The Puerto Rico Trench 1. Define Diastrophism.
d. The Sunda Trench 2. Why is the inner core solid?
6. It is a type of fold where one limb is 3. Distinguish between Mohorovicic
steeper than the other. boundary and Lehman boundary.
a. Symmetrical fold 4. Write the significance of the Ring of
b. Asymmetrical fold Fire.
c. Over turned fold 5. List the types of volcano based on their
d. Recumbent fold frequency of eruption .
7. The longest rift valley in the world is
a. The Narmada rift valley III. Short answer
b. The African rift valley 1. Write a short note on the Convection
c. The Baikal rift valley cell.
d. The Rhine rift valley 2. Name the types of plate boundary.
8. One of the following zones accounts 3. Why do plates keep moving?
for 68% of the earthquakes on the 4. Name the types of fold.
surface of the earth.
5. Draw a volcano and label its parts.
a. The Mediterranean – Himalayan
IV. Detailed answer
b. The Circum Pacific zone
1. Describe the Interior of the Earth with
c. The Mid Atlantic zone
a diagram.
d. The African rift valley zone
2. Explain continental drift theory.
9. One among the given is the world’s
3. Explain the types of plate boundaries.
highest active volcano.
4. Draw a diagram and describe the stages
a. Mt. Vesuvius
of the rock cycle.
b. Mt. Stromboli
5. On the outline map of the world, mark
c. Mt. Cotopaxi the distribution of volcanoes and
d. Mt. Krakatau describe briefly about them.

V. Practice 3. Fundamentals of Geomorphology
1. Prepare in the cardboard sheet Richard John Huggett
jigsaw puzzle of fitting plates in their
Web Reference
respective boundaries.
2. Prepare a working model of the active 1. h t t p s : / / 3 . b p . b l o g s p o t . c o m /
volcano and demonstrate in the class. O 1 f RT h Z c WC g / V 7 n m Ump O i d I /
3. Make a model of types of Fold and
Fault using available resources, label
them, and present to the class.
2. h t t p s : / / w w w . y o u t u b e . c o m /
3. h t t p s : / / v o l c a n o e s . u s g s . g o v / . . . /
1. Physical geography: fundamentals of This_D ynamic_Planet-Teaching_
the physical environment V. Ettwein Companion_Packet.pd
and M. Maslin
4. h t t p s : / / w w w . y o u t u b e . c o m /
2. Introducing Physical Geography, John watch?v=PDrMH7RwupQ
Wiley & Sons.

Lithosphere Morphing Boundaries

Through this activity you will

identify the land masses formed
by Endogenic processes.

• Use the URL to land on ‘Google Earth’ or scan the QR code from your smartphone.
• Open “Google Earth” app and type “Everest” in the search box to explore the
folded mountain structure created by tectonic collision.
• Type volcano name in search box and explore the landscape formed by its eruption.
• Roll over the globe using your mouse and zoom in and zoom out to explore the
land mass and its tectonic plate extensions.

Step 1 Step 2

Step 3 Step 4

Google Earth’s URL:


Pictures are indicative only.

Unit IV

Exogenic Processes

Chapter Outline
4.1 Introduction
At Mahabalipuram, Chennai, the 6
4.2 Exogenic Processes
meter high and 5-metre wide rock
4.3 Weathering estimated to weigh over 250 tons is
4.4 Mass wasting known locally as Krishna's Butter Ball.
4.5 Gradational Processes Its original Tamil name is "Vaanirai
4.6 The River Kal" which literally translates to
"Stone of The Sky God”
4.7 Glacier
Look at the figure above Krishna's
4.8 Ground water
Butter ball inserted on the top and
(Karst Topography)
let's discuss:
4.9 Wind
• What, do you think, made this
4.10 Waves (Coast) rock stone to get this shape?
• Guess how many years it might
have taken to get such a shape.
Learning Objectives: • Think about how it is standing
• Understand how external forces balanced?
reshape the surface of the earth.
• Distinguish between physical weathering
4.1 Introduction
and chemical weathering.
• Identify the different types of mass Let’s recall that you have learned in the
wasting and its characteristics. previous chapter about geomorphic
processes - Endogenic processes in detail.
• Distinguish between the actions of
Now we deal with the exogenic processes.
various gradational agents.
The forces which act on the earth’s exterior
are called as exogenic forces or external
forces. The action of exogenic forces results 4.3.1 Physical weathering
in wearing down the rock and hence, they Physical Weathering is the disintegration
are considered as land wearing forces. of rock mainly induced by elements of
weather. It produces smaller, angular
4.2 Exogenic Processes
fragments of the same rock. It is caused by
The processes which occur on earth’s the change in temperature, pressure, water
surface due to the influence of external and wind. Physical weathering is further
forces are called as exogenic processes. divided into different categories. They are
Weathering, mass wasting and denudation thermal weathering, frost wedging and
are the major exogenic processes. The exfoliation.
elements of nature capable of doing
these exogenic processes are termed as Thermal weathering
gradational agents. For instance, the wind, In arid and semi-arid areas, the temperature
river, glacier, waves and ground water. increases, heat up and expand the rocks
during the day and contract the rock
4.3 Weathering materials when cooling at night. Under
Weathering is the process of disintegration extreme temperature conditions, due to
and decomposition of rocks. It is due to alternate expansion and contraction, the
the action of climate, plants, animals and rocks crack and eventually split. The thermal
other living organisms which cause the weatherings are of two types. They are;
rocks to break down physically, chemically (a) Granular disintegration and
and biologically. (b) Block disintegration
There are three types of weathering. Alternate expansion and contraction of
They are physical weathering, chemical minerals of varying properties in the
weathering and biological weathering. rocks due to temperature changes, makes

Figure 4.1 Exogenic processes

Figure 4.2 Exfoliated Rock( left) and Granular (right)

the rocks break down into small pieces rocks and freezes, the pressure exerted on
(Figure 4.2). Due to this, the breakup the rock is enough to wedge the walls of
of rocks occurs, grain by grain. This is the crack farther apart, thus expanding
known as granular disintegration. and  deepening the crack. Thus, frost
Block disintegration occurs in rocks wedging results in weathering of rock.
such as granite rock. So in the areas of jointed Exfoliation
igneous or layered sedimentary rocks due
Rocks generally heat or cool more on the
to the great diurnal range of temperature,
surface layers. The alternate changes in
the rocks may break up along the joints and
temperature could cause their outer layers
cracks into a large rectangular shaped blocks.
to peel off from the main mass of the rock in Frost Wedging concentric layers just as the skin of an onion.
Almost all liquids contract when frozen, The process by which curved layers of rock
but when water freezes it becomes larger breakaway from the rock beneath them
in size or takes up more space. As water leaving behind dome shaped monoliths
expands it puts great pressure on rocks. is called exfoliation (Figure 4.2). It is also
When water enters into the cracks of called as ‘onion weathering’. Exfoliation
occurs commonly in the arid areas.

Top freezes first

W te
ter IC

Water under pressure

exerts stress

Figure 4.3 Frost Wedging

4.3.2. Chemical Weathering in exposing the rock surfaces to chemical
Chemical weathering is the decomposition changes with the penetration of moisture and
of rock. For example it creates altered air. Human beings by removing vegetation
rock substances, such as kaolinite (china for agriculture and other activities also
clay) from granite. The types of chemical help in mixing and creating new contacts
weathering are as follows: between air, water, and minerals in the rock
i. Solution: Some soluble minerals in materials. Plant roots make a great pressure
the rock get dissolved when come on the rock materials mechanically breaking
in contact with water. Over a long them apart.
period minerals get washed away from
rock and sometimes leading to the
formation of caves.
ii. Oxidation: When oxygen combines
with water and iron, it weakens the rock
and breaks it. Example, rusting of iron.
iii. Hydrolysis: It is the chemical
breakdown of a rock substance when
combined with water and forms
an insoluble precipitate like clay
Figure 4.4 biological weathering
mineral. The most common example
of hydrolysis is feldspar found in
4.4 Mass wasting
granite changing to clay.
iv. Carbonation: Carbonation is the Mass wasting is the movement of a large
mixing of water with carbon dioxide mass of rock, soil and debris downward by
to make carbonic acid. This acid the pull of gravity. It is also called a mass
reacts with minerals in the rocks. movement or slope movement. It may
This type of weathering is important happen suddenly or slowly. Generally, mass
in the formation of caves. wasting is classified by the type of material
involved (mud, soil, and rock) and type
v. Hydration: It is the absorption of
of motion (fall-free-falling pieces, slide-
water into the mineral structure of the
material moves along the rock slope and
rock. Hydration expands volume and
flow–material mixed with water).
also results in rock deformation. A
good example of hydration is the 4.4.1 Types of Mass Wasting
absorption of water by anhydrite, Following are the types of mass wasting:
resulting in the formation of gypsum. Rock falls
4.3.3 Biological Weathering Rock falls occur when pieces of rock
Biological weathering is the alteration of break from a cliff. Frost wedging may also
rock by the action of plants, animals, and eventually loosen large blocks causing them
man. Burrowing and wedging by organisms to fall. The accumulation of rock debris at
like earthworms, termites, rodents, etc., help the base of a steep slope is called talus.

Figure 4.5 Mass movement

Great mass of bed rock moves downward
by rotational slip from a high cliff is
known as slump. Most common reason
for slumping is erosion at the base of
the slope which reduces the support for
overlying sediments.
Debris Slide
Debris slide is more extensive and occurs
Figure 4.6 Rock fall on a larger scale than slump but there is
a little amount of water. The materials
Rockslides involved in debris slide are a mixture of
Rockslides usually follow a zone of soils and rock fragments.
weakness. Presence of water increases
Debris flows
slippage. Collisions down the slope
generally break the rock mass into rubble Debris flow is defined as mass wasting event in
that eventually results in rockslides. which turbulence occurs throughout the mass.
Debris flow includes earth flows, mudflows,
Landslides and debris avalanches. Debris flow occurs
Landslides occur when a large piece of when the rock or soil mass loses coherency
rock breaks off and slides down hill. It is when lots of water is involved. Debris becomes
often initiated by earthquakes and very mixed up completely and flows as liquid mud.
heavy rain. It often carries large boulders which can be

very destructive. When earth material moves A mudflow
down a hillside as a fluid-like mass, it is called Mudflow is a liquid mass of soil, rock debris
an earth flow. These flows typically occur in and water that moves quickly down a well
humid areas on steep slopes with thick, clay- defined channel. They occur most often in
rich soil that becomes saturated with water mountainous semiarid environments. A
during storms. mudflow originating on a volcanic slope is
called a lahar.
Debris avalanche
The deadliest type of debris flow is the
debris avalanche. It is a rapidly churning
mass of rock debris, soil, water, and air that
moves down steep slopes. The trapped air
may increase the speed of an avalanche
by acting as a cushion between the debris
and the underlying surface
Figure 4.7 Debris flow

Solifluction Earth Flow Mud Flow

Slump Soil Creep Rock Fall

Debris Slide Debris Flow

Figure 4.8 Mass Movement

Creep ii. Corrasion ( abrasion): It refers to the
Creep is a slow and gradual movement of soil breaking of rock in the bed and on
downhill. Its velocity is typically less than a the bank by fragments carried by the
centimetre per year. Freezing and thawing stream.
contribute the soil creep by progressively iii. Corrosion( solution): It refers to the
moving soil particles down the hill. Creep is dissolving process of soluble minerals
manifested at the surface by things like tilted by the splashing of stream water.
utility poles, fences and trees Vegetation iv. Attrition: It refers to the eroded
helps reduce the rate of soil creep. materials carried by the stream strike
against each other.
4.5. Gradational Processes
2. Transportation: Stream carrying the
Gradation is the process by which the earth’s
fragmented materials broken by the
surface gets leveled. It can be further divided
stream is called transportation. After
into degradation, the process of eroding the
erosion, the eroded materials get
earth’s elevated surface and aggradations, the
transported alont with the running
process of filling up the earth’s depressions.
water. This transportation of eroded
4.5.1 Gradational Agents materials is carried in four ways:
The forces which act on the surface of the i. Traction: The heavier and larger rock
earth are termed as Gradational agents. fragments like gravels, pebbles etc are
Water, wave, wind, ice are the important forced by the flow of the river to roll
gradational agents. Let us now discuss the along its bed. These fragments can be
gradiational agents one by one. seen rolling, slipping, bumping and
being dragged. This process is called
4.6. The River as traction and the load transported
The streams have a huge capacity to erode in this way are called traction load.
the rock over which they flow. In fact, the
ii. Saltation: Some of the fragments of
formation of the river channel is the result
the rocks move along the bed of a
of the erosional capacity of the stream. The
stream by bouncing continuously.
erosional capacity of the stream depends on
This process is called as saltation.
its volume of water and velocity of flow. The
river performs three types of work. They iii. Suspension: The holding up of small
are erosion, transportation and deposition. particles of sand, silt, and mud by the
water as the stream flows is called
1. Erosion: The breaking of rocks by
the river in along its course is called
erosion. Erosional work of a river iv. Solution: Some parts of the rock
is performed mechanically and fragments dissolve in the river water and
chemically. River erosion is carried out transported. This type of transportation
in the following ways: is called solution transportation.
i. Hydraulic action: It refers to the 3. Deposition: When the velocity of the
physical force of the moving water stream decreases, the stream deposits
which breaks the rocks in its course. sand, silt and other fragments. It is

called as the deposition. When a river where two rivers join is called as the
moves in a gentle slope, its speed confluence. The mountain which has two
reduces and river begins to deposit its river systems draining on either side of the
load. The river starts depositing larger slope is termed as the water divide.
materials first and smaller and finer 2. The Middle Stage
materials are carried further down to
Middle stage is the matured stage of a river.
the mouth of the river.
Vertical erosion or deepening of the valley
4.6.1 Stages of the River is significantly reduced. Lateral erosion
The course of a river includes the upper is the dominant work. Due to the lateral
stage, the middle stage, and the final stage. erosion of this stage, the widening of the
Each stage of the river is dominated by a valley occurs. The volume of the river water
kind of work. Let’s discuss the stages of a increases and the slope of river is moderate.
river, the main work and the landforms The depth of the river is deep here.
made in each stage. 3. The Lower Stage
1. The Upper Stage This is the final stage of a river where the
The upper stage of a river is also called valleys are extremely broad and it has
the youthful stage or mountain stage. The generally gentle slope. The valley becomes
velocity and speed of the stream are very almost flat which is called a peneplain.
high because the slope here is steep. The Most of the peneplain forms low residual
vertical erosion is the most dominant work
here. The valley is formed here. The place Students activity
where a river starts is called a source. In
Look at the diagram, read the table
the mountain stage, the number of small
of content carefully and fill in the
streams originates from different locations.
columns with suitable words.
They are called Tributaries. The place

hills with steep slopes which are called as Canyons are extended form of gorges.
Monadnocks. The main work of the river Canyons represent very deep, narrow but
in this stage is the deposition. The depth of long valleys. The steepness of the valley
the river is shallow here. When the main sides depends on the nature of the rocks.
river splits into many small rivers, they are The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in
called as the distributaries. The place where the state of Arizona, USA having a length
the river ends is called mouth of the river. of 482.8 kilometers and depth of 2088.3
(for example: Sea coast, Lake.) meter is the largest canyon in the world.
The Canyon of Gandikota is situated on the
4.6.2 Landforms by the Erosional Work
Pennar River in Andhra Pradesh is known
of River
as the Grand Canyon of India.
The significant landforms resulting from
erosion by rivers include gorge, canyon, V-Shaped Valley The valleys made by the
V-Shaped Valley, waterfall, pothole, rivers are erosional landforms. The valley
structural bench, river terrace, river is formed in the youthful stage of the
meander, ox-bow lake, peneplain, etc. river erosion. Due to the steep slope and
large volume of water, the river cuts its
Gorges are formed due to active down bed vertically forming narrow and deep
cutting of the valleys. So, a Gorge is a river valley. This is called as V-shaped
narrow and deep river valley which has valley.
steep slopes.
Rapids and waterfalls
Rapids are stream sections with extremely
strong currents, numerous obstacles, and steps
in their streambeds. A waterfall is a vertical
drop in a streambed. Both water fall and rapids
are formed by vigorous erosion. Series of a
waterfall in a river is called as Cascade.
Plunge pool
A plunge pool is a deep depression in
a stream bed at the base of a waterfall.
It is created by the erosional forces of
falling water at the base of a waterfall.

Angel Falls, in
Venezuela, is Earth’s
highest waterfall
(979 m).
Hogenakal falls, Dharmapuri, Tamil
Nadu some times is called as the
Figure 4.9 Gorge Niagara of India.

Figure 4.10 The Canyon of Gandikota, the Pennar River in Andhra Pradesh

Gandikota, Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh is known for its spectacular gorge
formed by river Pennar that cuts through the Erramala hills. This handsome piece of
Nature’s architecture is known as the Hidden Grand Canyon of India. Magnificent
Gandikota fort is located majestically on top of this gorge. Belum Cave found here is
the second largest cave system in the India. In fact, geologists have also found surplus
deposits of Quartz in the stalactite and stalagmite formations of the cave. Adjacent
to Gandikota fort, lies a magnificent lake that is believed to have been established by
emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya using water from the Pennar river.

Grooves ridge that extends alternately from the

Long and narrow depression at the base of opposite sides of a V-shaped valley. A
a waterfall made by river runoff is called a river with a winding course flows down
groove. The grooves are created by water the interlocking spur.
eroding soil from a hill or mountain in a
short period of time.
Web link:
The swirling movement of the water
falling into the plunge pool is called eddying. More at https://www.
Interlocking spurs
An interlocking spur, also known as grand-canyon-of-india-2)
an overlapping spur, is a projecting

Figure 4.11 Hogenakal waterfalls, Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu

Pot Holes River Terraces

The kettle-like small depressions in the rocky The narrow step like flat surfaces on
beds of the river valleys are called potholes. either side of the valley floor are called
They are always cylindrical in shape. Potholes river terraces. They represent the level of
are generally formed in coarse-grained rocks former valley floors.
such as sandstones and granites.

Figure 4.12 Interlocking spurs

4.6.3 Landforms by the deposition of off from the main river. This landform
river is so named because it resembles horse
1. Alluvial fan shoe
Alluvial fans are often found at the foot of 5. Levees: Raised bed and a bank of
arid or semiarid mountain ranges where the river due to frequent flooding and
intermittent streams flow. An alluvial fan deposition of the sediments is called
is a fan shaped deposit of gravel, sand and levees.
other smaller particles of sediment. 6. Flood Plain
Alluvial fans are found in Kosi river, A flood plain is a flat area of land adjacent
Himalayan region, Death Valley National to a river. It stretches from the bank of its
Park and along the sides of the Colorado channel to the base of the enclosing valley
River at Grand Canyon National Park, U.S. walls which experiences flooding during
the period of high discharge.
7. Estuary
The word “estuary” is derived from the
Latin word aestuarium meaning tidal
inlet of the sea, which is derived from
the term aestus, meaning tide. An estuary
is a partially enclosed coastal body of
brackish water with one or more rivers
flowing into it, and with a free connection
to the open sea.
Figure 4.13 Alluvial Fan The inflow of both sea water and fresh
water provide high levels of nutrients both
2. Peneplains in the water column and in sediment.
Peneplains represent low featureless plain Hence, it makes estuaries among the
having undulating surface and remnants most productive natural habitats in the
of convex-concave residual hills. world. Narmada river estuary is located in
3. Meander Gujarat.
A meander is a winding curve or bend in 8.Delta
a river. Meanders are the result of both Delta is found in the old stage of a river.
erosional and depositional processes. It is the triangular shaped landform made
They are typical landform of the middle up of alluvial deposition in the mouth
and lower course of a river. This is formed of the river. It is named after the fourth
by vertical erosion, lateral erosion, and Greek alphabet called delta. Example, The
deposition within the floodplain. Ganges Bhramaputra delta is the largest
4. Oxbow lake delta in the world.
Oxbow lake is a free standing body of Types of Delta: Delta is classified into the
water formed when the meander is cut following based on the shape and kind of
the load deposited by the river.
Look at the diagram and try the

1. Which neck will break first?

2. Which neck will break last?

3. What is formed if the neck of the

meander breaks?

Areas of deposition

Areas of erosion

Figure 4.14 Meander

1. Arcuate Delta: A bowed or curved 4. Lacustrine Delta: It is formed when a

delta with the convex margin facing river flows into a lake. Example, Lough
the body of water. It is also known as Leanne river delta, Ireland.
fan-shaped delta. Example, River Nile 5. Truncated Delta: Sea waves and ocean
Delta in Egypt and Ganga Delta in currents modify and even destroy
India. deltas deposited by the river through
2. Estuarine Delta : it is formed at the their erosional work. Thus, eroded and
mouth of submerged rivers depositing dissected deltas are called truncated
down the sides of the estuary. Example, deltas.
Seine River of France. 6. Abandoned Delta: when the river
3. Birds foot Delta: They are formed shifts its mouth, the delta already made
due to deposition of finer materials is left abandoned. Such a delta is called
by river water. Deposited alluvial abandoned delta. Example, Yellow
material divides the river into smaller river delta, China and the Western part
distributaries. Such delta is also called of Ganga delta made by Hoogly river,
as finger delta. Example, Mississippi India.
river delta, the USA. 7. Cuspate delta is a tooth shaped delta
formed when a single distributary

(a) Structure of a simple delta

(b) Cuspate delta

Sea or Lake



foreset beds Bottomset


(c) Arcuate delta (d) Bird’s foot delta

Lagoon Lagoon

Figure 4.15 Types of Delta

Students activity
Label the following diagram of landforms made by the river.

Journey of a river

key words
Ox bow lake

flows through and deposits its load on 1. Continental Glaciers
its either side. Example, Tiber River of The continental glaciers are found in
Italy polar regions. In these areas, all the
precipitation is in the form of snow. The
4.7 Glacier snow that falls from year to year gradually
A glacier is a huge mass of ice that moves gets accumulated. As a result, these regions
slowly along the mountain slope. The term are covered by an extensive ice mass.
“glacier” comes from the French word This is known as ice sheet or continental
glace which means ice. Glaciers are often glacier. It is estimated that the maximum
called “rivers of ice”. It forms where the thickness of the ice sheets of Greenland
accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation is 3,400 meter, while the maximum
over many years. thickness of the ice sheet of Antarctica is
The places where the snow lies for 4776 meter. Sometimes, the ends of the ice
the whole year are called snowfields. sheet projects outwards over the sea. The
The imaginary line above which there is waves of the sea strike against them and
a permanent snowfield is known as the break the ice sheets into blocks of floating
snow line. The snowfields are always ice known as Icebergs.
situated above the snow line. The snow line
2. Ice Caps
differs according to latitude, amount  of
snowfall, the direction of the wind and It is the covering of snow and ice on the
the physical features of the region. Snow oceans of poles. The ice caps can cover
starts melting below the snow line. Under vast areas with the extensive accumulation
the pressure of the upper layers, the of snow and ice. Example, Svartissen ice
lower layers of the snow field  begin  to cap in Northern Norway.
melt causing the mass of snow to move 3. Mountain and Valley Glaciers
down slope as glacier. Glacier moves These are also known as Alpine glaciers.
at an average speed of 1meter per day. They flow like tongues of ice down through
Over 96  percent of the glaciers occur in the mountain valleys from the ice caps.
Antarctica and Greenland. The piedmont glaciers form continuous
ice sheets at the base of mountains. The
The world’s largest valley glaciers or Alpine glaciers are found
glacier is the Lambert in higher regions of the Himalayas and
Glacier in Antarctica, on all such high mountain ranges of the
more than 96 km wide world.
and 435 km long and 2,500 metres deep..
4.7.2 Characteristics of Glaciers
4.7.1 Types of Glaciers A moving ice mass or glacier possesses
The Glaciers are of three types. They are; certain characteristics of movement,
speed, and surface structure. The rate of
1. Continental Glaciers
movement of the glacier is very slow.
2. Ice Caps
The rate of movement or the speed of a
3. Mountain and Valley Glaciers
glacier depends upon the size of the glacier
and the slope of the valley. Sometimes, the The chief erosional landforms by the
surface of the glacier forms cracks known as glaciers are as follow:
Crevasses. Crevasses are the deep fissure of
variable width in the surface of a glacier. These
crevasses are dangerous to the Mountaineers.

Figure 4. 17: Erosional landforms of Glaciers

Figure 4.16 crevasses 1. U-Shaped Valley
4.7.3 Action of glaciers U-Shaped Valley is a typical glacial
The glacier performs three actions namely feature. Since glacial mass is heavy and
erosion, transportation and deposition. slow moving, erosional activity is uniform
in all directions. A steep-sided curved
A glacier erodes its bedrock by the
bottom valley has a U shaped profile.
action of (1) Plucking and (2)Abrasion
2. Hanging Valley
(1) Plucking
Hanging valley is formed when tributary
The glacier plucks big pieces of rocks from
glaciers are unable to cut as deeply as
the valley floor and creates large grooves
main ones and remain “hanging” at higher
or hollows. These pieces are dragged along
levels than the main valley as discordant
the valley floor as the glacier moves. The
tributaries. These tributary valleys appear
boulders and rocky floor are grounded by
hanging over the main valley and enter
mutual contact.
the main valley at some height.
(2) Abrasion
3. Cirque and Tarn
Pure ice is capable of wearing down
A Cirque or Corrie is an amphitheater-
massive rocks when equipped with angular
shaped hollow basin cut into a mountain
rock fragments. The glacier can groove,
ridge. It has a steep-sided slope on three
scratch, and chisel the rock surface. It has
sides, an open end on one side and a flat
a powerful abrasive effect.
bottom. When the ice melts, the Cirque
As a result, a glacier during its lifetime
may develop into a Tarn Lake and the
creates various landforms which may be
whole thing appears like a big armchair.
classified into erosional and depositional
landforms. 4. Aretes
It is a steep-sided, sharp-tipped saw
4.7.4 Erosional landforms of Glaciers
toothed ridges which have undergone
The landforms created by glaciers are
glacial erosion from two sides. These
mainly found in the mountainous regions.
comb like ridges are called as arete.
and sizes. The depositional landforms of
the glaciers are;
1. Moraines
Moraines are the piles of dirt and rock
that are deposited by a glacier as it moves
across the landscape. These debris fields
exist in places where glaciers have moved
through in the past. There are many kinds
of glacial moraines that form. Moraines
Figure 4.18 Glaciated features are generally classified based on their
5. Horn
If the summit of the Arete is roughly a) Lateral Moraines
inclined, it gives rise to pyramidal peaks Lateral moraines are ridges of debris that
which are known as horns. Example, run parallel to the sides of a glacier. This
Matterhorn of Alps-Switzerland. is often accompanied by scraping of the
valley sides which means the debris from
6. Roche Moutonnees or Sheep Rock
the moraine creates high ridges above the
Roche Moutonnees or sheep rock is a
glaciated bedrock surface, usually in the
form of rounded knobs. The upstream side b) Ground Moraines
of a roche moutonnee has been subjected Ground moraines are glacial depositions
to glacial scouring that has produced a formed on the floor of glacial valley.
gentle, polished, and striated slope and Ground moraines can be deposited in
the downstream side has been subjected between lateral moraines in the case of
to glacial plucking that has resulted in a many alpine glaciers.
steep, irregular and jagged slope. c) Medial Moraines
7. Nunataks Medial moraines are ridges of debris that
A rock mass surrounded by ice is called are left down a valley floor at the middle
Nunatak. It stands out as an island in the ice. of two glaciers. Both glaciers merge
together and their debris combine to form
8. Fjord
a consistent moraine field along their
The fjord is formed as a steep-sided
borders. They are actually the merging of
narrow entrance like feature at the coast of
two lateral moraines which continue as
a glaciated region where the stream meets
medial moraines.
the coast. Fjords are common in Norway,
Greenland and Newzealand. d) Terminal or End Moraines
Terminal or end moraines are left by
4.7.5 Depositional landforms of glaciers
the end of a glacier. The slower a glacier
When the glaciers melt or recede they
moves the bigger the moraine will be as
deposit the rock material, brought by
the glacier has more time to accumulate
them, forming hillocks of various shapes
outside debris.

Figure 4. 19 Types of Moraines

e) Recessional Moraines 4.8 Ground water (Karst Topography)

This recessional moraine runs across the The word “karst” literally means “rocky
landscape behind a terminal moraine. They mountain” comes from a region in former
are caused by times when the glacier slows or Yugoslavia that includes Croatia and
stops in its movement. It is formed because the Slovenia. The word is derived from the
receding glacier pauses in certain places for a Slavic word Kras.
long time before continuing its movement. What does Groundwater do?
2. Outwash Plain Any limestone, dolomite or gypsum region
When the glacier reaches its lowest point and showing typical landforms produced by the
melts, it leaves behind a layered deposition action of groundwater through the process
of rock debris, clay, sand, gravel, etc. This of solution and deposition is called as Karst
layered surface is called as an Outwash Plain. Topography (Karst region in the Balkans).
3. Esker 4.8.1 Erosional Landforms due to
It is a winding ridge of depositions of rock, Groundwater
gravel, clay, etc, running along a glacier in an Following are the erosional landforms
outwash plain. The Eskers resemble the feature formed due to the action of groundwater.
of an embankment and are often used for
1. Sinkholes
laying roads.
A sinkhole is an opening more or less
4. Drumlins
circular at the top and funnel-shaped
It is an inverted boat-shaped deposition in towards the bottom. When as sinkhole
an outwash plain caused by deposition. is formed solely through the process of
5. Kames solution, it is called as a solution sink.
Kames are the number of ridges formed
along the ice front.

Figure 4.20 Karst features

2. Doline 4. Uvala
A doline is a closed depression draining Series of smaller sinkholes coalesce into a
underground in karst areas. It can be cylindrical, compound sinkhole is called uvala.
conical, bowl or dish shaped. The diameter 5. Polje
ranges from a few meter to many hundreds of
Polje is an elongated basin having a flat
meters. The name doline comes from dolina,
floor and steep walls. It is formed by the
the Slovenian word meaning valley.
coalescence of several sinkholes. The basins
3. Lappies often cover 250 square km and may expose
Lappies are the irregular grooves and “disappearing streams.” Most of these basins
ridges formed when most of the surfaces of have steep enclosing walls  that range from
limestone are removed by solution process. 50 to 100 meter in height, giving rise to the
name “blind valley.”
6. Caves
Caves normally have an opening through
which cave streams are discharged. Caves


How was the world’s biggest cave, son

doonge of vietnam formed.
Figure 4.21 Lappies

having an opening at both the ends are 1. Curtains
called tunnels. Rain water drips from long crack in a cave
roof forms a continuous strip of calcites. It
is called as curtains.
2. Stalactite
Drops of water containing dissolved
limestone seep down through cracks in
the cave roof. Drops of water lose carbon
dioxide and deposit calcite. Overtime
deposition of calcite forms pillars hanging
down from the roof of the cave. It is called
as stalactite and where the stalactite
stretches towards the sides are known as
3. Stalagmite
Deposition of calcite forming icicles
growing upward from the cave floor is
called as stalagmite.
Stalactites are calcium carbonate
Figure 4.22 Curtains deposits hanging as icicles while
Stalagmites are calcium carbonate deposits
4.8.2 Depositional Landforms due to which rise up from the floor.
Ground water
The following depositional features are
formed within caves.

Figure 4.23 Stalagmite, stalactite, and pillar

4. Pillar
When both the stalagmite and stalactite
join together, it is known as pillar.

4.9 Wind
The wind is the main geomorphic agent
in the arid region. Wind in arid region has
greater speed which causes erosional and
depositional activities in the desert. The
landforms which are created by erosional
and depositional activities of wind are
called as Aeolian Landforms.
Action of the wind
The action of the wind is carried in the
following ways;
1. Deflation: Removal of sand and dust
particles by wind. It forms depression
in the desert. When depression is Figure 4.24 Oasis (Top)
filled with water, it is called as Oasis. Mushroom rock (Bottom)
2. Abrasion: Action of wind in which
sand particles carried by the wind erosion in the lower part of the rock than
strike against the rock. the top. These result in the formation of
3. Attrition: Sand particles carried by the rock pillars shaped like a mushroom with
wind striking each other is known as narrow pillars with broad top surfaces.
attrition. 3. Yardang
4.9.1Erosional Landforms of Wind Yardangs are extensively grooved, fluted,
1. Deflation Hollows pitted and irregular rock ridges or reliefs
When deflation causes a shallow of about 1 to 10 meters high running
depression by persistent movements parallel to the prevailing winds. They are
of wind, they are called as deflation caused by differential erosion. When the
sand-laden wind corrades zones of softer
2. Mushroom Rock or weaker rock between harder vertical
A mushroom rock, also called rock ridges from old lake sediment where soft,
pedestal, or a pedestal rock, is a naturally consolidated rock and bedrock surfaces
occurring rock whose shape, as its name
are eroded into alternating ridges and
implies, resembles a mushroom.
furrows. Large-scale yardangs are found
In deserts, a greater amount of sand
in Egypt (near Kom Ombo, north of Lake
and rock particles are transported close to
the ground by the winds which cause more Aswan).

run for long distances, sometimes several

Why is mushroom rock eroded more

at the bottom than the top?

Zeugen is a landscape of alternate
horizontal ridges and furrows made by
the action of wind abrasion. It may be as
high as 30 m height.

Figure 4.26 Sand Dunes

2. Loess
In several large areas of the world, the
surface is covered by deposits of wind
transported silt that has settled out from
dust storms over many thousands of years.
These depositions are called as Loess.
Figure 4.25 Zeugen
3. Pediplains
4.9.2 Depositional Landforms of Wind
When the high relief structures in deserts
1. Sand dunes are reduced to low featureless plains by
Dry hot deserts are good places for sand the activities of wind, they are called as
dune formation. According to the shape Pediplains.
of a sand dune, there are varieties of sand
dune forms like Barchans, Seif dune, etc. 4.10 Waves (Coast)
The barchan is one of the classic desert Horizontal movement of sea water caused
landforms. It is a crescent-shaped dune by the wind, rotation of the earth, etc., are
with the horns of the crescent stretching called waves.
out in the leeward direction. Barchan
dunes may reach more than 27 meter in 4.10.1 How do Waves Erode?
height. Seif dunes are long ridges of sand. Waves carry out the erosive work in the
In general they are aligned in the direction following ways.
of the prevailing wind. The slip face of seif 1. Abrasion: The waves striking against
dunes are probably formed by eddies. The the coast with eroded materials is
depressions between seif  dune ridges are
swept clear of sand by the winds. The ridges

called abrasion. Abrasion is also called 1. Sea cliff is steep rocky coast rising
as the corrasion. almost vertically above seawater is
2. Hydraulic action: The waves force water called sea cliff.
and air into the cracks in the rock. The 2. Wave Cut Platform: Rock cut flat
parcel of air can be compressed by the surfaces in front of a cliff are called
surging water and the waves retreat, air wave-cut platform. They are slightly
expands explosively, weakening the joints concave upward. It is also formed
and cracks and causing the rock to break. when blowhole is collapsed.
This is called the Hydraulic action.
3. Corrosion: The action of dissolving
soluble rocks by waves is termed as the
corrosion or solution.
4. Attrition: Eroded materials like
boulders and rocks knock together to
wear out into smaller particles. This is
called attrition.
Figure 4.27 Sea cliff and wave cut platform
Terms related to coast
3. A sea cave is a hollow excavated by waves
• Sea shore is the zone of land between in a zone of weakness on a cliff. The cave
high tide and low tide depth is greater than the entrance width.
• Shore line is boundary between Sea caves usually form at points of
land and water. geological weakness, such as bedding planes,
• Backshore is the beach zone starting joints, and faults. A 90 meter long sea cave
from the limit of frequent storm is found in the Loliem beach in Canacona in
waves to the cliff base. Goa. The world’s most extensive cave is 1.5 km
long Matainaka cave in New Zealand.
• Foreshore is the portion of the
beach subject to wave action during
non-storm conditions.
• Offshore is the shallow zone of the
continental shelf
• Coastline is the boundary where the
land meets the sea
• Swash is the waves washing up the

4.10.2 Landforms by the Erosion of Waves Figure 4.28 Sea Cave

4. A blowhole may form in the roof of a
Erosional landforms dominate rocky
sea cave by the hydraulic and pneumatic
coasts but are also found in association with
action of waves, with fountains of spray
predominantly depositional landforms.

emerging from the top. If blowholes The eroded materials are transported by
become enlarged, they may collapse. the waves in different ways. The materials
involved in the transportation by sea
waves include silt, sand, gravel, cobble,
pebble and boulder.

4.10.4 Landforms by the deposition of

Depositional landforms developed by the
sea waves include the beach, bar, lagoon,
spit, tombolo, barrier island, etc. Let us
see one by one in detail.
Figure 4.29 Blow hole 1. Beach is an elongated stretch of sands,
5. Arch is formed when the sea cave is pebbles, gravels, etc deposited along the
cut right through by wave action. The coast. It can be a sandy beach or pebble
arch is termed as sea tunnel if it is beach. Praia da Cassino beach in Brazil
comparatively longer. is the world’s longest beach stretching for
6. The stack is a steep and often vertical 200 km from the Rio Grande to the border
column of rock in the sea near a coast, with Uruguay. Marina beach, Chennai is
formed by wave erosion. the second longest beach in the world.
It is formed when the natural arch is 2. The Bar is a stretch of sand deposition
collapsed. It is also called chimney rock, off the shoreline. The larger form of a
needles, columns, pillars, skerries, etc, bar is called barrier.
7. Stump is the worn out stack. 3. The Lagoon is enclosed seawater between
the bar and the coast. For example,
4.10.3 Transportation Work of Waves

Barrier dune system

Coastal lagoon
Beach Sand

Sand spit
Offshore sand bar


Figure 4.30 Depositional features of Waves

Pulicat lake, located in the Tamil Nadu 4. Offshore is the zone shallow bottom of
and Andhra Pradesh is a lagoon. the continental shelf.
4. Spit is a long, narrow ridge of sand or 5. Source of a river: place where river
pebble with one end connected to the starts.
coast and the other end running into 6. Water Divide: relief having two river
the sea. For example, Rameshwaram, systems.
Tamil Nadu. 7. Oasis: depression in the desert filled
5. A Tombolo is a bar connecting an with rain water.
island with the coast. 8. Desert: waste land unfit for human
use at the moment.
9. Snow line: an imaginary line below
which snow starts melting.
10. Delta: A triangular shaped fertile land
1. Streambed: A chanel in which a stream
built by river at the mouth.
flow or formerly flowed
2. Cataracts - water fall with volume of
3. The Ice Caps: It is the covering of
Snow and Ice on the oceans of poles.

Evaluation b. Erode
I. Multiple Choice c. Dharmapuri
Questions d. Coimbatore
1. Which of the following 4. The swirling movement of the
is the chemical falling water into the plunge pool
weathering process? is called
a. Exfoliation a. Plunge pool
b. Frost Wedging b. Groove
c. Carbonation c. Rapids
d. Thermal expansion d. Eddying
2. Feldspar found in Granite changing to 5. A winding curve or bend in a river
clay is the most common example of a. Ox-bow lake
a. Oxidation b. Flood plain
b. Carbonation c. Meander
c. Solution d. Levees
d. Hydrolysis 6. A bowed or curved delta with the
3. Which district in Tamil Nadu has the convex margin facing the body of
highest frequency of landslide? water, also called as fan delta.
a. Nilgiris a. Arcuate Delta

b. Bird’s foot Delta 18. Explain how a meander changes into
c. Abandoned Delta an Oxbow lake.
d. Truncated Delta 19. Distinguish between Barchans and Seif
7. Coleroon (Kollidam) river is a dune.
distributary of 20. Explain Moraine and list out its types.
a. The Bhavani River IV. Detailed answer
b. The Palar River 21. List the landforms made by the river
c. The Pennar River and explain any two landforms with
d. The Cauvery River
22. Describe the erosional landforms of
8. An amphitheater-shaped hollow basin
wind with diagrams.
cut into a mountain ridge by glacier.
23. Elucidate the landforms made by the
a. Arete
wave erosion and draw the appropriate
b. Cirque
c. Horn
V. Practice
d. Fjord
24. Make a diorama of landforms made by
9. The formation of irregular grooves and the wind as a group work and show to
ridges when most of the surfaces of the class explaining how each landform
limestone are removed by solution process. is made.
a. Lappies 25. Group Work: Make a working model
b. Polje of a river course with all the landforms
c. Cave using available materials and
d. Nunataks demonstrate it in the class.
10. One among the given is formed when
the arch is collapsed.
a. Stack Reference
b. Cave 26. Wikipedia
c. Blow hole 27. Physical geography: fundamentals of
the physical environment V. Ettwein
d. Wave cut platform
and M. Maslin
II. Very short answer
28. Introducing Physical Geography, John
11. Define exogenic processes.
Wiley & Sons.
12. What is an exfoliation?
29. Fundamentals of Geomorphology
13. How are rock flow, slide and fall
Richard John Huggett
different from one another?
14. List the types of Delta.
15. How is Spit different from Tombolo?
Web Reference
III. Short Answer
16. Compare physical weathering and 1. Web link: Read More at https://www.
chemical weathering. l iveh i stor y i n d i a . c om / ge ol o g i c a l -
17. Explain how a cave changes into stack. wonders/2017/05/24/gandikota-the-

Lithosphere Change is Constant

Through this activity you

will to learn the land formed by
Exogenic processes.

• Use the URL to reach ‘Plate Tectonics’ simulation page.
• Download JAVA binary file from the page and install it .Click ‘Play’ button to run
the JAVA applet.
• ‘Plate tectonics’ crust page will open. Modify temperature, composition and
thickness of the crust and measure the density and depth using the scale provided.
• Select ‘Plate Motion’ page and drag the crust form to converge or diverge motion
and observe the exogenic process.

Step 1 Step 2

Step 3 Step 4

Website URL:

Pictures are indicative only.

Unit V


Chapter Outline Learning Objectives:

Learning Objectives:
5.1 Introduction
• To understand the importance of
5.2 Distribution of Land and
Water in the Earth
• Acquire knowledge on evolution of
5.3 Fresh water
ocean and ocean relief features
5.4 Cryosphere
• Appreciate the ocean movements and
5.5 Oceans and Seas
their influence on the earth’s climate
5.6 Oceans of the world
5.7 Maritime zones half of the planet. Now we shall learn
5.8 Relief of ocean about the hydrosphere in detail.
5.9 Ocean temperature
5.10 Salinity of the ocean 70% of human brain
5.11 Ocean movements is water.
5.12 Thermohaline circulation

5.1 Introduction Water is the most common substance

 found on earth. It is an important
constituent of all life forms on the earth.
Hydrosphere is one among the four
“World cannot survive without water
spheres of the earth. The hydrosphere
and morality cannot exist without rain”
includes the water on the surface of
As thirukkural quotes, water is the most the earth, the water below the surface
important resource in the world. Over called ground water and the water in
90% of the world’s supply of fresh water the atmosphere above earth’s surface.
is in Antarctica. You must know that 85% Oceans, rivers, lakes and glaciers form
of the world population lives in the driest part of surface water. There is substantial
amount of water under the surface of Rivers: Rivers generally have a source
the earth. The atmosphere has water in on a mountain either from a glacier, a
all the three forms. The total amount spring or a lake. River Ganga has its source
of water on the earth does not change from Gangotri glacier in the Himalayas.
over time. Water is constantly in motion River Cauvery has its source from a spring
within the spheres of the earth which is in Talacauvery located in Kodagu district
being transformed and reused all over of Karnataka. River Nile has its source near
the earth. The earth’s hydrosphere, thus, Lake Victoria in Uganda. The river flows
acts as a closed system. through confined channel between two
banks and ends up at the mouth which is
5.2 Distribution of Land and Water in either on a sea or lake. When rivers drain
the Earth their water into a lake or an inland sea, it
Earth is covered by land and water. About is said to be an inland drainage.
70.8% of its area (361million sq km) is The Nile River in Africa is the longest river
covered by water and 29.2% (148 million in the world. The Nile River flows through
sq km) of its area by land. About 96.5% Egypt, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania,
of water is salty found in seas and oceans. Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda,
Fresh water occupies only 2.5%. Saline Burundi, Sudan and Eritrea drains and into
ground water and saline lakes together the Mediterranean Sea forming a delta to the
form 1%. north of Cairo city.
The river Amazon in South America, is
5.3 Fresh water the second longest river, and has the largest
Fresh water is defined as water with a drainage basin of any river. The Amazon River
salinity of less than1% compared to that flows through Peru, Colombia, and Brazil and
of the oceans (i.e. below 0.35%). Water drains into the Atlantic Ocean forming an
with salinity between 0.35‰ and 1‰ is estuarine delta.
typically referred to as marginal water The Yangtze River, which flows in
because it is marginal for many uses by China, is the longest river in Asia, and the
humans and animals. third longest river in the world. The longest
Considering the distribution of fresh river system in the United States, the
water 68.6% of it is locked in Glaciers and Mississippi-Missouri system is considered
icecaps. About 30.1% is stored as ground the fourth longest river in the world.
water and the remaining 1.5% is available
as surface water.
263 rivers either
Surface water includes ice and snow cross or demarcate
on the land and sea, water in the lakes, international political
rivers, swamps and marshes, moisture in boundaries.
soil, atmosphere and biosphere. Rivers
and lakes are the major sources of fresh
water around the world, and are vital to The total volume of water in rivers in
the communities they serve. the world is estimated at 2,120 km3. Asia

excluding Middle East, has the largest run may have their origin through tectonic
off of 13,300 km3/year followed by North activity, volcanic activity, river, glacier and
America with 12,000 km3 per year. wave action or sometimes meteoric origin.
Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal and Wular Lake
A nationwide water have been formed by earth movements.
resources information Lake Baikal is the deepest freshwater lake
system, “Generation in the world. Caspian Sea is the largest salt
of Database and water lake in the world.
Implementation of Web Enabled
Water Resources Information System Fact File
(India-WRIS) in the country” Tmc ft, is the abbreviation for
contain all aspects of water resources one thousand million cubic
and related data provide data and feet (1,000,000,000 = 1 billion),
information in public domain through commonly used in India with
India-WRIS Web GIS portal. reference to volume of water in a
reservoir or river flow.
Lakes: Lakes are larger bodies of water
with outlet through a river or stream. Lakes

Activity: List the major rivers from the map, find their source and mouth.
Name of the river Source Countries through Sea or ocean it Type (Delta
which they flow drains into or estuary)
Amazon. R
Nile .R
Yangtzekiang. R
Ganga. R

in higher latitudes. Permafrost is the
Saltwater intrusion condition prevailing when water freezes
If excessive water is above and below the ground, (including
taken from the aquifers rock or soil) for more than two consecutive
along the coast, the years. Most permafrost regions are located
sea water enters the coastal aquifer. in high latitudes, but alpine permafrost
This process is termed as saltwater may exist at high mountains in much
intrusion. lower latitudes.

Fact File
5.4 Cryosphere
Mount Kilimanjaro (5895m) in
Cryosphere includes the water in frozen Tanzania, Africa, located closer to
state. Glaciers, ice sheets, ice caps, lake the equator has permafrost.
and river ice, permafrost, seasonal snow
and ice crystals in the atmosphere together
form cryosphere. Earth’s climate is highly Seasonal snow and ice crystals are
influenced by the extent of cryosphere as confined to middle latitudes and high
it controls the energy budget of the earth mountains in lower latitude. Sea ice is
(Figure 5.2). frozen ocean water. Its formation, growth
Perennial ice cover is found in and melting are all confined to the ocean.
Greenland and Antarctica as ice sheets, An ice shelf is a thick, floating slab of ice
as mountain glaciers and as permafrost that forms where a glacier or ice flows

Ice cap

Lake/River Iceberg
Glacler Ice Sheet
Seaice IceSheif



Figure 5.2 Cryosphere

down a coastline. The world’s largest ice area of the World Ocean is 361 million
shelves are the Ross Ice Shelf and the square kilometre. The earth has at present
Filchner-Ronne ice shelf in Antarctica. An five major oceans: The Pacific Ocean,
iceberg is ice floating in open water that the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean,
has broken off from glaciers or ice shelf. the Arctic Ocean, and the Southern
ocean (Figure 5.3). All these oceans are
Interaction of cryosphere with other interconnected to form one Global Ocean
spheres or World Ocean. This nature of water to
Cryosphere is a climate indicator. level up quickly has made it as a reference
Cryosphere with its high albedo influences point to measure the height of the land
the energy balance of the whole planet. features and the depth of the sea features.
Changes in cryosphere will alter land
cover, surface temperature, soil moisture, Fact File
air temperature, radiation, air circulation, Mean Sea Level (MSL) is the average
clouds, precipitation, sea level, sea surface height of the surface of the sea for all
temperature, salinity, ocean current, stages of the tide. MSL is reference
fauna, flora and microbes. There is a point to measure the height of
complex interaction and balance among land features and depth of the sea
the spheres of the earth which makes life features.
to flourish in the earth. If there is a change
in one sphere it affects the other spheres
as well. Nature maintains this balance. Sea is a body of saline water (generally
Understanding this complex interactions a division of the world ocean) partly or
and living in harmony with nature will fully enclosed by land. Marginal sea
help to mitigate the environmental is a sea partially enclosed by islands,
problems faced by the earth. archipelagos, or peninsulas and extension
of oceans towards land. They are generally
shallow. Andaman Sea, Arabian Sea, Bay
Carbon is removed of Bengal, Java Sea, Persian Gulf and Red
from the atmospheric Sea are marginal seas of the Indian Ocean.
cycle by cryosphere
Bay is a water body surrounded on three
during the formation
sides by land and the fourth side (mouth)
of ice and is released when the ice melts.
wide open towards an ocean. Gulf is a
large body of water, with a narrow mouth,
5.5 Oceans and Seas that is almost completely surrounded by
The water in the oceans and seas is termed land. The world’s largest gulf is the Gulf of
as marine water. Continuous water body Mexico. Sound, creek, bight and cove are
that surrounds the continents, created by bays which vary in size and depth.
earth’s internal force is known as Ocean. Strait is a narrow channel of water,
The term ocean takes its origin from connecting two larger bodies of water.
the Greek word ‘Oceaonus’ meaning Palk Strait connects Gulf of Mannar
enormous river encircling the earth. The and Bay of Bengal. Isthmus is a narrow
strip of land connecting two larger land Ocean Of The World
masses. Isthmus of Suez connects Africa Ocean
and Asia. 6% 4%
Enclosed seas are seas that reach very
deep into the continent stay connected Indian
with one or the other ocean of the world Ocean
through straits. Mediterranean Sea is the Atlantic
best example for enclosed sea. Partly 24%
Enclosed Seas are those types of seas
that are connected to the oceans by a Figure 5.3 Distribution of the Oceans
very wide opening and have similar
characters of the adjacent ocean. A
series of islands may also occur between be calm after sailing from the Atlantic
a partly enclosed sea and the ocean to Ocean through the stormy and
which it is connected. Caribbean Sea is a dangerous Strait of Magellan. Average
perfect example. depth of this ocean is 4,280 meters.
Landlocked Seas are completely
surrounded by landmass on all sides There is life cycle for
without any natural outlet. They are oceans too! It is known
actually hyper saline lakes. Dead Sea as Wilson cycle.
and Caspian Sea are good examples of
landlocked seas. Jordon River and Volga
River flow into Dead Sea and Caspian Sea 2. The Atlantic Ocean
respectively. Atlantic Ocean is the second largest
ocean of the world. The Atlantic
Fjord is a long indented bay with
Ocean’s name refers to Atlas of Greek
steep slope that has been created by the
mythology. The North Atlantic
submergence of U shaped glacial valley.
Ocean was formed by the break-up
Example: sogne Fjord in Norway (203 km).
of the supercontinent Pangaea and
Ria is an indented bay with gradual the south Atlantic was formed when
slope formed by the submergence of the Gondwana land broke in the
V shaped river valley. George River in
geological past.
Sydney is the best example for Ria.
Fact File
5.6 Oceans of the world
The Suez Canal, an artificial sea-
1. The Pacific Ocean level waterway in Egypt, connecting
Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the the Mediterranean Sea to the Red
world. It is bigger than all continents Sea through the Isthmus of Suez was
put together. Portuguese explorer officially opened on November 17, 1869.
Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 named
the ocean Pacific Ocean meaning
‘peaceful’ because he felt the ocean to
Student’s Activity: Shoreline Terminology

Answer the following after careful examination of the diagram

Foreshore lies between and
The seaward region beyond the low-tide breaker line is known as

High-tide low-tide
Cliffs Backshore Breaker line Breaker line

Foreshore Offshore
(exposed at low-tide) Nearshore

High-tide High-tide

Beach Low-tide Low-tide

5.7 Maritime zones (22.2 km) from its baseline (Figure 5.5).

The contiguous zone is a zone of water
The low-tide line forms the base line for
extending from the outer edge of the
marking maritime zones. Water landward
territorial sea up to 24 nautical miles
of the baseline in defined as internal
(44.4 km) from the baseline.
waters over which the state has complete
sovereignty. A country’s territorial An Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
sea extends up to 12 nautical miles extends from the base line to a maximum

Territorial Sea Exclusive Economic Zone High Sea

(12 nautical miles (up to 200 naut. miles from baseline)
from baseline)

Contiguous Zone
(up to 12 miles)

Continental Shelf (deep sea bed)

Figure 5.5 Maritime Zones

of 200 nautical miles (370.4 km). A Fact File
coastal nation has control of all economic
Indian National Centre for Ocean
resources within its exclusive economic
Information Services (INCOIS)
zone, including fishing, mining and oil
with its Marine Satellite Information
exploration. Everything beyond EEZ is
Services uses the remotely sensed sea
called International Waters or the High
surface temperature (SST) to identify
Seas. No nation has sovereign rights over
the locations of fish aggregation. The
this area.
details of the Potential Fishing Zones
(PFZ) are then disseminated to the
Fact File
fishermen once in every three days
A nautical mile is based on the
along the Indian Coast by displaying
circumference of the earth, and
the details in the Lighthouse in
is equal to one minute of latitude
their respective regional language
which is equivalent to one sixtieth of
(Figure 5.6).
a degree of latitude. A nautical mile
is a unit of measurement defined
as 1,852 metres. Nautical miles are ‘Hypsometric curve’ or ‘Hypsographic
used in Navigational charts. curve’. It is a graph denoting the proportion
of a landmass standing above or below the
sea level (Figure 5.7).
5.8 Relief of ocean
Continental shelf
The bottom of the ocean has a variety of
landforms just as it is seen on the earth’s Continental shelf is the seaward extension of
surface. There are large mountain ridges, land that lies under the sea water. It occupies
deep depressions, flat plains, basins 7% of the sea floor. The continental shelf slopes
and volcanoes. The configuration of an gently away from the land and is covered with
ocean floor is shown with the help of a shallow seas with an average depth of 200
Bay of




Not to scale Indian Ocean



650E 700 750 800 850 900 950 V
North Indian Ocean with Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal .The dashed Lines OU C LU
demacrate India’s EEZ,Which covers about 2 million sq,km, Which is roughly

60% of India’s land area.India’s coastline including islands is about 7000 km long.

Figure 5.6 India’s Exclusive Economic Zone

Figure 5.7 Major relief features of Ocean Floor

fathoms. The width of the continental shelf abyssal plain is called continental slope. The
varies according to the nature of the rock slope angle varies from 5° to 60°. It occupies 9%
beneath the crust. If the crust is dynamic of sea floor. This is the region in oceans where
then the shelf would be narrow and vice landslides, turbid currents, large sediment
versa. Continental shelves are formed due to slumps, under water canyons, gorges cut by
either any one or combination of the factors the currents and rivers occur. The deposit
like fluvial deposits, marine erosion, tectonic from the continental shelves immediately falls
forces, and the fluctuations in sea level in the down here. The origin of continental slope is
past. Continental shelves are well known for believed to be due to erosional, tectonic and
oil, natural gas, mineral deposits and coral aggradational processes.
reefs. World famous fishing grounds like
Grand Bank are situated here. The world’s Continental rise
widest continental shelf (1210 km long) is The area between the continental
located along the coast of Siberia, in Russia. slope and the sea floor is known as the
Continental shelf on the east coast of continental rise. This part is noted for
India is formed by deltas of the Ganga, the the accumulation of sediments similar to
Godavari, the Krishna and the Cauvery. the alluvial fans near the foot hills in the
On the West coast of India the continental land. It represents the boundary between
shelves are formed due to faulting and continents and abyssal plain. It constitutes
consequent submergence. about 5% of the oceanic area.

Continental Slope Abyssal plain

The zone of steep slope extending from the The Abyssal plain is the vast area of flat
continental shelf to the deep sea plain or terrain in the bottom of the oceans. It is
Shoreline Plain

Abyssal Rise
Figure 5.8 Ocean relief

the largest part of ocean relief covering Ocean trench

more than 50% of the total area. There is The long, narrow, steep-sided depressions
an accumulation of very fine sediments on formed by tectonic forces beneath the
the floor. The sediments are combinations abyssal plain are called Ocean trenches.
of fine particles of clay and microorganisms. Oceanic trenches actually extend 3 to 4 km
As in the case of sedimentary rocks of earth’s below the level of the abyssal plain. There
surface these sediments are in layers and are are 26 oceanic trenches in the world: 22
used to trace geological events in the past. in the Pacific Ocean, 3 in the Atlantic
Ocean and only one in the Indian Ocean.
Mid oceanic ridges
The  Challenger Deep  in the  Mariana
The mid-ocean ridges are submarine Trench, (10,994  m) in the Pacific Ocean
mountains. They are continuous and are is the deepest part of the earth. A trench
connected to form a single global mid- forms along the convergent boundary
oceanic ridge system. They are formed by where one plate subducts below the other
the tectonic forces acting from within the (Figure 5.9).
earth. Mid oceanic ridges are located on the
divergent plate boundaries where magma Island
flows through the fissure to form new oceanic An island is a landmass surrounded by
crust. They form the  longest  mountain water on all sides. Islands may be formed
range in the world extending for more than on the continental shelf or as oceanic
56,000 km long and has a maximum width islands. Most of the oceanic islands are
of 800–1,500 km. volcanic in origin. Group of islands
Major Ocean Trenches of the world
Name of the Trench Location Depth ( in Metres)
Challenger in Mariana Trench North Pacific 10,994
Aldrich or Tonga Trench South Pacific 10,882
Kurile Trench North Pacific 10,554
Tizar Romanche Trench South Atlantic 7,761
Sunda Trench East of Indian Ocean 7,450
Source: Geology.com


Figure 5.9 Ridges and Trenches of the world

formed by subduction of ocean plate are

Fact File known as archipelago. Islands of Japan
Ocean deep is grouped into two form an archipelago.
categories based on their size.
Marine organisms, the coral polyps
Very deep but less extensive colonize the tropical warm water and
depression are called deeps. Long form islands known as coral islands.
narrow linear and more extensive Lakshadweep Island in Indian Territory is
depressions are called ‘trenches’. made of corals. Andaman Nicobar islands
are of volcanic origin.
Guyots shores of Newfoundland (Grand bank)
Flat topped volcanic hills submerged and British islands (Dogger Bank). In the
under the sea water are called guyots. South Atlantic Ocean, a very extensive
It is a part of an underwater chain of continental shelf is found between Bahia
volcanic mountains produced by slow Blanca and Antarctica (Figure 5.10).
plate movement. The most striking relief feature which
is the ‘S’ shaped Mid–Atlantic ridge which
Seamounts extends for 16,000 km from Iceland in
Seamounts are conical, volcanic hills the north to Bouvet Island in the south.
submerged under ocean water. It does The ridge separates the Eurasian Plate
not reach to the water’s surface. It is an and North American Plate in the North
isolated rise with an elevation of thousand Atlantic, and the African Plate from
metres or more from the surrounding sea the South American Plate in the South
floor and with a limited summit area. It Atlantic. Iceland and Faroe are the few
occupies 4.39 percent of ocean region. peaks of the Mid-Atlantic ridge.
Seamounts and guyots are most abundant The mid-Atlantic ridge divides the Atlantic
in the North Pacific Ocean. Ocean into two major basins, i.e., East and
West Atlantic basins. Other basins are Spanish
Bottom relief of Pacific Ocean
basin, north and south Canary basin, Guinea
Continental shelf of the Eastern Pacific basin, Brazilian basin and Labrador basin.
Ocean is very narrow due to the presence Puerto Rico Deep (8,380 m) is the deepest of
of trenches while those on the western coast all deeps in the Atlantic Ocean. Other deeps
are wide. Continental shelf adjoining coasts are Romanche Deep and South Sandwich
of Australia and Indonesia varies in width Trench.
from 160 to 1,600 km. In the Pacific Ocean, The West Indies is an island archipelago
the abyssal plains are very vast. Absence of near the main land of North America.
mid oceanic ridges is the main reason for British Isles and Newfoundland are famous
deep sea plains. Prominent submarine ridges islands, formed on the continental shelf
of the Pacific Ocean are Albatross plateau, in the North Atlantic Ocean. Sandwich
Cocas ridge and Aleutian ridge. Tasmania island, Georgia Island, Falkland and
basin (New Zealand ) and east pacific basin Shetland islands are islands in the South
are major basins of Pacific Ocean. Pacific Atlantic Ocean.
Ocean has about 25,000 islands. There are
number of archipelagos both in north and
south Pacific Ocean. The Hawaii islands Bottom Relief of the Indian Ocean
were formed by hotspot. The challenger The Indian Ocean has continental shelf of
deep in Mariana trench is the deepest part varying width. Continental shelf along the
of Pacific Ocean (10994m). coast of Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and
Andaman varies in width from 192km to
Bottom relief of Atlantic Ocean
280km. A variety of coral reefs thrive in the
In the North Atlantic Ocean, extensive warm tropical water of the Indian Ocean.
continental shelves are found around the
Not to scale

Figure 5.10 Bottom relief of Atlantic Ocean

Indian Ocean has a continuous central Madagascar ridge. Basins of Indian Ocean
ridge called the Arabic Indian ridge. include Comoro basin, North Australian
Other important ridges include the East basin, South Indian basin and the Arab
Indian ridge, West Australian ridge, South basin (Figure 5.11).

The average depth normally measured in the unit of degree
of the Indian Ocean is Celsius by thermometers. The major
3890m. Sunda deep near source of heat energy for ocean water
Java is the deepest part is the radiation from sun. The heating
of this ocean (7450m). and cooling capacity of water differs
Madagascar and Sri significantly from that of land.
Lanka are the most prominent islands
present in Indian Ocean. Andaman and Factors affecting horizontal
Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal are distribution of ocean temperature
the raised part of mountains that are the The factors affecting distribution
extension of Arakan Yoma which forms of ocean temperature are latitude,
a part of Himalayas. Reunion Island is prevailing winds, ocean currents and local
located on a Hot spot. weather.

1. Latitude: The temperature of surface

5.9 Ocean Temperature
water decreases from equator towards
The measurement of degree of hotness the poles because of the slanting rays
or coldness of ocean water is referred to of the Sun pole ward.
as ocean temperature. Temperature is

Not to scale

Figure 5.11 Bottom relief of Indian Ocean

2. Prevailing wind: Direction of the wind Europe. Labrador cold current reduces
affects the distribution of temperature the temperature near north eastern
of ocean water. The off shore winds coast of North America.
blowing from the land towards ocean
or sea raise the temperature of ocean 4. Apart from these, some minor factors
water. Winds blowing from snow like submarine ridges, local weather
covered regions in winter lower the conditions like storms, cyclones,
surface temperature. In trade wind belt, hurricanes, fog, cloudiness, evaporation
the off shore winds initiate upwelling of and condensation also affect the surface
cooler water from beneath and on shore temperature of ocean water.
winds pile up warm water to increase These images show the sea surface
the temperature to certain extent. temperature in Celsius. The Figure 5.12
3. Ocean currents: Warm currents raise shows the sea surface temperature in
the temperature of the oceans where July and the Figure 5.13 in January.
they flow whereas cold currents Cold temperatures are shown in purple,
lower down the temperature. Gulf moderate temperatures in aquatic green
Stream (warm current) increases the and warm temperatures in yellow to
temperature of the eastern part of red. Landmass is shown by black colour.
North America and the west coast of The diurnal range and annual range of


80 N 30

0 0 16
400S 8

500F 1500F 1100W 100W


Figure 5.12 Sea surface temperature in July 1997

temperature of ocean is much less than lies the thermocline layer. This layer varies
that of the land. The temperature of the in depth between 200 metre to 1000 metre.
sea surface is highest (27°C to 30°C) not This layer is unique that the temperature
near Equator but few degrees north of the decreases rapidly with increasing depth.
Equator. The lowest temperature recorded Below the thermocline temperature decrease
is -1.9°C near the poles. The maximum is gradual up to 4000m. Beneath this depth
and minimum annual temperatures of the temperature of ocean water is constant
ocean water are recorded in August and at 4°C (Figure 5.14).
February in the Northern hemisphere Sea level
and reverse in case of the southern Upper mixed Mixed layer :(Sea level to 200m
200m depth) Temperature is uniform
hemisphere. 1,000m or changing slightly with depth
Deep Bottom Water Thermocline layer:
(200 –1000m depth)
5.9.2 Vertical distribution of Temperature decreases
temperature in oceans 2,500m
rapidly with depth.
Deep water layer
The uppermost layer of ocean water is (below 1000m) :
Temperature decreases slowly.
warm and well mixed surface layer with Up to 4000 meters the
5,000m temperature of ocean water in
average temperature between 20° and 25°C. abyssal plain
constant at 4°C.
The depth of this layer varies according to Tropical Area TemperateArea Polar Area

seasons. On an average this layer extends up

to 200 m in tropical region. Beneath this layer


800N 30

00 16
400S 8

500F 1500F 1100W 100W


Figure 5.13 Sea surface temperature in January 1997

Temperature (oC) In partially enclosed
5 10 15 20 25
seas, their bottom

relief and the
Tropical _ 2,000
submarine ridges
_ Temperate
1,000 _ 4,000 with shallow water do not allow
free mixing of open sea water. The


_ 6,000 temperature at the depth of 1800m

2,000 _ in the Red Sea is higher than the
_ 8,000
temperature recorded at the same
3,000 _ _ 10,000 depth in the Indian Ocean.

Fact File

40 50 60 70 Depth of water is measured in the

Temperature (oF)
unit ‘Fathom’. One fathom is equal
Figure 5.14 Vertical distribution to 1.8 metre (six feet)
of temprature in Oceans

weathering and erosion of the earth’s crust by

the rivers. Some of the ocean salts have been
Brain Storming
dissolved from rocks and sediments below
the sea floor, while others have escaped from
Which Ocean we can walk across and
the earth’s crust through volcanic vents as
solid and gaseous materials.

Factors affecting the salinity of ocean

5.10. Salinity of the ocean The salinity of ocean water depends upon
Salinity is defined as the ratio between
a) The rate of evaporation
the weights of dissolved salts (in grams)
per 1000 grams of water. It is expressed as b) Amount of precipitation,
part per thousand (‰) and has no units. c) Addition of fresh water flow from
Example: 30‰ means 30 grams in 1,000 rivers
grams of sea water. The average ocean
d) Ice in Polar Regions
salinity is 35‰.
Sources of salt in the ocean: Sea water e) Upwelling of deep water initiated by
is a weak but complex solution made up prevailing winds and
of many things including mineral salts f) Mixing of water by ocean currents.
and decayed biological marine organisms.
Most of the ocean salts are derived from

Distribution of salinity
On an average the salinity decreases from
equator towards the poles. The highest Identify regions of high salinity and
salinity is observed between 20° and low salinity.
40° north latitudes because this zone
Compare the salinity of Arabian
is characterized by high temperature,
Sea and Bay of Bengal and find the
high evaporation but less rain than the
reason for the same.
equatorial region.
Find out the reason for low salinity
The marginal areas of the oceans
on east coast of Asia and West coast of
bordering the continents have lower
North America.(Figure 5.15)
salinity than their interior due to addition
Why does the salinity vary along
of fresh water to the marginal areas
the west coast of South America?
through the rivers (Figure 5.15).
Very high salinity is recorded in Lake
Von, Turkey (330‰ ) Dead Sea (238‰) Fact File
and Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA (220‰). Isohaline is an imaginary line drawn
to join places having equal salinity.
Raking refers to the use Salinity of Dead Sea is 8.6 times
of a rake, a traditional saltier than other oceans. The shore
wooden tool with the of Dead Sea is 423m below sea level.
long handle and long It has the lowest elevation on land.
pointed wooden toothed spade at the The sea is 377m deep. The high salt
bottom for collecting salt. content will make people float on the
sea. The high salt content has made
the Dead Sea devoid of life in it.

5.11 Ocean movements

Water in the ocean is never in a state of
rest. Ocean water is always in motion. It
moves horizontally as well as vertically.
The movement of ocean water takes place
in three different ways as waves, tides and
ocean currents.

Salinity (ppt)

more than 37


less than 34

Figure 5.15 Salinity of the Oceans

The waves are oscillating movements in Wave action

the ocean water which transfer energy parts of a wave

from place to place. They are caused by Direction of travel

A Wave length B
friction of wind on the surface of water or
Wave height
any other disturbances’ on the sea bottom. Calm sea level

Parts of Waves Trough

Wave Frequency Wave Period
1. Crest: The upper or highest part of a The number of wave crests The time required for the wave
passing point A each second crest at point A to reach point B
wave is called the crest. (Figure 5.16)
2. Trough: The lowest part of a wave is Figure 5.16 Parts of a wave
called the trough.
3. Wave height: The vertical distance
7. Frequency: The number of wavelengths
between the crest and the trough is
that pass a fixed point per unit of time is
known as wave height.
frequency. Example, 100 waves per sec
4. Wave length: The horizontal distance per cm.
between two crests or two troughs is
known as wave length. 8. Period: The time taken by one
wavelength to pass a fixed point is
5. Wave amplitude: Wave amplitude is
known as period.
one-half of the wave height.
9. Velocity: Refers to speed and direction.
6. Fetch: The distance of open water
across which the wind can blow 10. Steepness: Steepness of the wave is equal
without interruption is called fetch. to the height divided by length.(H/L)
Tides the harbour are known as tidal ports. In
The rhythmic rise and fall of the sea water India Kolkatta and Kandla are examples
due to gravitational pull of the moon and the of tidal harbours.
sun is called a Tide. Isaac Newton  (1642–
1727) was the first person to explain tides
scientifically. The rise of seawater towards
Why does the highest Tide occur
the land is known as High tide or flow tide.
when the sun, earth and moon are
The fall of seawater more towards sea is
aligned in a straight line?
known as ‘Low tide water’ or ebb tide. On
any day there will be two high tides and The Gulf of Cambay and the Gulf of
two low tides. The highest high tide occurs Kutch in Gujarat on the west coast have
on full moon day and new moon day. It is the maximum tidal range of 11m and 8m
known as spring tide (Figure 5.17). Spring with average tidal range of 6.77m and
tide happens when the sun, earth and moon 5.23m respectively. Tides help to clear the
aligned in straight line. The lowest low tide sediments deposited by rivers on their bed
is known as neap tide. It happens when the and thus prevent siltation of harbours.
sun, earth and moon are positioned at right The energy of the tides is used to generate
angles. electricity. Tidal power stations have been
set up in UK, Canada, France and Japan.
In India Gulf of Khambhat, Gulf of Kutch
and Sundarbans have scope for tidal
Earth Solar tide
energy production.
Full Moon New Moon
Fact File
Lunar tide A harbour is a sheltered water body
Spring tide
where ships are anchored. A port
is the area at the edge of a water
body where boats and ships are
docked, where transfer of goods and
Figure 5.17 Tides passengers take place and where
The movement of ocean water as a trading is facilitated.
result of tidal action is known as a tidal
current. In places of narrow coastal
inlet these tidal currents flow rapidly Ocean currents
through the mouth with greater height
and velocity. For example in the Bay of Large mass of moving water from one
Fundy, between Nova Scotia and New part of the ocean to another in a definite
Brunswick of Canada, the difference direction is called as ocean current. The
between high and low tides is as high movement is produced due to earth’s
as 14m. Ports which utilize the tidal rotation, temperature difference of ocean
current for entry and exit of ships from water, salinity, density and some extent

World -Ocean currents

1500 1200 900 600 300 00 300 600 900 1200 1500
800 800


dC ian W E

nlan rve

60 No 600
Gr Berling S C.
. o
St. Johns ic C London hi
N. Pacific C. ant as
New York Atl Oy

ry C.
400 N 400
North alifo Stre North C.

lf sh
Pacific Gyre rn Gu Atlantic ro

200 Gyre 200


N Equa torial C.

N. Equatorial C.

N. Equatorial C.

0 00
S Equatorial C.
S. Equatorial C. S. Equatorial C.

ustralian C.
u s t r a l i a n C.
Peru C

20 0 Walvis Bay 200


Pacific Gyre South Indian


il C

Atlantic Ocean Gyre

E. A

400 Gyre 400

West Wind Drift West Wind

600 East Wind Drift 600

East Wind Drift

800 800
1500 1200 900 600 300 00 300 600 900 1200 1500

Not to Scale
Cold Current Warm Current

Figure 5.18 World-Ocean currents

due to air pressure and winds. Ocean and temperature between the surface
currents can be classified on the basis of and the water deep below. Upwelling  is
mode of origin, volume and velocity and an  oceanographic  phenomenon that
boundaries. involves  movement of dense, cooler,
In the order of velocity ocean currents and usually  nutrient-rich water towards
can be classified as drifts, currents and the  ocean  surface, replacing the warmer,
streams. Drifts are movement of surface usually nutrient-depleted surface
water of low velocity influenced by water. Down welling  is the process of
prevailing winds, currents are movement accumulation and sinking of cold high
of oceanic water in definite direction saline water beneath warmer or fresher
and greater velocity and streams are water.
larger mass of water moving in a definite Major ocean currents of the world
direction and much greater velocity than
the drifts and currents. Ocean currents In every ocean, there is circulation of ocean
are distinguished by the temperature they water from Equator to pole and from pole
possess. When ocean currents originate to equator. The warm currents from the
from equator it is termed as warm current. equator flows over the surface of ocean
Likewise when a current starts from polar towards the pole and sink to the bottom
region it is termed as cold current. of the ocean floor in the higher latitudes
due to high density and flow towards the
Vertical circulation of ocean water
equator to complete the circulation. This
takes place due to difference in salinity
large scale circulation is known as gyre.
The gyre circulates is clockwise in the cold current off the Kuril Islands. It
northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise is also called as Japan current.
in the southern hemisphere. 4. Oyashio Current( Parental Tide)
a) Ocean currents of the Pacific Ocean It originates from the Bering Strait
and flows towards south carrying
1. North Equatorial current. cold water. It is a cold current. It
North equatorial current originates meets with Kuroshio warm current
from Revilla Gigedo island west and Aleutian current.
of Mexico and flows towards the 5. Californian Current.
Philippines Island covering a
Californian current is flowing
distance of about 12,000 km from
towards south along the west coast
east west. It is a warm current. It
of U.S.A between 48o N and 23o N
derives from its water from the
latitudes. It is cold current which
Californian current and the South
exhibits great amount of up welled
east Monsoon drift which flows
water. When it enters the region of
north along the Mexican coast. The
Trade winds, it is deflected to the
volume of water increases from east
right and joins the equatorial current.
to west as many small currents join
it from right. It gets divided into two 6. Peru Current.
and the northern branch joins the Peru Current is perhaps the best
Kuroshio Current and the southern studied ocean current of the Pacific
branch abruptly turns and forms the Ocean. Alexander Von Humboldt
Pacific counter current. in 1802 noted the details of the Peru
2. South equatorial current. Current. Hence, it is also known
as Humboldt Current. It is a cold
South equatorial current is
current. It is flowing towards north
originated due the action of the
along the west coast of South America
trade winds from east to west.
carrying cold water from northerly
It is a warm current. It extends
deflection of the Sub-Antarctica
for about 13,600km from east to
water moving in 40o S.
west. It is stronger than the North
equatorial current. It is further 7. El Nino or Counter current.
divided into many branches due to It is a warm counter ocean current
the presence of many islands and of the pacific equatorial waters
uneven surface topography. flowing south ward at 400 m depth
3. Kuroshio current ( Black Tide) to a distance about 180 km.

It is a warm ocean current flowing 8. West Wind Drift.

in north easterly direction up to It is an easterly moving drift in
30o N latitude and it carries warm the Pacific Ocean extending from
water off the Formosa coast. It flows Tasmania to the South American
towards north and meets Oyashio coast. It is a cold current. The
speed of the drift is greater under

the influence of Roaring Forties. of the earth. It joins the labrador
It splits into two branches and one cold current near New Found land,
moves south around the Cape Horn Canada after passing through the
into the Atlantic Ocean and the strait of Florida. The Gulf Stream was
Other one moves northward along discovered by Ponce de Leon in 1513.
the Peruvian coast due to deflection
and joins the Peru Current.

b) Currents of the Atlantic Ocean

1. North equatorial current. The Sargasso Sea – Sea with

North equatorial current is flowing landless border
from east to west. It is a warm The Sargasso Sea occupies about two
current. It is situated between 5o – thirds of the North Atlantic Ocean,
20o N latitudes. After leaving the west stretching seven hundred miles wide
coast of Africa, it attains its main and two thousand miles long. The
characteristics. When it reaches the only “sea” with absolutely no land
east coast of South America, it splits around it, the Sargasso Sea got its
into two branches and one branch name from common brown seaweed
called Antilles current is moving called Sargassum that floats in  vast
along the coast of West Indies and mats in its waters. The Sargasso Sea
other branch is diverted into the is surrounded only by ocean currents.
Caribbean sea. It lies within the Northern Atlantic
Subtropical  Gyre. The Gulf Stream
2. South Equatorial current.
establishes the Sargasso Sea’s western
It is flowing south of equator within boundary, while the Sea is further
0o – 12o S latitude in between the defined to the north by the North
coast of Africa and South America. It Atlantic Current, to the east by the
is a warm current. It is a northern Canary Current, and to the south by
continuation of Benguela current. It the North Atlantic Equatorial Current.
is stronger than the North equatorial Since this area is defined by boundary
ocean current. It is caused by the currents, its borders are dynamic.
action of Trade winds.

3. Gulf Stream.
Gulf Stream starts from the Gulf of
Mexico and carries warm waters
into the colder latitudes. It is a warm
current. It bends with the coastline
up to 40th parallel after which the
direction is almost to the east, due
to the force and the direction of the
westerlies and the deflective force

S. No. World’s Fishing banks Confluence of ocean currents
The Grand bank (Atlantic Ocean,
1. Gulf Stream and Labrador current
Western Europe)
The Agulhas bank (Atlantic Ocean, Benguela cold current and Agulhas
South west Africa) warm current
The Dogger bank (Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic drift and canary cold
North east of N.A) current
The Reed bank (South China Sea, Kuroshio Warm current and Oyashio
Pacific Ocean) Cold Current
South Equatorial warm current and
5. The Pedro bank (India Ocean)
W. Australian cold current

4. Canaries Current. direction as southwest monsoon drift

The ocean current flowing along and in the anti-clockwise direction as
the Western coast of North Africa northeast monsoon drift due to the
between Maderia and Cape verde is influence of monsoon winds.
known as the Canaries Current. It is
a cold current. It is flowing towards The Antarctic circumpolar current flows
south and merging with the North between 40 to 60° S latitude. It flows from
equatorial current. west to east influenced by the westerly and
circles around entire Antarctica. There is
5. Labrador Current. a counter west ward current within this
In the north Atlantic, a cold current circum polar current.
flows from the Baffin Bay and Davis
Strait towards south. It brings cold d) Currents of the Southern ocean
waters from polar zone and moves
along the coast of green land. The southern ocean surrounds the
continent of Antarctica. The large
6. Benguela current. oceans, the pacific, the Atlantic and the
It is a cold current flowing Indian Ocean merge into this circum-
northward along the western coast global zone of water to their south. The
of Africa is known as the Benguela movement of water in the southern
current. It carries cold waters from ocean is in one sense a relatively
sub-Antarctica surface water and simple, generally west-east circum-
mixes with south equatorial current. polar drift caused under the influence
C) Currents of the Indian Ocean of northwesterly winds. This general
The south Indian gyre is formed by flow sends offshoots to the three
south equatorial current, Madagascar major oceans to its north. The Peru
current west wind drift and west or Humboldt Current in the Pacific
Australian current. To the north of Ocean, the Falkland Current and the
equator the currents in the Arabian Sea Benguela Current in the Atlantic Ocean
and Bay of Bengal flow in the clockwise and the West Australian Current in the

Normal Situation El Nino Situation
 Near equator the water of the Pacific  Near equator the warm water in the
Ocean is warmer in the western side Pacific Ocean extends from western
and cooler in the eastern side due to side to eastern side suppressing the
upwelling of the cold current.  upwelling of the cold water.
 Air (Walker) circulation is dominant  Air (Walker) circulation is dominant in
in the western Pacific Ocean. The the eastern part of Pacific Ocean. The
air ascends in the western side and air ascends in the warm eastern Pacific
descends over the cooler eastern side Ocean.
 Heavy rain is experienced in the  Heavy rain is experienced in the
western warmer region and dry eastern warmer region and dry
conditions prevail in the cooler region. condition prevails in the western part.
 The Southeast Asia and Australia  Southeast Asia and Australia
receive heavy rain on normal years. experience dry weather conditions.
 West coast of South America  West coast of South America receives
experiences dry weather. heavy rainfall.

El Nino • When there is a modified vertical air

El Nino is a phenomenon that occurs in circulation above the Pacific Ocean
the equatorial Pacific Ocean characterized
Global influence of El Nino
by a positive sea surface temperature
departure from normal (1971-2000 base El Nino effect is experienced at Global
period) in the region lying within the level. The change in air circulation affects
latitude 5°N to 5°S and longitudes 120° the economy of different countries also.
W to 170°W . This phenomenon occurs Global weather patterns are altered to
every two to seven years (Figure 5.19). such an extent that they affect eco system,
agriculture, tropical cyclone, drought,
El Nino happens when forest fire, floods and flood related health
• Sea surface temperature increases hazards. El Nino influences the jet streams.
between the central and eastern Due to this phenomenon California
equatorial Pacific Ocean between the experiences heavy rainfall, northern
country Ecuador and the International Europe experiences dry winter, Southern
Date Line Europe experiences mild wet winters,
there are less number of cyclones in Sea of
• The increase in temperature is
Japan, and heavy rain in East Africa. South
sustained for a period of eighteen
East Asia experiences severe drought and
months to Two years.
forest fire. Peru in South America receives
• The temperature increase is up to 30 m heavy rainfall during El Nino.
beneath the ocean surface.

Increase of temperature in the east La Nina
Pacific Ocean is correlated with normal La Nina is just the opposite to the condition
monsoon conditions in India while the of El Nino. When trade winds are strong,
increase of temperature in the central colder water up wells on the East Pacific
Pacific has high correlation with drought Ocean, walker air circulation is confined
conditions in India. When temperature to the west Pacific, wet condition in
increases further to the west it suppresses Southeast Asia and dry weather in South
the Indian Monsoon. America is observed.
The difference in the atmospheric
pressure between the west and east
International Research
tropical Southern Pacific Ocean is
Institute Climate
referred to as Southern Oscillation.
Prediction Centre
Meteorologists have established a close
predicts and forecasts
inter link between Southern Oscillation
El Nino occurrences. Scientists are in
and occurrences of El Nino and La Nina
the opinion that El Nino can cause
events. The acronym ‘ENSO’(El Nino
Global Warming and it also increases
Southern Oscillation) is often used to
the frequency of El Nino occurrence.
study both the phenomena.

Pacific Ocean Atlantic Ocean Indian Ocean

Basin View
Global map
Current View

Figure 5.20 Thermohaline circulation

Fact File Glossary
Peruvian fishermen named the Abyssal plains: An extremely large, flat,
weather phenomenon El Nino under water plain on the deep ocean floor.
meaning ‘little boy’ or ‘New born Continental rise: is area between the
Christ’ and La Nina meaning ‘Little continental slope and the sea floor.
girl’ as the phenomenon was first Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ): extends
noticed during Christmas time. from the base line to a maximum of 200
nautical miles (370.4 km).
Isthmus: A narrow steep of land that
5.12 Thermohaline circulation connects two large land masses and
separates two bodies of water.
As the name indicates there is a large
scale churning of ocean water due to Hot spot: An area is the mantle from
difference in temperature and salinity. where rocks melt and magma rises through
The down welling of ocean water occurs circular to form volcano.
in the extreme ends of Atlantic Ocean one Permafrost: is the condition prevailing
near the Norwegian coast and another when water freezes above and below the
at Weddell Sea. Upwelling of cold water ground, (including rock or soil) for more
occurs in the North Pacific Ocean and than two consecutive years
in the Indian Ocean. This cycle of water Trace elements: A chemical element
movement within the Global Ocean is also present in minute amount in a particular
known as Conveyor Belt (Figure 5.20). The sample or environment.
slow, steady and three dimensional flow Isohaline: is an imaginary line drawn to
of water in the conveyor belt distributes join places having equal salinity
dissolved gases and solids, mixes nutrients
Swell: is a type of wind-generated waves
and carries it to various ocean basins.
that is not affected by the local wind.
This cycle provides a stabilizing effect on
Thermohaline circulation: is large
climate of the earth. If it is disturbed, it is
circulation of ocean water due to difference
capable of causing sudden climatic change
in temperature and salinity.
within the period of a few decades. The
conveyor belt is a simplified version of
actual circulation in the oceans.

Evaluation c. Planetary winds
I. Choose the correct d. Revolution of earth
answer 9. ------------- is a warm current
1. River Ganga has its a. Labrador b. Gulf stream
source from -------- c. Oyashio d. Circum polar drift
a. Gangothri glacier b. a spring 10. The only sea surrounded by water all
c. a laked d. a waterfall sides is --------------------------
2. The permeable rocks that can hold a. The Dead Sea
water and allow water to pass through b. The Sargasso Sea
them are called --------. c. The South China Sea
a. Groundwater b. Saturated zone d. The Aral Sea
c. Rock d. Aquifers
3. An -------- is ice floating in open water II. Very short answer
that has broken off from glaciers or
ice shelf. 1. Define Permafrost.
a. Ice shelf b. Ice quake 2. Differentiate High Tide from Low Tide.
c. Iceberg d. Sea ice 3. Define Contiguous Zone.
4. The -------- Ocean is the youngest ocean. 4. Why is the Dead Sea called so?
a. Indian b. Southern 5. How is a tide different from an ocean
c. Arctic d. Atlantic current?
5. Mid oceanic ridges are located on the
-------- plate boundaries III. Short answer
a. Divergent b. Convergent 1. Write a short note on Exclusive
c. Transform d. Subducted Economic Zone.
6. The temperature of the sea surface 2. Distinguish between sea mounts and
is highest not near Equator but few guyots.
degrees -------- of the Equator
3. Write briefly about the Abyssal plain.
a. South b. South east
4. List the factors affecting salinity of a
c. Northeast d. North
7. ------------- waves transmit energy in all
three states of matter 5. Write about the significance of ocean
a. Transverse b. Longitudinal
c. Orbital d. Primary
IV. Detailed answer
8. Tides are caused by -------------
1. Describe the relief of the ocean with
a. Rotation of earth
b. Gravitational pull of moon and sun

2. Explain the factors affecting the
horizontal distribution of ocean References
temperature. 1. Oceanography S. Lal
3. Draw the ocean currents of North 2. Oceanography for Geographers, R.C.
Atlantic Ocean and bring out their Sharma and M.Vatal
influence on climate in North America
and Europe. 3. Oceanography Savindra Singh

4. Describe El Nino and its influence on 4. Oceanography Tamil version Subbiah

Internet Resources
V. Practice
1. Prepare a diorama of the relief of ocean
using available materials and present it
in the class.
2. Prepare a working model of warm and Ocean
cold currents of the world and present
it in the class.
3. Make a model of relief of the Indian https://www.youtube.com/
Ocean and explain to the class. watch?v=q65O3qA0-n4

Ocean Currents Streams and Storms

Observe global Ocean

currents and sea surface
temperature anomaly.

• Use the URL to reach ocean current page.
• Click ‘earth’ option from the left bottom side of the page. Click ‘Play’ button to
start and stop the animation. Use ‘Control’ menu to change the date.
• Select ‘Ocean’ from ‘Mode’ menu and toggle between ‘Currents’ and ‘Wave’ menu
from ‘Animate’ option to observe the global ocean currents.
• Select ‘Currents’ and ‘SST’ or ‘SSTA’ options from ‘Overlay’ menu to observe
temperature anomaly. Roll the globe and zoom in and out to view the animation.

Step 1 Step 2

Step 3 Step 4

Website URL:

Pictures are indicative only.

Unit VI


Chapter Outline
Learning Objectives:
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Composition of the Atmosphere Students must be able to
6.3 Temperature and Heat Budget • Understand the composition and
6.4 Atmospheric Pressure and nature of atmospheric layers.
Winds • Understand the vertical and
6.5 Humidity, Condensation and horizontal distribution of
Clouds temperature in the atmosphere.
6.6 Air Masses and Fronts • Explain the mechanism of formation
6.7 Precipitation of various wind systems of the world.
6.8 Atmospheric Disturbances • Identify various forms and types of
(Cyclone and Anti Cyclone)

6.1 Introduction moisture, cloudiness, precipitation and

other elements. Weather is highly variable
You must have heard people, in the
from time to time, day to day and place to
countryside, saying
place. Weather is not constant. It is always
“When sheep collect and huddle, changing within hours or a day.
Tomorrow will puddle!” On the other hand, climate is the
“If ants march in a straight line, average weather conditions of an area
expect rain” for a long period of time. The World
Phrases like ‘a cold morning’, ‘sunny day’, Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
‘cloudy day’ and rainy day refer to the weather. has suggested data for a period of 30
Weather refers to the state of atmosphere at consecutive years to be referred for
a particular place at any given time denoting calculating the climatic averages of various
the short term variations of atmosphere weather elements. Climate is constant. It
in terms of temperature, pressure, wind, is a permanent condition of a place.

The ancient Greeks called the tilt of
latitude as ‘klima’, literally meaning ‘slope’ 1% Other gases
or ‘inclination’. Then the earth was divided
21% Oxygen
into seven latitudinal regions, called
‘klimata’. The word came into modern 78% Nitrogen
European languages as clime or ‘climate’,
denoting the average weather condition.
Figure 6.1 Components of Atmosphere
6.2 Composition of the Atmosphere
The atmosphere is essential for the surface. Water vapour, aerosols and tiny
survival of all the organisms on the earth. solid particles occur in varying quantities as
The atmosphere is a blanket of gases suspended material. These are responsible
and suspended particles that entirely for weather phenomena as they have ability
envelope the earth. It extends outward over to absorb and release heat energy.
thousands of kilometres from the earth’s

Figure 6.2 Structure of the Atmosphere

The atmosphere is composed of mixture approximately to a height of 8 km from
of many gases, water vapour and other the poles and 18 km from the equator.
solid particles. The major components The height of the troposphere changes
are nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%) and seasonally also. It increases during
other gases (1%). Argon, Carbon dioxide, summer and decreases during winter.
Neon and the other gases found in the All weather phenomena occur in this
atmosphere (Figure 6.1). layer as it has dust particles and water
6.2.1 Layers of the Atmosphere vapour. This layer has clouds which
produce precipitation on the earth. The
The atmosphere is divided into five Sun’s rays directly fall on the earth and
distinct layers (Figure.6.2) based on the then they are reflected back into the
temperature variations. They are, atmosphere. The temperature decreases in
1. Troposphere the troposphere with increase in altitude
2. Stratosphere at the rate of 1 qC for 165 metre or 6.5 qC
3. Mesosphere for every 1000 metres of ascent. This is
known as lapse rate of temperature. This
4. Ionosphere( Thermosphere) and
is the densest layer as it contains 70 to
5. Exosphere
80 percent of gases. The outer boundary
Troposphere of the troposphere is called tropopause,
The troposphere( Figure 6.2) is the lower which is about 1.5 kilmeter thick.
most layer of the atmosphere. It extends

60 mesosphere

upper limit for
military jet aircraft
40 ozone layer
Weather ballons
passenger airplane
thunderstorm cloud 8mi(13km)
up to 8mi(13km)
Mount Everest

Figure 6.3 Stratosphere

Stratosphere to a height of 400 km. The temperature
It is the second layer of the atmosphere increases rapidly up to 1,0008C. It is due
found above the troposphere. It to the absorption of very short wave and
approximately extends up to a height high energy solar radiation by the atoms
of 50 km from the earth’s surface. of hydrogen and oxygen gases. When light
Temperature is constant up to a height of energy is transformed into heat energy,
20 km and increases gradually up to the some gas molecules lose or gain electrons
stratopause where temperature is nearly and become the charged particles called
-4qC. The lower part of this layer is highly ions. The charged particles forming the
concentrated with ozone gas which is lower part of the thermosphere as a zone,
called as ‘ozonosphere’. It prevents the is called Ionosphere (Figure 6.4). These
ultra-violet rays from the Sun to enter ionised particles create auroras at higher
into the lower part of the atmosphere latitudes. Ionosphere can reflect radio
as the rays are highly harmful it causes waves back to the earth. This facilitates long
skin cancer and other ill effects to living distance wireless satellite communication.
organisms. But the ozone layer safeguards The credit of discovering ionosphere goes
the life on the earth. to Hennelly and Heaviside.
Mesosphere Exosphere
The mesosphere is the third layer of the The upper most layer of the atmosphere
atmosphere found approximately up to which extends into the outer space from
a height of 85 km above the surface of above 400 km up to 1600km. It has rarefied
the earth. It is the coldest layer of the contents. It contains mainly oxygen and
atmosphere. The temperature decreases hydrogen atoms. These atoms can travel
with increase of altitude due to the hundreds of kilometres without colliding
absence of ozone. Its upper boundary is with one another. Thus, the exosphere has no
called mesopause where temperature longer behaves like a gas. The temperature
reaches 2908C. Luminous noctilucent increases with increase of altitude and it
clouds form here due to the presence ranges as high as 1650 qC. The gravitational
of cosmic dust. Meteors falling from pull is minimal in this layer. This layer
the space get burned in this layer. It is gradually merges with the space.
because when meteors hit the air, the air
Ozone and Ozone Depletion
gets compressed and heated up causing
meteors to burn out. Ozone (O3) is form of oxygen that
combines three atoms into each molecule.
HOTS It absorbs and filters the harmful
ultraviolet B radiation coming from the
Why is Mesosphere the coldest layer? sun. This way the ozone layer protects all
life on earth. However, ozone is harmful
Ionosphere (Thermosphere) when it develops near the ground. It
causes health problems like asthma and
The ionosphere is the fourth layer of the
other respiratory illness.
atmosphere extending approximately up
above Hubble Space telescope
kilometres 600 km (370 mi)
(km) exosphere




low orbit
space shuttle
185km (115mi)

50 mesosphere

Ozone layer
Figure 6.4 Thermosphere

Ozone Depletion: A steady decline in Ozone depletion occurs when chloro

the concentration of ozone in the earth’s fluoro carbon (CFC) and halon gases,
stratosphere (the ozone layer) is called formerly found in aerosol spray cans
ozone depletion. and refrigerants are released into the

atmosphere and they cause chemical to produce the ozone hole in Antarctic
reactions that break down ozone springtime.
molecules and reduce the concentration of Satellite images of the earth over last
them. Nitrogen oxide released by emitted decades observed that the atmospheric
by supersonic aircrafts can also destroy ozone layer is getting thinner. On October
the ozone molecules to break down. 2, 2015, the ozone hole was recorded to
Ozone-depleting substances are present its maximum size of 28.2 million sq.km
throughout the stratospheric ozone over Antarctica (Figure 6.5). The size of
layer because they are transported great the ozone hole is larger than the size of
distances by atmospheric air motions. continent of North America. The ozone
The severe depletion of the Antarctic holes over Antarctica allow the ultraviolet
ozone layer known as the “ozone hole” radiation to enter and cause global
occurs because of the special atmospheric warming, skin cancer, eye cataract and
and chemical conditions that exist there even blindness.
and nowhere else on the globe. The very Depletion of the ozone layer has
low winter temperatures in the Antarctic consequences on human, animal, plants
stratosphere cause polar stratospheric and micro organisms. This typically
clouds (PSCs) to form. Special reactions results from higher UV levels reaching
that occur on PSCs, combined with the us on earth. Research confirms that high
relative isolation of polar stratospheric levels of UV rays cause non-melanoma
air, allow chlorine and bromine reactions skin cancer.

UV 1. UV causes a
F F chlorine atom
CFC molecule
C C to break way from
the CFC molecule.
Cl Cl Cl Cl

Cl Cl
Cl O Cl
free chlorine O O O O
O free chlorine

O3-ozone ClO2- chlorine O2- oxygen free oxygen CIO-chlorine O2- oxygen
monoxide molecule from stratosphere monoxide molecule

2. The free chorine 3. The chlorine atom 4. A free oxygen atom 5. The result is
atom hits an ozone plus one oxygen atom hits the chlorine another free chlorine
molecule. away. monoxide molecule. atom.
6. Free chlorine will continue to deplete ozone in the stratosphere.

To protect the ozone layer for our Terrestrial radiation supplies more heat
future generation, avoid using products energy to the atmosphere due to its long
which are emitting pollutants such as wave length.
aerosol sprays, blowing agents for foams b. Conduction
and packing materials, as solvents and as
The heat energy from the earth’s surface is
transferred to the lower atmosphere which
is directly in contact with the surface by
The Dobson Unit
the process of conduction.
(DU) is the unit of
measurement for total c. Convection and advection
ozone. The movement of air molecules in vertical
and horizontal direction is called as
‘convection and advection’ respectively. This
movement carries heat energy to the various
parts of the earth and at different altitudes.
Heat budget
The heat energy reflected, absorbed and
radiated back into the space equals the
energy received by the earth. Incoming
radiation and the outgoing radiation
pass through the atmosphere. The earth
maintains its optimum temperature.
When 100% solar radiation reaches
the earth’s atmosphere, 35% is reflected
back to space by clouds, water bodies and
Figure 6.5 Spread of Ozone hole ice covered areas. This heat does not heat
either the earth or atmosphere.
6.3 Temperature and Heat Budget Of the remaining 65% of heat, 14%
Air temperature of a particular place are absorbed by the atmosphere and
denotes the degree of hotness or coldness 51%  are absorbed by the earth’s surface
of air at a given place. It is measured in (34% of direct solar radiation and 17%
Celsius. Let us understand how the earth from scattered radiation). 51% received
is heated. The surface of the earth is by the earth are radiated back to the
heated by the sun’s rays in the form of space directly as terrestrial radiation
short wave radiation. The heat received (Figure  6.6).
by the earth is called ‘Solar Radiation’ or In total, 17% are radiated to space
‘Insolation’. Heating of atmosphere is an directly and 48% are absorbed by the
indirect process. The processes are: atmosphere ( 14% from insolation and 34%
from terrestrial radiation) are radiated
a. Terrestrial radiation
back to space gradually. Therefore, 65%
The solar radiation reflected by the earth’s heat received from the sun is balanced
surface is called ‘Terrestrial radiation’.
65 units radiated back to space 35 units lost even before reaching
(34+14 radiated by atmosphere the earth’s surface Albedo
+17 by land of earth
bed 6 + 27 + 2
its absor Reflected by
34 u osphere
17 radiated to space
at m rbe
by so
ab ere
ts h
uni osp
14 atm
Total 100 units of heat received from sun

51 units absorbed
by Earth’s surface
Heat Budget
Figure 6.6 Heat Budget

by the 65% radiated by the earth. This

balance between the incoming and the The average time
outgoing heat energy is called the global taken by the solar
heat energy balance. radiation to reach
the earth’s surface is
Distribution of Temperature 8 minutes 20 seconds.
Distribution of temperature varies both
horizontally and vertically. Let us study it 6.3.1 Factors Affecting the Horizontal
under Distribution of Temperature
a. Horizontal Distribution of
The horizontal distribution of temperature
on the earth’s surface varies from place to
b. Vertical Distribution of Temperature place. Following are the factors affecting
A) Horizontal Distribution of the horizontal distribution of temperature
Temperature of the earth:
Distribution of temperature across the a. Latitude: The angle formed by the
latitudes over the surface of the earth solar radiation to the ground is
is called horizontal distribution of called ‘angle of incidence’. The solar
temperature. On maps, the horizontal radiation passes vertically along
distribution of temperature is commonly the equator. The angle of incidence
shown by isotherms. Isotherms are line decreases from equator towards the
connecting points that have an equal poles. The area heated by the solar
temperature at mean sea level. radiation increases towards the poles
and therefore, temperature decreases
from the equator to the poles.

b. Distribution of land and water: Land of land cover. The more reflection
is heated and cooled at a faster rate from the snow surface leads to low
due the conduction process whereas temperature accumulation. But the
water is heated and cooled at slower dense forest, which reflects less heat
rate due to convection process. Water energy and absorbs more heat energy,
takes 2.5 times of heat energy to heat leads to higher temperature.
a unit area compared to land. Thus, g. Mountain barriers: If a wind or air
the land will have higher temperature mass blows towards the mountain,
than the water in summer and vice it influences the distribution of
versa during the winter. So more temperature on either side of the
land mass in northern hemisphere mountain.
(15.28C) leads to higher average For example, polar easterlies and blizzards
temperature than the southern are obstructed by Himalayas in Asia and
hemisphere (13.38C). Alps in Europe respectively. This leads to
c. Ocean currents: Warm ocean lower temperature in the northern slopes
currents carry warm water from the and higher temperature in the southern
tropical region towards the poles slopes of the respective mountains.
and increase the temperature while
cold ocean currents carry cold water 6.3.2 Factors Affecting the Vertical
from Polar Regions and reduce the Distribution of Temperature
temperature along the coasts. We all know that the temperature
d. Prevailing winds: Warm winds like decreases with increasing altitude from
trade wind and westerly, that carry the surface of the earth. The vertical
higher heat energy, increase the decrease in temperature of troposphere is
temperature while cold polar easterlies called as ‘Normal Lapse Rate’ or ‘vertical
carry lower heat energy from polar temperature (Figure 6.7) gradient’ at
region reduces the temperature. which the temperature reduces at the rate
e. Cloudiness: The cloudy sky obstructs of 6.5 8C per 1000 meter of ascent. This is
the solar radiation from the sun to influenced by the following factors:
earth and reduces the temperature. a. Amount of terrestrial radiation
But the clear sky during the day reaching the altitude and
allows more solar radiation to reach b. Density of air to absorb the heat
the earth’s surface and increases energy at higher altitude.
the temperature. Meanwhile clear As both the above said factors decrease with
sky at night allows more terrestrial altitude, the temperature also decreases
radiation to escape. For example, (Figure 6.5).
the tropical hot deserts experience
higher temperature at day and lower
temperature at night.
f. Nature of the surface: The reflection
from surface varies based on the nature

c. Dry air near the surface: the dry air
Cold air absorbs less terrestrial radiation and
Warm air
allows them to escape into space.
d. Snow covered ground: During night,
Warm air Cold air Sm
og due to terrestrial radiation and higher
albedo, most of the heat is lost to the
Normal Condition Temperature Inversion
atmosphere and the surface is cooled.
Typical Temperature profile Inversion Temperature profile e. Formation of fronts: the movement of
00C 00C
warm air over the cold air during the
formation of the various fronts leads

to inversion condition.
f. Mountain wind: The subsidence
of cold mountain wind at the early
Air Temperature Air Temperature
morning leads to the displacement
Figure 6.7 Vertical distribution of of warm air from the valley to higher
Temperature altitude. This type of inversion is
called as ‘valley inversion’.
Student Activity
Albedo is the amount
If the temperature of Chennai (7  m)
of solar radiation
is 348C, calculate the temperature of
reflected from the
Kodaikanal (2133m) using normal
surface. The variation
lapse rate.
is based on the nature of the earth’s
surface. Snow has higher albedo
6.3.3 Inversion of Temperature
compared to forest.
The condition at which the temperature
increases with altitude is called as 6.3.4 Measurements of Temperature
‘inversion of temperature’. In this
Unit of
condition, warm air lies over cold air. Scientist Year
The conditions for inversion of Fahrenheit Gabriel Fahrenheit 1714
temperature are: Celsius Andrew Celsius 1742
a. Long winter nights: The bottom layer Kelvin Lord Kelvin 1848
of the atmosphere in contact with the
ground is cooled and the upper layer
remains relatively warm.
b. Cloudless sky: The higher amount
of terrestrial radiation reaches the
higher altitude which leads to lower
temperature at low level due to clear

rZ one
C ircle
te Zon
p era
Tropic o
SUN f cancer
r Z one
Tropic o Tr
f Capric
te Zon
p era
Antarc Tem
tic Cir
rZ one

Figure 6.8 Heat Zones

‘Torrid zone’ (Figure 6.8). The sun’s rays

Conversion of Units are vertical throughout the year and it
Celsius to Fahrenheit Ex. 208C, receives maximum insolation. Thus, this
is the hottest zone.
F 5 (C 3 1.8) 1 32 F 5 (20 3 1.8)
1 32, Temperate Zone (23 ½ 8N to 66 ½ 8N
F 5 36 1 32, and 23 ½ 8S to 66 ½ 8S)
F 5 68 The temperate zone lies between the
Tropic of Cancer and Arctic Circle in
Celsius to Kelvin Ex.208C, the northern hemisphere and the Tropic
K 5 C 1 273.15 k K 5 208 1 273.15k, of Capricorn and Antarctic circle in
K 5 293.150k the southern hemisphere. This region
never experiences over head sun light
6.3.5 Heat Zones of the World but experiences longer days and shorter
nights during summer and vice versa
The earth has been divided into three heat during winter. This region experiences
zones according the amount of insolation moderate temperature and is therefore
received. These are the Torrid Zone, the called as ‘Temperate zone’.
Temperate zone and the Frigid Zone.
Polar Zone (Frigid Zone – 66 ½ 8N to
Torrid Zone ( 23 ½ 8N to 23 ½ 8S)
908N and 66 ½ 8S to 908S )
The zone lying between the Tropic of
cancer and Tropic of Capricorn is called
The region between North pole and Global Warming
Arctic Circle in the northern hemisphere Global warming is observed in a
and South pole and Antarctic Circle in the centuryscale. The temperature increase
southern hemisphere is called ‘Polar Zone’. over the years has been due to the greenhouse
This region always receives more oblique gas concentration such as carbon dioxide
rays of the sun and so the temperature (CO2), water vapour, methane and ozone.
is very low. It is the coldest zone. This Greenhouse gases are those gases that
region experiences 24 hours of day and contribute to the greenhouse effect. The
night during peak summer and winter largest contributing source of greenhouse
respectively. gas is the burning of fossil fuels leading
to the emission of carbon dioxide from
Annual Temperature : industries, automobiles and domestic.
The average annual
6.3.6 Urban Heat Island (UHI)
temperature of a region
for a year.
Mean Annual Temperature: The 32.8
average of 30 years of annual 31.7
temperature of the region. 30.6
Range of Temperature: Difference 29.4
between highest and lowest 0
Urban Suburban
temperature of a place. Rural Commercial
Suburban Residential Residential
Downtown Park
Annual Range of Temperature: The
difference between highest and lowest Figure 6.9 Urban Heat Island
temperature of a place in a year. An urban heat island is an urban area or
Diurnal range of Temperature: The metropolitan area that is significantly warmer
difference between highest temperature than its surrounding rural area due to high
and lowest temperature of a place in a day. concentration of high rise concrete buildings,
metal roads, sparse vegetation cover and less
exposure of soil. These factors cause urban
From the above discussion, it is clear that
regions to become warmer than their rural
the energy for the earth is from the sun.
surroundings, forming an “island” of higher
Green House Effect: As seen in the
temperatures (Figure. 6.9).
heat budget, the longer wavelengths are
Ways to reduce the impact of urban
absorbed by greenhouse gases in the
heat island:
atmosphere, increases the temperature of
atmosphere. These greenhouse gases act 1. Increase shade around your home:
like a green house and retains some of the Planting trees and other vegetation,
heat energy would otherwise be lost to provides shade and cooling effect
space. The retaining of heat energy by the through evapotranspiration and it
atmosphere is called the ‘greenhouse effect’. lowers the surface and air temperature.
2. Install green and cool roofs.

January July
1020 High

10 04

101 India



Low High 1016

Indian Ocean Indian Ocean

Figure 6.11 Location of High pressure and Low pressure in winter and summer

3. Use energy-efficient appliances and amount of pressure increases or decreases,

equipments. according to the amount of molecules, that
4. Shift all industries away from the exerts the force on the surface.
urban area. When temperature of the air increases,
5. Reduce emission from automobiles. the air expands and reduces the number
of molecules over the unit area. It leads
6.4 Atmospheric Pressure and Winds to reduction in pressure. Similarly, when
Atmospheric pressure is defined as the force the temperature falls, the air contracts
per unit area exerted against a surface by the and the pressure increase. Therefore, the
weight of the air molecules above the earth temperature and atmospheric pressure are
surface. In the Figure below (Figure 6.10), the inversely related.
pressure at point ‘X’ increases as the weight of Atmospheric pressure is measured by
the air increases. The atmospheric pressure is an instrument called ‘Barometer’
not distributed uniformly over the earth. The
6.4.1 Vertical Distribution of
Top of the Atmosphere Atmospheric Pressure
The relationship analysis between
Weight of the air in the column
applles a pressure to point ‘X’ altitude and atmospheric pressure is
very peculiar. The upper atmosphere
is thin and less dense. The pressure at
sea level is highest and keeps decreasing
rapidly with increasing altitude because
Unit Area
of the progressive reduction of the mass
Figure 6.10 Atmospheric Pressure

Altitude in m Atmospheric pressure in m b
Isobar is an imaginary
Sea level 1013.25
line connecting the
1,000 898.76
places of uniform
2,000 795.01
atmospheric pressure
3,000 701.01
reduced to mean sea level 4,000 616.60
5,000 540.48
above the point where it is measured
10,000 264.0
(Figure 6.12).
Relationship between Standard
Pressure and Altitude Brain Storming
People feel discomfort to breathe
look at how few
atmos are pressing lower
when they go to the places of higher
down on the guy at
the top of the
pressure altitude (mountain sickness). Why?

6.4.2 Horizontal Distribution of the

Atmospheric Pressure
When the air gets heated it expands,
becomes light and rises vertically. As air
look at all the
atoms pressing
rises, the pressure it exerts on the earth
down on the guy
at the bottom of
surface is reduced, causing a low pressure
the mountain
pressure area (Figure 6.13).
On the other hand, cool air is dense
Figure 6.12 Relationship between
altitude and pressure and heavy. As a consequence it sinks

(B) July



Figure 6.13 Horizontal distribution of temperature

6.4.3 Pressure Belts of the Earth

Coriolis Effect
The atmospheric pressure belts envelope on
The rotation of the earth affects the the surface of the earth. They are equatorial
moving objects on the earth surface. low pressure belt, sub tropical high pressure
Free moving objects, affected by the belts, sub polar low pressure belts and polar
rotation of the earth, do not follow high pressure belts (Figure 6.13).
a straight line. In the northern
hemisphere they drift towards right 6.4.4 Wind Systems
and towards left in the southern
Wind is the horizontal movement of air
hemisphere. A car travelling down
molecules from areas of high pressure
a straight road at 95 km/hr in
to areas of low pressure to maintain
northern hemisphere would drift to
the atmospheric equilibrium. The wind
the right of the path if the friction
always moves perpendicular to isobars. If
between surface and tyre is absent.
the earth did not rotate, the winds would
The tendency is called as Coriolis
blow in a straight path. Then the rotation
Effect as it was discovered by
of the earth results in corilois effect and it
G.G. Coriolis. This is the reason why
deflects the direction of the wind. Wind
racket launching stations are located
direction is identified by an instrument
on the east coastal areas. Example:
called Wind Vane and wind speed is
Sriharihota, French Guyana.
measured by Anemometer.
vertically. It results in additional weight Types of Winds
and pressure which cause a high pressure Winds are classified based on the nature
area to occur on the ground. and area of influence as follows;

Classification of Winds

Surface winds High Altitude winds

Jet streams

Primary winds (Global Secondary winds / Tertiary winds /

winds / Planetary winds / (Seasonal winds / Periodic Local Winds
Permanent winds) Winds / Regional winds)

Trade winds, Westerlies, Monsoons, Cyclones 1. Sea Breeze and Land

Polar Easterlies Breeze
2. Mountain and valley
3. Cold and warm wind
Low Low
Low Polar easterlies 600
Polar front
High High High High 300 High
Horse latitudes

Ne Trade winds
Low Low Low Equatorial doldrums (ITCZ) Low 0 Low
Low Rays

SE Trade winds

High High Horse latitudes High 300

High Prevailing High
Low Polar front Low 600
Polar easterlies
Low Low

Figure 6.14 Pressure Belts and Primary Winds

6.4.5 General Atmospheric Circulation, totally there are seven belts on the globe.
Pressure Belts and Primary Wind The pressure belts lead to formation
System of primary wind system as follows
From the equator to the poles, each (Figure 6.14):
hemisphere has four pressure belts and a. The equatorial low pressure belt
(between 58oN and 58oS): This
is the region of calm, weak and left in northern hemisphere and
changeable winds. Due to the high southern hemisphere respectively.
temperature over this region, the c. The sub polar low pressure belt (50o
air gets heated expands and become to 60o N and S): The warm westerly
lighter and rises upward and creates wind from sub tropical region moves
low pressure over the region. This towards the pole and collide with the
region is a belt of calm and referred cold polar easterly wind from polar
to as the ‘Doldrums’. The winds blow high pressure region and raises up to
from the sub tropical high pressure form sub polar low pressure belt.
belt towards the equatorial low d. Polar high pressure belt (80o N
pressure belt. Due to Coriolis Effect and S to pole): The constant low
these winds are deflected to the right temperature at the poles due to
in the northern hemisphere and to inclined solar radiation and reduced
the left in the southern hemisphere. insolation leads to the formation of
As  winds are named after the polar high pressure belt on both poles.
direction from which they originate
they are called as the North East and
Ocean is dominant
South east trade winds. As the winds
in the southern
favoured trading ships they are called
hemisphere between
as ‘Trade winds’.
the latitudes 40º
b. The sub tropical high pressure belt and 60ºS. Hence the westerlies are
(25o to 35o N and S): Air begins to so powerful and persistent that the
cool when it reaches higher altitude sailors used such expressions as
over equatorial region and flows “Roaring Forties”, “Furious Fifties”
towards the poles. This wind collides and “Screeching Sixties” for these
with the wind coming from the polar high velocity winds in the latitudes of
region at higher altitude and subsides 40º, 50º and 60º respectively.
down over sub tropical latitudes. This
leads to formation of high pressure The high pressure on the surface always
belt along the sub tropical region. coincide with the low pressure at higher
It is said that to avoid the slowing altitude while the low pressure on the
down of ship due to high pressure the surface always coincide with higher
horses were thrown into the sea. So pressure on the higher altitude. High
this belt is called as ‘Horse latitude’. pressure always has divergence of air
The sinking air bifurcated in to two masses from the centre but low pressure
branches towards the equator and has convergence of air.
poles, they are called as trade winds
and westerly respectively. Westerlies 6.4.6 Basis of Formation of Pressure
flow towards the pole from sub Belts
tropics and turn towards right and There are two important bases on which
the pressure belts are formed. They are;

more heat energy to space during winter
leading to the formation of high pressure If any wind system
above the continent. But the ocean will has all the above
have relatively higher temperature than mentioned characters
the continent leading to formation of of monsoon in one
low pressure system over ocean. So, wind season but absence of at least one
blows from land to sea during the winter in the other season then is called as
season. This mechanism has an important ‘Pseudo monsoon’. The other names
effect on rainfall received over the region. are ‘Monsoon tendency’ or ‘false
Nature of Monsoon System
There are three distinct characteristics
related to monsoon wind system which Monsoon system is classified into two
differentiates it from other wind systems. groups based on the location. They are;
They are; a. Asian Monsoon
1. Minimum 1608 reversal of wind b. South Asian Monsoon
direction between seasons. a. Asian Monsoon
2. They affect a large part of the continents The Asian monsoon system is divided into
and oceans. two components based on season it flows.
3. The formation of low and high pressure The presence of high temperature with
systems over land and water and their low pressure in the lake Baikal region and
interchange between the seasons. low temperature with high pressure in the
Aleutian islands region leading to flow of
wind from Pacific Ocean to interior part
of Asia during summer is called ‘Summer

Not to scale Not to scale

Figure 6.16 South Asia Monsoon

Monsoon of Asia’. This leads to rainfall in and rises over it. The orographic effect by
the east coast of Asia. the Western Ghats results in heavy rainfall
Meanwhile, in winter the low temperature in the windward side and low rainfall in
and high pressure in the Lake Baikal region the leeward side. So the west coast of India
and high temperature and low pressure receives high rainfall when compared to the
in the Aleutian Island region leading to eastern side of the Western Ghats. Kerala
flow of wind from Central Asia to Pacific is the first state to receive rainfall from
Ocean is known as ‘Winter Monsoon of the south west monsoon in India, which
Asia’. As the wind system flows off shore, occurs during first week of June. Then, the
the rainfall does not occur in the continent wind gradually moves towards the north
of Asia except western coast of Japan. of the western coast and leads to gradual
development of the monsoon in parts of
b. South Asian Monsoon
Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat
South Asian Monsoon includes the and Rajasthan. The wind further advances
countries in the southern part of towards foot hill of the Himalayas and
Himalayas, that is India, Pakistan, creates orographic rainfall in the Himalayan
Bangladesh, Sri lanka, Maldives, Nepal states, Punjab and Haryana. The other part
and Bhutan. This monsoon system has of the Arabian Sea branch moves towards
been classified into two groups based on the east and results in onset of monsoon
the direction of origin of wind namely in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Here, it unites
south west monsoon and north east with the Bay of Bengal branch and leads to
monsoon (Figure 6.16). heavy rainfall and flood.
South West Monsoon Bay of Bengal Branch
During summer the Indian peninsula is Bay of Bengal branch flows from south west
heated more than the sea around it. Intense which results in orographic rainfall in Sri
low pressure is formed in the region of Lanka and reaches Andaman and Nicobar
Peshawar of Pakistan. At the same time, Islands and results in orographic rainfall.
the Indian Ocean has higher pressure due Indira point in the Great Nicobar is the first
to relatively low temperature. So the wind place which receives rainfall during south
blows from Indian Ocean towards South west monsoon in India during middle of
Asia as Southeast Winds. The wind turns May. The wind flows parallel to the east coast
towards right due to Coriolis Effect and of India and Eastern Ghats. So Coromandel
blows as south west winds which bring Coast of India doesn’t get enough rainfall
heavy rains around four months of the during south west monsoon. The wind
year. This is known as south west monsoon strikes Arakanyoma Mountain in Myanmar
in Indian Sub continent. This wind system and results in heavy rainfall in western coast
bifurcates into two branches as Arabian of Myanmar. The wind funnels towards
Sea branch and Bay of Bengal branch. north eastern part of India after deflected
Arabian Sea Branch by the Arakanyoma Mountain in Myanmar.
The Arabian Sea branch strikes the This wind strikes Meghalaya plateau which
Western Ghats at perpendicular direction leads to heavy rainfall in Bangladesh and

North eastern part of India. Mawsynram, The south west monsoon gradually
the wettest place (highest annual rainfall) in withdraws from south Asian continent due
the world, is located in the windward side of to apparent movement of the Sun towards
Meghalaya plateau. the southern hemisphere. This is called as
The wind further advances towards ‘Withdrawal of South West Monsoon’.
the Himalayas where it creates heavy North East Monsoon
rainfall in the southern slopes. This leads During winter the Indian Subcontinent
to flood in River Brahmaputra. The wind becomes colder than the Indian Ocean.
gradually moves towards the west and As a result the wind blows from Northeast
results in onset of monsoon in Bhutan, to South West direction. This is dry wind
Sikkim, West Bengal, Nepal and Bihar. It system and it does not produce rainfall in
joins with Arabian Sea branch in Bihar the coastal region of south Asia except the
and results in heavy rainfall and flood. Coromandel Coast of India and Sri Lanka.

Mawsynram, world’s wettest place!

‘’It was the kind of rain you wouldn’t see anywhere else. We could barely see four feet
ahead of us. We could touch the clouds, smell the clouds, and taste the clouds’’ said a
local resident. Yes, it is about Mawsynram which is located in Meghalaya’s East Khasi
Hills, with the cluster of about 1,000 homes. It holds the Guinness Record for “the
wettest place on earth”. The average annual rainfall is 11,861mm, according to the
Guinness website.

However, the soil in the limestone plateau doesn’t absorb water. “There is barely
any forest cover, so a lot of erosion of top soil happens. All of it flows down into
Bangladesh. The irony is that “the wettest place on earth” grapples with an acute water
shortage after monsoon ends around October. Hence, people call world’s rainiest
place Mawsynram, which is also world’s wettest desert.

H Warm L Cool
Cool Warm

Figure 6.17 Sea breeze and Land breeze

This is known as North East Monsoon or

Retreating Monsoon in South Asia. Sea breeze and land
breeze influence the
Agriculture in India mostly depends
movement of boats
on the rainfall brought by the monsoons.
near the coastal
During the El Nino year the temperature region and fisher men use these
of the ocean water increases. This weakens winds for their daily fish catching.
the high pressure over Indian Ocean thereby Fishermen go for fishing at early
reduces the strength of south west monsoon morning along the land breeze and
over south Asia. However during winter, return to the shore in the evening
it induces the low pressure over the ocean with the sea breeze.
resulting in severe depressions and cyclones.
Mountain and Valley Breezes
6.4.9 Tertiary Winds
A valley breeze develops during the day
The tertiary winds are formed due to pressure as the sun heats the land surface and air at
gradients which may develop on a local the valley bottom and sides. As the air gets
scale because of differences in the  heating
and cooling of the earth’s surface. Mountain and valley
Sea and Land Breezes wind systems influence
the weather pattern of
During daytime, land heats up much faster
the mountain top and
than water. The air over the land warms
valley bottom. Mountain top can be
and expands leading to form low pressure.
seen clearly at early morning and valley
At the same time, the air over the ocean
bottom at evening. But mountain top
becomes cool because of water’s slower
will be covered with clouds at evening
rate of heating and results in formation
due to rising of valley wind system and
of high pressure. Air begins to blow
valley bottom would be covered by
from high pressure over ocean to the low
clouds at early morning due to arrival
pressure over the land. This is called as
of mountain wind system. These clouds
‘Sea breeze’. During night time, the wind
are sometimes called as ‘fog’ which is
blows from land to sea and it is called as
used for cultivation in the dry regions
‘Land breeze’ (Figure 6.17).
like Yemen.

Cold Cold


Cold Warm


Figure 6.18 Mountain and Valley breeze


Chinook Helm
Nor’easter Bora
NORTH Blizzards
Levant Etesians ASIA
Norther Fohn
Pampero Brickfielder

Not to scale

Figure 6.19 Local winds of the world

heated it becomes less dense and begins Fohn: Warm dry southerly off the
to blow gently up the valley sides. This is northern side of the Alps and Switzerland.
called as ‘valley wind’. This process reverses Harmattan: Dry northerly wind across
at night leading to blow of wind from central Africa
mountain top to valley bottom referred to Karaburan: ‘Black storm’ a spring and
as ‘mountain wind’ (Figure 6.18). summer katabatic wind of central Asia
Local Winds Khamsin: South easterly from North
Local wind systems influence the weather Africa to the eastern Mediterranean
pattern where ever they blow (Figure 6.19). Loo: Hot and dry wind which blows
Some important local winds are; over plains of India and Pakistan.
Bora: North easterly from eastern Mistral: Cold northerly from central
Europe to north eastern Italy France and the Alps to Mediterranean.
Chinook: Warm dry westerly off the
Rocky Mountains

they are called as ‘Circum polar wind system’ cyclones formed over Mediterranean
(Figure 6.20). Sea during winter towards India.
Although the jet streams flow at higher These  clouds piles up on the
altitude they also influences the surface Himalayas and results in rainfall over
weather pattern of the Earth. the states of Punjab and Haryana. This
assists in the cultivation of wheat in
Jet streams were India.
discovered during the 6. Development of super cyclone: The
Second World War condition at which the speed of the
as the jet pilots felt jet stream is transferred to tropical
the strong obstruction in the higher cyclone may leads to development of
altitudes. super cyclone.

The Major impacts of Jet streams 6.5 Humidity, Condensation and

1. Creation of Polar vortex: Polar Clouds
westerly jet stream will carry cold Humidity is the amount of water vapour
polar air masses towards temperate in the atmosphere. Temperature of the
region which creates severe cold waves air controls the capacity of the air to
in North America and Eurasia during hold moisture. The maximum amount of
winter. moisture that can be hold by the air in the
2. Sudden burst of South west monsoon: particular temperature is called as Humidity
Sudden withdrawal of polar westerly Capacity. As the volume increases with the
jet stream from Indian sub continent temperature of the air, it can hold more
to northern part of Pamir, leads to moisture. So, humidity capacity increases
sudden burst of South west monsoon with temperature. It is measured as weight
into Indian Sub continent. of humidity or volume of the air.
3. Late and early monsoon in South Humidity of the air can be expressed in
Asia: Rate of with drawl of polar the following ways.
westerly jet stream decides the onset of a. Absolute Humidity: This measures
south west monsoon. Slower and faster the total amount of water vapour
rate of with drawl leads to late and present in the air at particular time.
early onset of south west monsoon. It is highly variable based on the
4. Intensity of monsoon rainfall: The surface on which the air moves. It
arrival of tropical easterly jet stream is measured as weight of humidity/
influences the intensity of south west volume of the air.
monsoon. This leads to increasing
intensity of rainfall during south west
Hygrometer is used to
measure the relative
5. Bringing rainfall to India by western
humidity of a region.
disturbances: Polar westerly jet
stream carries rainy clouds from
b. Relative Humidity (RH %): This
is the ratio of Absolute humidity
and humidity capacity in term of WARM
percentage. It reveals the condition of AIR
air to get saturated. This is controlled COLD
by both temperature and moisture
content of the air. The condition is
that when the temperature increases
RH% decreases. But when absolute
humidity increases RH% increases.

6.5.1 Process of Condensation

Condensation is the change of the Figure 6.21 Process of Condensation
physical state of water vapour (gas
state) into water (liquid state). The Student Activity
following process explains mechanism of
The cup filled with ice cubes has tiny
condensation in the atmosphere.
water droplets on its outer surface
If an air reaches 100% relative (Figure 6.21). Identify why.
humidity, it means that the air is
completely filled with moisture content.
It indicates that both the absolute The moisture in the atmosphere is
humidity and the humidity capacity of based on the following processes:
the air are in same level. This condition a. Evaporation – Water changes
is called ‘saturation of air’ which can be from liquid state to gaseous
attained by reducing the temperature (vapour) state.
of the air or increasing the moisture b. Transpiration – Water state changes
content.  The  temperature at which the from liquid in to (gas) vapour state
air gets saturated is called as ‘dew point’. due to the activity of plants.
The RH crosses the 100% when the
c. Evapotranspiration – This
temperature of the air drops below its dew
denotes that the total amount
point. This condition is called as ‘super
of (liquid) water state changed
saturation’ of the air. In this condition
in to (gas) vapour state due to
the air releases  the excess  moisture out
evaporation and the activity of
of it in the form of tiny water droplets
plants transpiration.
which  floats and  form  clouds in the
6.5.2 Clouds and its Types
If the same process occurs on the
Clouds are tiny water droplets suspended
surface of the earth, it is called as ‘fog’ or
in the air formed due to the condensation.
cloud on the ground.

Common types of clouds in the troposphere

Cirrocumulus aabove
b 5,486 metres
ove 5,486 me
(mackeral sky)
above 5,486 metres

A ltostratu
0996 m
1,828-6,096 e
1,828-6,096 metres

Stratocumulus Cumulus
Below 1,828 metres Stratus Below 1,828 metres
Below 1,828 metres

Figure 6.22 Types of Clouds

iv. Altocumulus (Alt-Cu): These are

Isonephs – The imaginary line woolly, bumpy clouds arranged
connecting the places having equal in layers appearing like waves in
amount of cloudiness. the blue sky. They indicate fine
The clouds can be classified based on their
v. Altostratus (Alt-St): These are
form, height and appearance as follows:
denser and have watery look.
(Figure 6.22)
c. Low Clouds: Mainly Stratus or sheet
a. High clouds: Mainly cirrus (Ci)
clouds below 2 km height.
which are feathery form at 6 km above
the ground. vi. Stratocumulus (St-Cu): This is
rough and bumpy clouds with wavy
i. Cirrus (Ci) – This looks fibrous
and appears as wisps cotton in the
blue sky. It indicates fair weather vii. Stratus (St): This is very low cloud,
and gives brilliant sun set. uniformly grey and thick, appears
like highland fog. It brings dull
ii. Cirro Cumulus (Cc) – This appears
weather and light drizzle. It reduces
as white globular masses, forming
the visibility and is a hindrance to
a mackerel sky.
air transportation.
iii. Cirro Stratus (Cs) – This resembles
viii. Nimbostratus (Ni-St): This is dark
a thin white sheet. The sky looks
dull cloud, clearly layered, as it
milky and the sun and moon shines
brings rain, snow and sleet and it is
through this clouds and form a ‘halo’.
called as rainy cloud.
b. Middle Clouds: Mainly Alto (Alt)
d. Clouds with vertical extent: These
clouds at 2 km to 6 km above the
are mainly cumulus clouds whose



Percolation Lake
Water Streamflow

Groundwater flow

Figure 6.24 Hydrological cycle

heights extend from 2 km to 10 km

ix. Cumulus (Cu): This is vertical
cloud with rounded top and
horizontal base, associated with
convectional process in the
tropical region. It also called as
‘fair weather cloud’.
x. Cumulonimbus (Cu-Ni): This
is over grown cumulus cloud
Figure 6.23 Smog at New Delhi
with great vertical extent, with
black and white globular mass.
The cauliflower top spreads like Student Activity
an anvil. This is formed due to Collect the information regarding the
heavy convection in the tropical smog in the cities of London (Great
regions. It is accompanied by London Smog), Bhopal, Beijing and
lightning,  thunder and heavy New Delhi.
rainfall. Identify the precautionary steps to
be followed in the regions of smog.

6.5.3 Fog, Mist and Smog which is more hazardous to the health
• ‘Fog’ is defined as almost microscopic of the people.
droplets of water condensed from 6.5.4 Hydrological Cycle
super saturated air and suspended over
or near the surface of the earth. Fogs Continuous movement of water among the
reduce the visibility to less than 1 km. three spheres is known as Hydrological
Fog occurs during calm or light wind Cycle. Hydrological cycle involves
conditions. It is more common in the evaporation, condensation, precipitation,
areas near to the ocean due to the supply advection, interception, evapo-
of more moisture by sea breeze. In the transpiration, infiltration, percolation
interior of the continents fog is formed and runoff to the ocean (Figure 6.24).
due to reduction of temperature to Evaporation is the process by
extreme low during the winter nights. which water in liquid state changes into
vapour state using heat energy from
• If the fog has higher visibility due to
Sun. Evaporation is maximum when the
lesser water drops near the surface it is
temperature is high, on the large expanse
termed as ‘mist’.
of water and when dry winds blow over
• In large industrial areas the air is more water surface.
polluted. If the fog forms in that area Condensation is the process by which
it mixes with the pollutants and turns water vapour cools to form water droplet
into smog (smoke 1 fog 5 smog) by loosing temperature. The condensation
occurs when dew point is reached in the


Not to scale

Figure 6.25 Types of air masses

Warm air
Cold air Warm air

Cold air

Figure 6.26 Types of fronts

Precipitation is the process by which Sahara desert, Siberia, the Great Plain
all forms of water particles fall from the of North America, Northern Plain of
atmosphere and reach the ground. Europe, Western Australia, Antarctica,
Green Land, Arctic Ocean, Northern and
The rain drop Southern Pacific, Atlantic Oceans are
that falls may get favourable locations as source region for
evaporated before it air masses.
reaches the ground in
6.6.1 The air masses can be classified
an extremely arid region.
based on the following factors;
a. Latitude - Tropical(T) and Polar (P)
6.6 Air Masses and Fronts air masses
The study of air mass is very important b. Nature of the surface – Continent (c)
part of Meteorology. Air always takes and marine (m) air masses
some of the properties of the area over c. Temperature – warm (w) and Cold (k)
which it lies. This parcel of air may remain air masses
stationary for several days and develops d. Stability – stable (s) and unstable (u)
its own characteristics. Under this air masses
situation, the air becomes recognisable as
Air masses normally migrate from their
an air mass.
source region to other regions, which have
An air mass is defined as ‘an immense different surface properties, mostly along
body of air several kilometres in length with primary winds. As the air masses move
and breadth and thickness which is out from their source regions, they not only
characterised by homogeneous physical modify the weather of the areas they occupy,
properties (like temperature, moisture) in but also modify themselves according to
horizontal direction at any level’. the surface over which it moves.
Such an extensive portion of the
surface area over which air mass has 6.6.2 Fronts
acquired its qualities is called as ‘Air
mass source region’. The source region When two air masses with different
may be land or water body. For example, physical characters meet, there is usually

the earth. In order to fall as rain drop or Fact File
snow, the tiny drop lets in a cloud must
Cloud Seeding or Artificial
grow larger. The droplets accumulate
over the nuclei and combine to grow large
enough to fall and reach the surface of the People have always wanted to create
earth due to gravity. rain, so that they would not suffer from
drought. Modern science has been
If the drop is smaller it falls slowly so that
successful in causing rain in a limited
it evaporates before it reaches the ground.
way through cloud seeding. This
Ice crystals in cloud also cause precipitation.
method is based on the knowledge of
Each ice crystal grows by cooling so that they
growing ice crystals in clouds.
become large in size and fall to the ground.
They melt on the way due to friction with One method to cause rainfall from
the atmosphere and fall as rain. clouds is to introduce particles of dry
ice (solid CO2) into the cloud from
6.7.1 Forms of Precipitation an air plane. The dry ice causes ice
The precipitation has various forms crystals to form in the cloud. These
based on the condition of occurrence ice crystals coalesce, grow, melt and
(Figure 6.27). The various forms are; fall as rain. Cloud seeding will not be
successful unless the cloud is already
Rainfall: When water droplets of
saturated with water vapour.
more than 0.5 mm diameter falls from
the atmosphere to the ground it is called
as ‘Rainfall’. If the diameter is less than Snow: Precipitation occurs at below
0.5mm, it is called as ‘Drizzle’. freezing point and falls as thin ice flakes
or powdery ice, called as ‘Snow’.
COLD AIR Dew: Condensation of water droplets
WARM AIR on the objects at the surface of the earth
(above freezing)

such as leaves and grasses are called

as ‘Dew’.

6.7.2 Types of Precipitation (Rainfall):

Figure 6.27 Form of precipitation
Precipitation can be classified based on
Hail: When precipitation occurs at the causes for the rising up of air,
sub zero temperature, the water droplets 1. Convectional rainfall
crystallise and fall as ice pellets with the 2. Orographic or Relief rainfall
size of 5 to 50 mm or some times more.
3. Cyclonic or Frontal rainfall
This is called as ‘Hail’.
Convectional Rainfall: As a result of
Sleet : Precipitation occurs as falling of
heating of the surface air, the warm
raindrop along with ice pellets less than 5
moist air expands and is forced to rise to
mm diameter or snow, called as ‘Sleet’.
a great height. As the air rises, it cools,
reaches dew point and condenses to

form clouds. This process influences
the upper tropospheric circulation. By The air drops down
over the high ground,
further cooling, precipitation takes losing temprature and
increasing the amount
of water it can hold.
place as rainfall. This rainfall occurs Warm air forced This means there is
to rise, cools, little or no rain.
throughout  the year near the equator in condenses and rain
the afternoon. It is called as 4 ‘O’ clock
rainfall region. In middle latitudes,
Moist, warm air
convectional rainfall occurs in early from the sea.

summer in the continental  interiors

(Figure 6.29).

precipitation Figure 6.30 Orographic Rainfall

When altitude
Cooled Air
Condenses increases, the rainfall
also increases in
orographic pattern.
But the rainfall decreases with
Moist Air Moist Air altitude, once the amount of moisture
reduces in the air after a point where
Figure 6.29 Convectional rainfall it reaches maximum rainfall which
is called as ‘Maximum Rainfall Line’.
Orographic or Relief Rainfall This condition where the rainfall
It occurs when large mass of air is forced decreases with altitude is called
to rise across land barriers, such as high ‘Inversion of Rainfall’.
mountain ranges, plateaus, escarpments,
or over high hills. On the windward Cyclonic or Frontal Rainfall
side of the region the warm moist air This type of precipitation is associated
raises, temperature of the air falls below with a cyclonic activity (Tropical and
its dew point, forming clouds which Temperate) and also occurs along the
give subsequent rainfall. As the wind frontal zone. Cyclonic rainfall is associated
moves to the leeward side it has emptied with Cumulo Nimbus (CuNi) clouds. The
itself of moisture and thus descends rainfall is very heavy and accompanied
the slope as warm dry winds. The with lightning and thunder and high
leeward side of the mountain therefore speed winds which has the potential to
is called  as  the  rain shadow region cause damage.
(Figure 6.30). ‘Frontal rainfall’ is associated with fronts
which form due to collision of different
air masses. Warm front is formed due to
advent of warm air masses which leads to
moderate rainfall. In the same way cold
6.8 Atmospheric Disturbances
An isohyets or
(Cyclone and Anti Cyclone)
isohyetal line is a
line joining points of The atmospheric disturbances which
equal rainfall on a involve a closed circulation of air around
map in a given period. A map with a low pressure at centre and high pressure
isohyets is called an isohyetal map. at periphery, rotating anticlockwise in
northern hemisphere and clockwise in
front is formed due to advent of cold air southern hemisphere is called ‘Cyclones’
mass which leads to heavy rainfall with (Figure 6.31). Cyclones may be classified
lightning and thunder. into two types based on latitude of
its origin.
6.7.3 Cloud Burst
A ‘cloud burst’ is a sudden aggressive
rainstorm falling in a short period of
time limited to a small geographical area.
Meteorologists say that the rain from
a cloud burst is usually of the heavier
rain with a fall rate equal to or greater
than 100 mm (3.94 inches) per hour.
Generally cloudbursts are associated with
thunderstorms. The air currents rushing
up words in a rain storm hold up a large
amount of water. For example cloud
bursts in the region of Uttarkhand (2013)
and Chennai (2015).
Figure 6.31 Cyclone
They are:
Lightning and A. Tropical cyclone B. Temperate
Thunder are caused cyclone.
by differences in the
electrical charge of A. Tropical Cyclone
different parts of the cloud. The top of Cyclone formed in the low latitudes is
the cloud becomes positively charged called as Tropical cyclone. They form
and the bottom is mostly negatively over warm ocean waters in the tropical
charged. When the difference is great regions. The warm air rises, and causes
lightning occurs. Differences in the an area of low air pressure.
charge between cloud and the earth
surface also cause lightning. 6.8.1 Stages of Development of Tropical
Thunder is caused by rapid Cyclone
expansion of the air that is heated as
As per the criteria adopted by the World
the lightning passes through it.
Meteorological Organisation (W.M.O.),
India Meteorological Department
Figure 6.33 Track of Tropical cyclone

classifies the low pressure systems in to A source of warm, moist air derived
vary classes based on wind speed. from tropical oceans with sea surface
1. Tropical Disturbances temperature normally near to or in excess
2. Tropical depressions Low winds with a of 27 °C (Figure 6.32)
speed between 31 and 61 km ph. Wind near the ocean surface is blowing
3. Tropical cyclone wind speed from from different directions converging and
62 to 88 km ph and it is assigned a causing air to rise and storm clouds to form.
name. Winds which do not vary greatly with
4. Severe Cyclonic Storm (SCS) wind height are known as low wind shear. This
speed is between 89 to 118 km ph allows the storm clouds to rise vertically
to high level;
5. Very SCS wind speed between 119 to
221 km ph and
6. Super Cyclonic Storm when wind
exceeds 221 km ph.

6.8.2 Origin of Tropical Cyclone

Tropical cyclones have certain mechanism
for their formation. These are Figure 6.32 Structure of
Tropical Cyclone
Tropical cyclone distribution N


Hurricanes Typhoons


Equator Cyclones

Not to scale Willy

Figure 6.35 Distribution of Tropical Cyclone

Coriolis force is induced by the Tropical cyclones mostly move along

rotation of the Earth. The mechanisms with the direction of trade wind system.
of formation vary across the world, but So they travel from east to west and
once a cluster of storm clouds starts to make land fall on the eastern coast of the
rotate, it becomes a tropical depression. continents (Figure 6.33).
If it continues to develop it becomes a Landfall: The condition at which the
tropical storm, and later a cyclone/ super eye of the tropical cyclone crosses the
cyclone. land is called ‘Land fall’ of the cyclone
(Figure 6.34).
Characteristics of the Tropical Cyclone
The centre of the cyclone where the wind
system converges and vertically rises is
called as Eye. The eye is a Calm region
with no rainfall and experiences highest
temperature and lowest pressure within
the cyclonic system (Figure 6.32).
Cyclone wall is made up of Cumulo
Nimbus clouds with no visibility, higher
wind velocity and heavy rain fall with
lightning and thunder.
Figure 6.34 Landfall of tropical cyclone

Names Location of Landfall Date of Land fall



Naming of Tropical Cyclones member countries to submit a list of their

The practice of naming storms (tropical own eight names for the cyclones.
cyclones) began years ago, in order to
help in the quick identification of storms Condition of Super Cyclone
in warning messages because names are Formation
presumed to be far easier to remember 1. Longer travel or stay of low pressure
than numbers and technical terms system over warm ocean water.
(Figure 6.35).
2. The speed of jet stream may influence
In the pursuit of a more organized and the formation of super cyclone.
efficient naming system, meteorologists
later decided to identify storms using
names from a list arranged alphabetically. Student Activity
Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms Students have to collect the recent
have been named from lists originated names of the hurricanes, typhoons
by the National Hurricane Centre. They and cyclones and date and location of
are now maintained and updated by an landfall in last 5 years.
international committee of the World
Meteorological Organization (WMO). 6.8.3 Tornado and Water Spouts
Large scale destruction caused by
It is a very small intense, funnel shaped
Odisha cyclone in 1999, triggered the issue
very speed whirl wind system. Its speed
of naming tropical cyclones developed in
and direction of the movement are erratic
the North Indian ocean. As a result, naming
(Figure 6.36). The winds are always as
conventions for storms that develop in
fast as 500 km ph. The fast moving air
the Indian Ocean began in 2004. WMO
converges in the middle and rises up. The
(World Meteorological Organisation)had
uplift is capable of rising dust, trees and
informed each of the eight South Asian
Direction of storm Movement

Stratus Clouds
Air Cool
Warm Air

A Heavy
Moderate to Light
Cold Warm
Front Front

Air Warm Front
Cold 996
992 Cold Front

Warm Air

Figure 6.37 Sector structure of Temperate cyclone

other weaker objects in its path. South

Web link for Water spout at Chennai,
and western part of Gulf States of USA
Tamil Nadu https://www.youtube.
experiences frequent tornados.
Water spouts are formed over water body
similar to tornados in the formation and B. Temperate Cyclone
structure. This sometimes leads to fish rain, if
The cyclone formed in the mid latitudes
the mass of fish comes under the water spout.
is called as temperate cyclone. As they
are formed due to movement of air
masses  and front, they are called as
‘Dynamic cyclone’ and ‘Wave cyclone’.
This cyclone is characterised by the four
different sectors, which are varied with
their weather patterns (Figure 6.37).

Figure 6.36 Tornado

Cold air Cold air Cold air

Cool air
ld fro Wa
Co fron nt W
t f ro arm
l d
Co fro

Warm air
Warm air Warm air
a) b) c)

Cool air Cool air

Cold air Cold air

W Cool air
nt W Front
nt nt ar
fro fro m
ld ld fro
Co Co nt Warm air
Warm air
Figure 6.40 Development of Temperate cyclone

6.8.4 Stages in the Formation of Temperate Anti Cyclones

Cyclone Anti cyclone is a whirlwind system in which
a. Frontogenesis –Formation of front due high pressure area at the centre and surrounded
to collision of two contrasting air masses by low pressure at periphery rotating clockwise
(Figure 6.38). in northern hemisphere and anti clock wise in
b. Cyclone genesis – Formation of cyclone southern hemisphere(Figure 6.39).
due to conversion of fronts into various This is the largest among the whirl wind
sectors. systems. Normally, they are associated with
c. Advancing Stage – The stage where cold high pressure belts of sub tropical and polar
front advances towards warm front. region.
d. Occlusion stage - The stage where the cold
front over takes warm front
e. Frontalysis – The last stage where fronts
disappear and cyclone ends its life.
Unlike tropical cyclone, temperate cyclone
forms over both land and water in all seasons.
It covers larger area than tropical cyclone and
stays for a longer period.
Temperate cyclone moves along with the
westerly wind system from west to east. Figure 6.39 Anticyclone

Anti cyclones are classified as warm core Hygroscopic: Tending to observe moisture
and cold core, based on their temperature, from air.
which are resulted in aridity and cold waves Insolation: Amount of solar radiation reaching
respectively. a given area.
Meteorology: is a branch of the atmospheric
sciences which includes atmospheric physics
and chemistry, with a major focus on weather
Buoyant: Able to keep afloat on the top of air Molecules: A group of atoms bonded together.
or liquid. Permeable: Allowing liquids or gases to pass
Collision: Hit by accident when moving. through it.
Equilibrium: A balanced state of molecules Subsistence: The gradual movement of air
where the acting forces are equal. molecules from higher altitude to lower
Escarpment: A long, steep slope especially one altitude.
of the edge of a plateau or surface. Torrid: Region of Very hot and dry condition.
Expansion: The action of becoming larger or Vortex: A whirling or rotating mass of fluid or
more extensive. air.
Funnelling: Guided through the area that has
widening at front and narrow at the end.

Evaluation c. Thermosphere d. Exosphere

I Choose the best 4. An imaginary line connecting the
answer places having equal atmospheric
1. Which of the temperature is called
following a. Isotherm b. Isohytes
atmospheric layer c. Isobar d. Contour
known as the weather layer? 5. Speed of the wind is measured by
a. Troposphere b. Stratosphere a. Barometer b. Hygrometer
c. Thermosphere d. Mesosphere c. Thermometer d. Anemometer
2. Which is the most suitable layer for 6. What happens to atmospheric pressure
flying Jet air craft? with increase in altitude?
a. Troposphere b. Stratosphere a. It remains constant
c. Mesosphere d. Exosphere b. It increases
3. Which of the following atmospheric c. It decreases
structure absorbs the ultra violet rays
d. It constantly fluctuates
of the sun and protect the earth from
intense heating? 7. Which one of the following winds is
the example of secondary winds?
a. Troposphere b. Ozonosphere
a. Trade winds b. Westerlies
c. Polar easterlies d. Monsoon IV Detailed Answer.
8. Albedo means 1. Elucidate the types of clouds.
a. Amount solar radiation reflected 2. Discuss the mechanism of Asian
by the surface monsoon.
b. Amount moisture absorbed by the 3. How is the cyclone different from
surface anticyclone?
c. Amount moisture present in air
d. Amount of molecules present in References
1. Alan Strahler, Introducing Physical
9. Which instrument is used to measure
Geography (2016), John Wiley & Sons,
the relative humidity in air?
New Jersey, USA.
a. Hygrometer b. Barometer
2. Critchfield, General Climatology
c. Thermometer d. Altimeter (2008), Pearson Publications, London,
10. Convectional rainfall mostly occurs United Kingdom.
in ? 3. Goh Cheng Leong, Certificate
a. Temperate region Physical and Human Geography
b. Equatorial region (2002), Oxford University Press, New
c. Tundra region Delhi, India.
d. Desert region 4. Johnson E. Fairchild, Principles of
Geography (1964), Holt, Rinehart and
II Very short Answer.
Einston Inc, New York, USA.
1. Define lapse rate.
5. Lal. D.S., Climatology(2014), Sharda
2. What is mountain wind? Pustak Bhavan, Allahabad, India.
3. Draw and label the pressure belts on 6. R. Knowles and J. Wareing,
the globe. Economic and Social Geography
4. Differentiate rainfall and snow. Made Simple Paperback(1990), Rupa
5. What are the stages of formation of Publications India Pvt Ltd, New Delhi,
temperate cyclone? India.
III Short Answer. 7. Savindra Singh, Physical Geography
(2016), Pravalika Publications,
1. Why is ozone layer depleting?
Allahabad, India.
2. Draw the diagram for heat budget and
8. Woodcock. R.G., Weather and Climate
mark the radiation emit.
(1976), Macdonald and Evens Ltd,
3. How is an urban heat island formed? Estover, Plymouth, United Kingdom.
4. Differentiate between sea breeze and
land breeze.
Web References
5. List the forms of precipitation.
1. http://www.imd.gov.in/
2. https://glovis.usgs.gov/

Atmosphere Vital Blanket

Through this activity you will

explore atmosphere system.

• Use the URL to reach ‘Vertical Structure of the Atmosphere’ page. Click launch to
start the interactive atmosphere page.
• Click begin and select ‘Objects’ check box to observe the vertical content of the
• Select ‘Temperature’ and ‘Pressure’ check boxes to study physical properties of the
• Use https://www.windy.com to observe live wind flow of any place on the earth.

Step 1 Step 2

Step 3 Step 4

Interactive Atmosphere’s URL:


Pictures are indicative only.

Unit VII

The Biosphere

“Man’s attitude towards nature is today critically important simply because

we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature. But man
is a part of nature and his war against nature is inevitably a war against
himself.” – Rachel Carson

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objectives:
Chapter Outline
7.1 Introduction • Throw light on the importance,
vastness and variety that exists in
7.2 Biosphere
the life sphere.
7.3 Ecosystem
• Describe the distribution of life
7.4 Biomes
forms and their adaptations over
7.5 Biodiversity geographical space.
7.6 Endangered Species • Sensitise the student on their role in
7.7 Conservation of biodiversity conserving the biosphere.

7.1 Introduction present biosphere that we are part of and

which we are gifted with.
The earth was formed 4.6 billion years
ago. Geographers are concerned about In the last 100 years, man has had
the earth and its various spheres. These used, overused and misused the natural
spheres did not exist on the primitive earth resources of the earth. This has disturbed
as they are today. They evolved over a long the ecological balance of the earth. The
period of time after the earth was formed. realization about the damage caused
There was no life on earth for a very long to earth by our action came when we
time. Scientists believe that the first life began to experience global warming,
forms on earth came into existence about desertification, increase in disease and
3.5 billion years ago. Which marked, ‘The distress and recurrence of severe natural
birth of the biosphere’. disasters.
Since then life has multiplied in It was in 1962 that Rachel Carson
numbers and varieties and evolved to the published the book ‘Silent Spring’ which
inspired an environmental movement that

led International agencies to focus their with the existence and interaction of the
attention on protecting and sustaining the three spheres of the earth (the lithosphere,
biosphere. hydrosphere and atmosphere) gives rise to
In 1971, UNESCO launched the Man the fourth sphere which is the life sphere
and the Biosphere Programme to study or biosphere (Figure 7.1). The term
our impact on nature and how it could be Biosphere was coined by Eduard Suess
minimized. Even after several decades the in 1875. Later contributions to the study
programme still continues to shape the of biosphere were from, Charles Darwin
future of sustainability of the earth. and many other scientists.
Thus, in the biosphere, life exists on
7.2 Biosphere land, water and air and life forms range
The word Biosphere originates from from microorganisms to plants, animals,
the Greek words bios = life and birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals
sphaira = sphere. Earth is the only planet including human beings.
in the solar system that supports life. The biosphere is formed of biotic
There are many reasons that contribute components. It consists of organisms,
to this and the most important being the population, community and ecosystem.
earth’s distance from the sun, the presence
of oxygen in the atmosphere and the 7.3 Ecosystem
presence of water. The above factors, along

living matter on earth the water on the surface
including all plant of the earth in oceans,
and animal life rivers, lakes, rain and mist

the thin, fragile the earth’s crust
layer of gases that including landforms,
surrounds the earth rocks and soils

Figure 7.1 Biosphere

air, soil, water, climate, minerals, etc. Sun is
Organism – includes animals, plants the main source of energy for the earth.
and micro organisms.
B. Biotic Component: This includes
Population – is a group of similar a variety of living organisms such as
plants or animals living in an area. microorganisms, plants and animals. The
Community – refers to all the plants biotic component of an ecosystem can be
and animals living in an area. further divided into producers, consumers
Ecosystem – all living and non living and decomposers based on their capacity
things and their interaction within an to sustain themselves (Figure 7.2).

Life cannot exist in isolation. It flourishes

a. Producers: Organisms that can
in an environment which supplies
produce or manufacture their
and fulfills its material and energy
own food are known as producers.
requirements. A biotic community and
Plants that have green pigments
its physical environment in which matter
or chlorophyll, produce their own
and energy flow and cycle is called as
food in the presence of CO2 in the
atmosphere, water from the soil and
The term ecosystem was first proposed sunlight through a process called
by Arthur George Tansley in 1935. Tansley ‘photosynthesis’. These green plants
defined ecosystem as, ‘the system resulting are called as ‘autotrophs’ (auto –
from the integration of all living and self; trophs – nourishing) as they
non-living factors of the environment’. manufacture their own food.
The ecosystems can vary in size. It can
b. Consumers: Consumers are
be very small, extending to about a few
organisms that cannot manufacture
square centimeters or it can extend over
their own food and get their food and
many square kilometers. Example; tropical
nutrients from producers directly or
from other organisms. They are called
7.3.1. Major components of an ecosystem as ‘heterotrophs’ (hetero – others;
trophs – nourshing).
The ecosystem is made up of two main
components: Consumers can be divided into primary,
secondary and tertiary consumers.
A. Abiotic Component and
B. Biotic Component 1. Primary Consumers
Organisms that feed on producers
A. Abiotic Component: This component
(green plants) are called primary
of the ecosystem includes the non-living
consumers. They are also called as
substance of the environment. Example; light,
‘herbivores’ or plant eating organisms.
Examples of terrestrial herbivore
Biotic Component

Producers Consumers Decomposers

Organisms that get Organisms that get

Organisms that make
their food by eating their food by breaking
their own food by
producers or other down dead plants &
consumers animals

Primary Secondary Tertiary

Consumers Consumers Consumers

Feed Directly on Plants Feed on Primary Feed on Secondary Eat both plants and
i.e. Herbivores Consumers Consumers animals

Figure 7.2 Biotic Components

are grasshopper,sheep, goats, cow, or secondary consumers. Example: an

rabbit, deer, elephant etc. Examples of owl eats a snake but an owl is eaten by
aquatic herbivores are zoo plankton, a hawk, therefore a hawk is a tertiary
krill, squid, small fish, sea urchin, etc. consumer. Tertiary consumers that
occupy the top trophic level, and are
2. Secondary Consumers
not predated by any other animals are
Animals that kill and eat the
called ‘apex predators’. However, when
herbivores or plant eating animals are
they die their bodies will be consumed
called secondary consumers. They are
by scavengers besides the decomposers
also called as ‘carnivores’, Example;
Example; alligator andhawk.
lion, tiger, foxes, frogs, snakes, spider,
crocodiles, etc. Some organisms eat both plants and
3. Tertiary Consumers animals. These animals are called
They are top predators as‘omnivores. Example; cockroach, foxes,
in a food chain. They seagull and human.
are carnivores at the Some omnivores are ‘scavengers’,
topmost level in a which eat food that other animals have
food chain that feed left behind Example; hyena and vultures.
on other carnivores
Plants and animals that live on or fungi and bacteria are common
inside other plants or animals are called as decomposers.
Parasites. Example; mistletoe lives on other 7.3.2. Food Chain and Food Web
plants. Other examples are tapeworms,
Every living creature in an ecosystem has
round worms, lice, ticks, flea etc.
a role to play. Without producers, the
‘Detritivores’ are consumers that feed consumers and decomposers would not
on detritus. Detritus includes fallen leaves, survive because they would have no food
parts of dead trees and faecal wastes of to eat.
animals. Ants, termites, earthworms,
Without consumers, the populations of
millipedes, dung beetle, fiddler crabs and
producers and decomposers would grow
sea cucumbers are detritivores.
out of control. And without decomposers,
dead producers and consumers would
The earthworm is
accumulate as wastes and pollute the
called as the friend of
the farmer. Find out
All organisms of an ecosystem depend
the reason why?
on one another for their survival. Each
organism living in an ecosystem plays
4. Decomposers: Decomposers are an important role in the flow of energy
organisms that help decompose dead within the system. Organisms need energy
or decaying organisms. Decomposers for respiration, growth, locomotion, and
are also heterotrophs. Decomposers reproduction. This movement of energy is
are nature’s built-in recycling system. usually understood through food chains
By breaking down materials – or food webs. While a food chain shows
decomposers return nutrients to the one path along which energy can move
soil. They, in turn, create another through an ecosystem, food webs show all
food source for producers within the the overlapping ways that organisms live
ecosystem. Mushrooms, yeast, mould, with and depend upon one another.

Figure 7.3 Food Chain

A. Food Chain show a direct transfer of energy between
A food chain describes the flow of food organisms.
in an ecosystem. This flow or feeding A chain might involve a mouse eating
structure in an ecosystem is called ‘trophic some seeds on the forest floor, a snake
structure’. Each level in this structure is eating the mouse and later an eagle eating
called a trophic level. A food chain starts the snake.
the movement of energy from one trophic With each step, some of the energy
level to the next (Figure 7.3). Example; Plant from the sun, which is trapped within the
(primary producer) is eaten by a rabbit seeds, is getting passed on.
(herbivores, primary consumer), rabbit is
In a food web, the mouse might eat
eaten by a snake (carnivores, consumer or
seeds, but it also might eat some grains,
primary carnivore)and the snake is eaten
or maybe even some grass. The mouse
by a hawk (tertiary consumer).
might be eaten by a snake, or the eagle, or
Food Web even a fox. The snake could be eaten by
A Food Web is a complex network of the eagle, but also might be eaten by a fox
interconnected food chains. Food chains in the forest.




Rat Dragon Fly

Butter Fly
Fruit Fly

A Flowering plant Lavenders

Figure 7.4 Food web

Since each organism can eat multiple consumers to feed on. The plant and
organisms and be eaten by multiple animal species in such an environment
organisms, a food web is a much more could become endangered or even
realistic scheme of the transfer of energy extinct. For this reason, it is vital that an
within an ecosystem (Figure 7.4). ecosystem remains balanced containing
Food chains and food webs are found an appropriate proportion of producers
in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. and consumers.
Organisms in a food chain or food web
are linked and dependent on one another 7.3.3 Energy Flow in an Ecosystem
for survival. If organisms in one trophic Energy in an ecosystem flows from
level become threatened, it impacts the producers to consumers. The available
organisms in other trophic levels. Primary energy in a food chain decreases with
consumers get less food due to loss or each step or trophic levels up in the
destruction of habitat. food chain. As such, there is less energy
This in turn means less primary available to support organisms at the top
consumers for secondary and tertiary of the food chain. That is why the tertiary

Figure 7.5 Energy Pyramid

Student Activity

Give at least two examples for each level.

Trophic level Example

and quaternary consumers are far less in 7.3.5 Cycles in an Ecosystem

number in an ecosystem than organisms Nutrients move through the  ecosystem
at lower trophic levels. in cycles is called ‘biogeochemical cycles’.
A biogeochemical cycle  is a circuit or
7.3.4 Energy Pyramids
pathway by which a chemical element
Energy pyramids are another tool that moves through the biotic and the abiotic
ecologists use to understand the role of components of an  ecosystem. All life
organisms within an ecosystem. As you processes are associated with the atmosphere
can see, most of the energy in an ecosystem by important cycles such as the Carbon,
is available at the producer level. As you Oxygen, Nitrogen cycles etc. Through these
move up on the pyramid, the amount of cycles energy and materials are transferred,
available energy decreases significantly. stored and released into various ecosystems.
It is estimated that only about 10% of the Let us discuss one of biogeochemical cycles
energy available at one trophic level gets in detail - the Carbon cycle.
transferred to the next level of the energy The Carbon Cycle
pyramid. The remaining 90 percent of Carbon is exchanged, or cycled among
energy is either utilized by the organisms all the spheres of the earth. All living
within that level for respiration and organisms are built of carbon compounds.
other metabolic activities or lost to the It is the fundamental building block
environment as heat. of life and an important component of
The energy pyramid shows how many chemical processes. Living things
ecosystems naturally limit the number need carbon to live, grow and reproduce.
of each type of organism it can sustain Carbon is a finite resource that cycles
(Figure 7.5). through the earth in many forms.

Carbon is an essential element in all All producers and consumers are not
organic compounds and since there is decomposed. The organic matter of some
only a limited amount available it must be of them is preserved in fossil fuels such as
recycled continuously. This takes place in coal and petroleum for millions of years.
the biosphere. Atmospheric carbon is fixed In a carbon cycle (Figure 7.6), carbon
in green plants through photosynthesis. moves between reservoirs. Carbon
This carbon is passed on to other living reservoirs include the atmosphere, the
organisms through the food chain. The oceans, vegetation, rocks, and soil.
carbon food compound is utilized and Today, the carbon cycle is changing.
later released to the atmosphere through Human activities have added more
the process of respiration. carbon  into the atmosphere. More
By-products of respiration are carbon- carbon is moving to the atmosphere when
dioxide and water which are returned to fossil fuels, like coal and oil, are burned.
the air. More carbon is moving to the atmosphere
A carbon cycle is completed by as humans destroy the forest. This increase
decomposers like bacteria and fungi in carbon in the atmosphere causes the
which break down dead plants and animal earth to warm up more than the normal
tissues there by releasing some carbon to level, leading to climate change and many
the air, water and soil. problems connected with it.


Figure 7.6 Carbon Cycle

I.G. Simmons (1982) the most extensive
carbon sink ecosystem unit which is convenient to
is a natural or designate is called a ‘Biome’. It may be
artificial reservoir concluded that a biome is in fact a large
that accumulates and ecosystem where we study the total
stores carbon for an indefinite period. assemblage of plant and animal communities.
The process by which carbon sinks Since vegetation is the most dominant
remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from component of a biome and as vegetation and
the atmosphere is known as carbon climate are very intimately related, the world
sequestration. The main natural is divided into a number of biomes based on
carbon sinks are plants, the ocean major world climatic types (Figure 7.7).
and soil.
7.4.1. Types of Biomes
7.4 Biomes World Biomes are mega ecosystems
An ecosystem as already explained consists existing and operating over large areas.
of a biological community and an abiotic These divisions are based on climate
environment. Ecosystem may be broadly pattern, soil types, and the animals and
divided into land or terrestrial ecosystem plants that inhabit an area. Basically,
and water or aquatic ecosystem. The biomes are classified into two major
aquatic ecosystem can be further divided groups such as Aquatic biomes and
into freshwater and marine ecosystem. Terrestrial biomes.
An ecosystem becomes a biome when Wetlands are transition zones between
it extends over a large area. According to aquatic and terrestrial biomes


Boreal Forest
Temperate Forest
Temperate grasslands, savannas and shrublands
Desert and dry shrublands
Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas and shrublands Not to scale
Tropical and subtropical forests

Figure 7.7 Biomes of the World

To understand the earth biomes, it is river Ganges, Brahmaputra and the
necessary to understand the following: Indus which carry huge volumes of
1. The characteristics of regional water.
climates. b. Marine Biome
2. Aspects of the physical environment. Marine biome is an aquatic biome
which is salt water biome occupying
3. The type of soil and the processes seas and oceans of the world. Marine
contributing to soil development. biome plants have various roles,
4. The distribution of flora in the area. plants such as sea grasses and macro
algae give shelter and nutrient for
5. The distribution of fauna in the
many animals.
area and their adaptation to the
environment. Marine plants are sources of nutrients
for the corals and help corals to build up
A. Aquatic Biomes reefs. The reefs are kept intact by plants
The aquatic biomes are the most like coralline algae.
important of all the biomes as, the water
forms the vital resource and is essential
for any life form. Since many types of
species live in the water, it is one of the
most important natural resources that
need to be protected.
Aquatic Biome is further divided into:

a. Fresh Water Biome and

b. Marine Biome
Coral Reefs
a. Fresh Water Biome
These biomes are spread over all Corals are marine invertebrates which live
parts of the earth and have different in compact colonies. They inhabit tropical
set of species depending on their oceans and seas. Corals cannot survive in
location and climate. Fresh water waters below 20°C but grow optimally in
biomes include areas of ponds, lakes, temperatures between 23°–29° Celsius.
streams, rivers and wetlands. Lakes Coral reefs are marine ecosystems which
and ponds are stagnant water bodies are held together by structures made of
and are smaller in their area. The calcium carbonate secreted by the corals.
diversity of life forms in river changes Coral reefs are mainly classified into three
with increasing water volume. For types – Fringing reef, Barrier reef and
example, Dolphins are found in the Atoll .

Fact File Marine biome includes fishes, whales,
crustaceans, molluscs, sea anemones,
Sea grasses are plants that live in
fungi and bacteria. Marine species are
saltwater. There are over 50 species
continuously impacted by change in climatic
of sea grasses. Sea grasses have
condition and the oceans are frequently
flowers, roots, and specialized cells
disturbed by ocean waves and currents.
to transport nutrients within a plant.
This makes them similar to land plants c. Wetlands:
and different from algae or seaweeds. A wetland is an area of land which is
permanently or periodically saturated
with water and exists as a distinct
Fringing reefs grow seaward from the ecosystem. Wetlands play many roles in the
shore along the coast forming a fringe. environment, such as water purification,
They are the common type of reefs. flood control, carbon sink and shoreline
stability. Wetlands are home to a wide range
of aquatic plants and animal life. Wetlands
can be freshwater, brackish, or saltwater.
Examples of aquatic vegetation that thrive
in wetlands are milkweed, bald cypress
trees, mangroves and cattails.
Fringing Reef

Barrier reefs also border the shoreline

but are separated from the coast by an
expanse of water or lagoon.

Barrier Reef Fact File
Atolls are coral reefs that are circular in Crustaceans are chiefly aquatic
shape enclosing a lagoon with absence of arthropods having a body covered
an island in the center. with a hard shell or crust and several
pairs of legs. Example: crab, lobsters,
crayfish, barnacles shrimps, krill etc.
Molluscs are organisms with
soft bodies. Often their bodies are
covered by hard shells. Example:
Atoll Reef snail, slug, squid, cuttlefish, mussel,
clams, oysters, octopuses etc.

Fact File
A Bog is a type of wetland ecosystem
characterized by wet, spongy, poor-
ly drained peaty soil formed from
dead plants specially moss. Bogs have
moss, sedges, grasses, such as cotton
grass; insectivorous plants like pitcher
plants; and many orchids. The gradu-
al accumulation of decayed plant ma-
Swamp terial in a bog functions as a carbon
A Fen is a low land that is covered
wholly or partly with water. They re-
ceive nutrients from ground water and
have peaty alkaline soil. Their charac-
teristic flora are sedges and reeds.
Mangrove swamps are coastal
wetlands found in tropical and
subtropical regions. These wetlands
are often found in estuaries, where
fresh water meets salt water. Mangrove
trees dominate this wetland ecosystem
due to their ability to survive in both
salt and fresh water. The Sundarbans
is the largest Mangrove region in the
world and a UNESCO World Heritage
Mangrove forests of Tamil Nadu:
Mangrove forests are found along the
Fen coast of Tamil Nadu in Pichavaram,
Muthupet, Ramnad, Gulf of Mannar
and Punnakayal.
B. Terrestrial Biome
Terrestrial biomes are very large
ecosystems over land and they vary i. Tropical Evergreen Rain Forest
according to latitude and climate. They Biome
can be divided into numerous sub-types.
Tropical Evergreen Rain Forest Biome
In this lesson they are broadly divided
extends between 10° North and South
into eight types.

of the equator (Figure 7.8). This biome by thick undergrowth and creepers. The
is seen in the Amazon Basin of South main trees in this biome are mahogany,
America, Congo Basin of Africa and the rose wood, ebony, cinchona, rubber,
Indo Malaysian Region of Southeast Asia coconut palm, cane, bamboo etc.
(Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Malaysia and This forest biome has innumerable
Guinea) insects, birds, reptiles and furless animals.
This biome receives direct sunlight At the edge of the forest animals like
throughout the year and so temperatures gorilla, and monkey are found.
are high year round. The average annual Important tribes inhabit this biome,
temperature is 20°C to 30°C. The average for example the Pygmies in the jungles
annual rainfall of the tropical evergreen of Africa and the Yanomani and Tikuna
rain forest is 200cm. tribes of the Amazon region. Traditionally
The Tropical Evergreen Rain Forest they live by hunting and gathering food.
Biome has the largest number of plant In the recent years in South East Asia, the
and animal species. Broad leaved, tall tropical evergreen rainforest has been
evergreen hard wood trees are found slowly replaced by rubber and sugarcane
in this biome. Trees grow up to 20 to 35 plantations. The human settlements in
meters high. The forest is characterized this biome are small and scattered.

Arctic Ocean Arctic Ocean

North Pacific North Atlantic
Ocean Ocean
North Pacific

South Atlantic
South Pacific

Distribution of tropical rain forests. Not to scale

Figure 7.8 Tropical Evergreen Forest Biome

The forests of the
Silent Valley National
Park in Kerala on the
Western Ghats are
the last remaining tropical evergreen
forests in India. It is part of the Nilgiris
Biosphere Reserve Tropical Rain Forest


Not to scale

Student Activity

1. On the outline map of the world draw the equator and colour and label the
2. Show the areas of tropical rain forest, tropical grass land, and Tropical desert in
Africa and South America in both the hemispheres.
3. Colour and label the Taiga forest and it is the longest belt of distribution. Reason
out why so.

4. Find out why Tropical deserts are on the western margins of the continents.

5. Give two reasons for their pole ward distribution.


ii Tropical deciduous Forest/Monsoon mahua (illupai), Mango, Wattle,
Forest Bamboo, semal (Illavamaram), sheesham
(Karuvellamaram) and banyan.
The animals of this biome are
elephant, lion, tiger, leopards, bison,
tapier, hippopotamus, wild boar, flying
squirrel along with a wide variety of bird
species. This biome faces rapid rate of
deforestation and is, therefore, one of the
most disturbed ecosystem in the world.
Large tracts of forests have been destroyed
for agriculture and urban development.
Tropical Monsoon forest Several species of precious animals have
now become endangered Example: lions,
Tropical deciduous forest is found in the
tigers, leopards, etc.
regions experiencing monsoon climate.
This biome is also called as the dry forest iii. Temperate Deciduous Forest Biome
or monsoon forest biome. The temperate deciduous forest is a biome
This is found in South and South that is always changing. This biome lies
East Asia in parts of India, Myanmar, in the mid- latitude areas of the earth,
Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and between the tropics and Arctic Circle i.e.,
southern coastal China. It is also found between 30° and 50° north and south of the
in eastern Brazil and in smaller areas equator. The temperate deciduous forest
in South and Central America, the biome can be seen in the eastern United
West Indies, southeastern Africa, and States, most parts of Europe, China, Japan,
northern Australia. North and South Korea (Figure 7.9). The
In this biome, the temperature varies average annual temperature is 10°C.
from one season to another season. In These biomes have four seasons
summer the maximum temperature ranges such as winter, spring, summer and fall.
from 38°C to 48°C. Summer season is Winters are cold and summers are warm.
warm and humid. In the dry winter season As winter approaches, the duration of day
temperature ranges between 10°C to 27°C. light decreases. In this biome, deciduous
The total amount of precipitation is 75 to trees shed their leaves in the fall. The
150 cm/year and this affects the natural production of chlorophyll in the leaves
vegetation of the tropical deciduous forest slows and eventually stops revealing leaves
biome. having bright red, yellow and orange
The plants shed their leaves during colors. These forests are also known as
the dry season. Trees here have huge broad leaved forest, because the trees have
trunks with thick rough barks. The wide flat leaves. Some important trees
plants grow at three different levels. The found here are oak, maple, beech, hickory,
common trees are teak, sal, sandalwood, cedar and chestnut. On the forest floors






Not to scale

Figure 7.9 Temperate Deciduous Forest Biome

that receive very little sunlight are found fertile. This is one of the most important
mosses, azaleas and mountain laurels. agricultural regions of the world.
Inhabiting the temperate deciduous Grasslands
forest are ants, insects, flies, bees, wasps,
Grasslands are found bordering the
cicadas, walking sticks, moths, butterfly,
deserts and make up for one fourth of
dragon flies, mosquitoes and praying
the natural vegetation of the earth. Those
that lie in the low latitudes are called
Frogs, toads, snakes and salamanders tropical grasslands and the ones which lie
are some of the reptiles in this biome. in the mid latitudes are called temperate
Common birds found in this biome grasslands.
are woodpecker, robin, jays, cardinals,
owls, turkeys, hawks and eagles. Small
mammals like rabbits, otters, monkeys,
beavers, squirrels and porcupine are also
seen in this biome along with bears, grey
fox, wolves, white tailed deer and moose.
Animals that live in this biome adapt
to the changing seasons. Some animals
migrate or hibernate in winter.
Most of this forests on the earth are
cleared for agriculture. The soil here is very Kangaroo in Australian savanna

iv Tropical Grassland Biome or
Savanna Biome
The tropical grass land biome is generally
referred to as the Savanna biome. A
savanna is a rolling topography that
features vast open grasslands scattered
with small shrubs and isolated trees. It is
found between the tropical rainforest and
desert biome. Tropical grassland biomes
are mainly found in Africa, South America
and Australia. Tropical grasslands in
Baobab tree
Africa is known as the savannas. Tropical
grasslands are called as llanos in Columbia In many parts of the savannas of Africa
and Venezuela and as Campos in Brazil of people have started using the grassland
South America. for grazing their cattle and goats. Due
Savanna biomes experience warm to overgrazing in this region most of the
temperature year around. It has very long tropical grasslands here are lost to the
and dry winter season and a very wet Sahara desert year after year.
summer season. The grass here is very tall
v. Temperate Grassland Biome or
often one or two metres tall scattered with
small shrubs and isolated umbrella shaped
trees like the acacia and the baobab trees The temperate grassland biomes are
which store water in their trunks. generally found in the interior of the
Most of the animals in the savanna have continents in the mid latitudes. These
long legs, like the giraffe and kangaroo. grassland biomes are found in the
The carnivorous animals like lions, transitional zone between the humid
leopards, cheetahs, jackal and hyenas live coastal areas and the mid latitude
in this biome. Zebras and elephants are deserts.
also found in this biome. The temperate grasslands are known
as Steppes in Europe and Asia, Prairies
in North America (Canada and USA),
Pampas in South America, Veldts in
South Africa, Downs in Australia and
Puszta in Hungary. The annual range of
temperature is quite large with summer
temperature reaching as high as 38°C and
winter temperatures falling down to -40°
C. The rainfall is moderate from 25 cm to
50 cm. Grasses form a major part of the
African Savanna vegetation in the temperate grasslands.

The height of the grasses depends upon
the amount and distribution of rainfall.

Thar Desert

vi. Tropical Desert Biome

Bison in Prairie
A tropical desert is the hottest and
driest place on earth where rainfall is
very scanty and irregular. This biome is
typically found in the western parts of the
continents within the tropics.
In the northern hemisphere, the Afro –
Asian deserts form the longest belt which
Prairie Dogs includes the Sahara desert, Arabian desert
and the Thar deserts. In North America the
The animals in this area include the
tropical deserts cover, California, Arizona
bison, wolves of the Prairies of North
and New Mexico states of USA and it further
America. The other animals and birds are
extends to Mexico. The deserts in the southern
coyotes, prairie dog, foxes, mice, rabbits,
hemisphere are, the Atacama desert west
badgers, rattle snakes, pocket gophers,
of Andes mountains in South America, the
weasel, grasshoppers, quails and hawks.
Namibian and the Kalahari deserts in southern
Africa and the Great Australian desert in the
central and southern parts of Australia.
The tropical deserts are not conducive
for the growth of vegetation due to
shortage of water. The plants found here
are the xerophytes which have their own
moisture conserving methods such as
long roots, thick barks, waxy leaves,

Sahara Desert

thorns and small leaves so as to avoid
The main trees and bushes found in
this region are acacia, cacti, date palm,
kikar, babul etc.

Oasis in Sahara
The people in the deserts are generally
nomads living in tents and moving from
place to place. They are the Berbers of
North Africa, the Bedouins of the Arabian
deserts, the Damara in Namibia, the
Succulent Bushman of the Kalahari Desert and the
Aborigines of Australia. They practice food
gathering and hunting while some herd
cattle, goats and camel and some of them
practice very simple subsistence farming.


The animals in this biome are limited in

number. They are able to bear the drought
Bedouin Tent in Sahara
and the heat of the desert. Animals like
the camel, antelopes, fox, spotted hyena,
fallow deer, cape hare, hedgehog etc., live
in the desert.

The tropical desert biomes are

agriculturally unproductive except
in and near the oasis. In the oasis,
cultivation is carried through
irrigation either from streams or from
underground sources. Date palms are
widely grown here. Settlement in Thar Desert
Taiga is the home of some larger
One of the toughest animals like moose, deer, and bears,
foot races in the world while smaller animals like bobcats,
is held in Sahara squirrels, chipmunks, ermine, and moles
every year in April. are also found. Animals of the taiga have
This race is called The Marathon des specialised adaptation including lot of
Sables (MDS) and participants have to thick fur or feathers and the ability to
cover a distance of 250km over Sahara change colours during different seasons
desert in southern Morocco in a span example ermine.
of 7 days. About 1500 participants
aged between 16 to 79 from all over
the world participate in this race.
Source : Morocco World News

Vii. Taiga or Boreal Forest Biome

The taiga biome is the largest terrestrial
biome and extends across Europe, North
America and Asia. The taiga biome is
also known as coniferous forest or boreal
forest biome. It extends from about 50° to Coniferous forest
55° North to 65 ° to 70° North latitudes.
This region lies between the temperate
grassland in the south and the polar tundra
in the north. The taiga region is absent in
the southern hemisphere mainly because
of the narrowing of continents towards
the South Pole.
This biome has short wet summer and
long cold winters. The taiga region has
low mean annual precipitation ranging Siberian Tiger
between 35 cm and 60 cm and the rainfall
occurs mostly in summer. It receives
plenty of snow during winter. Fact File
The taiga or boreal forest biome The ermine is a small mammal, which
consists mainly of evergreen coniferous is covered with thick dark brown fur in
forests. The important coniferous trees in summer. This changes to white in the
this biome are pines, spruces, firs, maples winter, an adaptation which helps the
and cedars. During the short summer ermine to blend into its surroundings
season snow melts and this helps lichens, and makes it more difficult for the
mosses and short grasses to grow and cover predators to spot them.
the ground. These are called ‘meadows’.
Arctic tundra extends southwards from
North Pole to the Taiga forest. Tundra is
also found in the high altitudes especially
in the Alpine region.
Due to long and severe cold winters,
this region is treeless and has very little
vegetation. The growing season for plants
Ermine is very short. Natural vegetation mainly
consists of shrubs, sedges, grasses, mosses
and lichens.


Lumbering is the main occupation of the Bearberry

people in areas which are easily accessible.
The softwood from the coniferous forests
is widely used in the manufacture of wood
pulp and paper, newsprint, matches,
furniture and building materials.
The hunting of fur bearing animals
like musk rats, ermine, and silver fox are
important economic activities. The taiga
forest is endangered due to logging and Lichen
mining by humans. When trees are cut
down in the taiga it takes a very long time
to restore itself because of the very short
growing season.

Viii Tundra Biome

Tundra is a Finnish word which means
barren land. The tundra region is a vast
bowl lying beyond the Arctic Circle (66.5°
North latitude) in the northern hemisphere
along the shores of the Arctic Ocean. The Cotton Grass
The main features of this climate in
the tundra region are the general absence
of insolation and presence of very low
temperature throughout the year. The
average annual temperature is about
-12°C. The ground surface is covered with
snow for at least 8 to 9 months in a year.
In this biome, the sub soil remains
permanently frozen and is known as
permafrost. Permafrost tundra covers
Polar Bear
vast barren areas of northern Russia and
Canada. Algae and fungi are found on
the rocky cliffs and rosette plants grow
in rock and gravel beds. Spongy turf
and lichen develop in the drier inland
Animals common to Arctic tundra are
the polar bear, arctic wolf, arctic fox, arctic
hare and arctic weasel. Large herbivores
Arctic Fox such as musk oxen, caribou and reindeer
are found. Lemmings are also found in
this Biome. Insects like moths, butterflies,
beetles, mosquitoes and black flies are
common in the Arctic tundra. Migratory
birds include tundra swans, harlequin
ducks, sand pipers, plovers, geese and
The Antarctic region is covered with
ice sheets. It is too cold and dry to support
vegetation. However, some portions of
Caribou the continent have areas of rocky soil that
support plant life. Vegetation comprises of
mosses, lichens and liver worts. This area
is referred to as Antarctic tundra. Seals
and Penguins inhabit the shore areas of

7.5. Biodiversity
The term biological diversity was used as
early as 1968 by wildlife conservationist
Musk Ox Raymond F. Dasmann. Latter in 1988,

entomologist E.O. Wilson used the term forests have greater species richness than
Biodiversity and this term has been used reforested areas or plantations.
since then. Biodiversity refers to the There are three types of Species:
variety of life on Earth. This includes the
number of species of plants, animals and a. Endemic species - is one whose
microorganisms along with the diversity habitat is restricted only to a
of genes in these species. Moreover, it particular area because of which it
embodies the different ecosystems on the is often endangered. It differs from
planet, for example forests, deserts, coral “indigenous,” or “native,” which
reefs and wetlands. although it occurs naturally in an
area, is also found in other areas.
Biodiversity is the variability among
living organisms. This includes diversity b. Exotic Species - is any species
within species, between species, and intentionally or accidentally
between ecosystems. The variety of transported and released by man into
biodiversity or the number of species in a an environment outside its original
given area is referred to as species richness. range. These are often the most
Normally variety of life increases with size severe agents of habitat alteration and
of area. degradation, and a major cause of the
Biodiversity can be identified at three continuing loss of biological diversity
levels: throughout the world.
c. Cosmopolitan Species – It is a species
A. Genetic diversity that is found to be distributed over
most regions of the earth example:
B. Species diversity and
cats, dogs, human beings. The killer
C. Ecosystem diversity whale is considered as the most
cosmopolitan species in the world.
A. Genetic diversity refers to the total
number of genetic characteristics in the C. Ecosystem diversity refers to the variety
genetic makeup of a species. Example: of life forms in a prescribed ecosystem.
Each human being is very different Ecosystems may be both terrestrial and
from others. Genetic diversity helps aquatic. Distinctive terrestrial ecosystems
the population to adapt to changes in include forests, grasslands, deserts, etc.
the environment or adapt to different while aquatic ecosystems are rivers, lakes,
environments. Domestication of dogs can oceans etc.
be taken as a common example. In understanding biodiversity, the
B. Species diversity is the number of most common question that arises in
different species of plants and animals our mind is how many different plant
that are present in a region. A community and animal species are there on earth?
with more number of species enjoys There can be no definite answer to this
species richness. Naturally undisturbed question. At present the conservation

scientists have identified over 8.7 million they contain around
species worldwide. Of this only about 50% of the world’s
2 million are known to us ranging from endemic plant species
microorganisms to giant mammals and and 42% of all terrestrial
reptiles. New species are being discovered vertebrates.
while many species are also disappearing India has 4
from the face of the earth. biodiversity hotspots: the Western Ghats,
the Himalayas, the Indo-Burma region and
7.5.1. Biodiversity hotspots
the Sundaland [includes Nicobar group of
Areas that are rich in species diversity Islands].
are called as “Hotspots”. The hottest
spots for species diversity are the tropical
rainforests. Tropical rainforests comprise
of only 7% of all land on earth, yet are home
Norman Myers  (born
to nearly 50% of all the species on Earth!
24 August 1934) is a
India is among the World’s 17 nations that
British environmentalist
are exceptionally rich in species diversity.
specialising in
The British biologist Norman Myers
Biodiversity  hotspots.
coined the term ‘biodiversity hotspot’ in
Professor Norman Myers was the first
1988. According to him, a biodiversity
to alert global community to tropical
hotspot is a biogeographic region
deforestation, the mass extinction
characterised both by exceptional levels
underway and environmental security.
of plant endemism and by serious levels of
habitat loss. Conservation International
(CI) adopted Myers concept of ‘hotspots’
and it made an extensive global study
Fact File
of hotspots in 1999. According to CI, to
Endemism is an ecological word
qualify as a hotspot a region must meet
meaning that a plant or animal lives
two strict criteria: (i) It must contain at
only in a particular geographical
least 1,500 species of endemic plants,
location, such as a specific island,
and (ii) It must have lost at least 70% of
habitat type, country or any defined
its original habitat. In 1999, CI’s book
zone. For example, The Asiatic Lion
‘Hotspots: Earth’s Biologically Richest and
of the Gir forest of Gujarat. The
Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions’,
Kashmir Stag known as Hangul,
identified 34 biodiversity hotspots in the
which is found in the riverine forests
different countries of the world.
of Kashmir Valley and Chamba in
Currently there are 34 biodiversity
Himachal Pradesh. The Lion Tailed
hotspots that have been identified and,
Macaque is India’s most threatened
most of them occur in tropical forests
monkey which is endemic to the
(Figure 7.10). They represent just 2.3%
Western Ghats of South India.
of Earth’s land surface, but between them



Not to scale

Figure 7.10 Biodiversity hotspots of the world

The 34 biodiversity hotspots of the World

1 The Tropical Andes 18 The Philippines
2 Mesoamerica 19 Indo-Burma
3 The Caribbean Islands 20 The Mountains of Southwest China
4 The Atlantic Forest 21 Western Ghats and Sri Lanka
5 Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena 22 Southwest Australia
6 The Cerrado 23 New Caledonia
7 Chilean Winter Rainfall-Valdivian Forests 24 New Zealand
8 Chilean Winter Rainfall-Valdivian Forests 25 Polynesia and Micronesia
9 Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands 26 The Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands
10 The Coastal Forests of Eastern Africa 27 Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany
11 The Guinean Forests of West Africa 28 The Eastern Afromontane
12 The Cape Floristic Region 29 The Horn of Africa
13 The Succulent Karoo 30 The Irano-Anatolian
14 The Mediterranean Basin 31 The Mountains of Central Asia
15 The Caucasus 32 Eastern Himalaya
16 Sundaland 33 Japan
17 Wallacea 34 East Melanesian Islands

most important inventory of the global
Conservation conservation status of biological species.
International (CI)
Species are classified by the IUCN Red
is an American non-
List into nine groups specified through
profit environmental
criteria such as rate of decline, population
organization founded in 1987 in
size, area of geographic distribution, and
Virginia. Its goal is to protect nature
degree of population and distribution
as a source for food, fresh water,
fragmentation (Figure 7.11).
livelihood and a stable climate.
CI has helped to support 1,200 • Extinct (EX) – The species has
protected areas across 77 countries, disappeared and no known individuals
safeguarding more than 601 million remaining
hectares of marine and coastal areas. • Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known
only to survive in captivity, or as a
naturalized population outside its
7.6 Endangered species historic range
Rare, endangered or threatened plants • Critically Endangered (CR) – Species
and animals are elements of our natural that have drastically dwindled and are
heritage that are declining rapidly. If we at extremely high risk of extinction in
cherish these species, like we do other the wild
rare and beautiful objects, these living
• Endangered (EN) – High risk of
organisms become treasures of the highest
extinction in the wild
The International Union for the • Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has endangerment in the wild
identified and classified species based on • Near threatened (nt) – Likely to become
the nature of their depleting numbers. endangered in the near future.
The IUCN’s Red List of Threatened • Least concern (lc) – Lowest risk
Species, identified in 1964, is the world’s widespread and abundant

Extinct Threatened Lower Risk

EX EW CR EN VU cd nt lc

Figure 7.11 Species Classification by IUCN

• Conservation dependent (cd) – This
group has now merged with near
• Data deficient (dd) – Not enough data
to assess the risk of extinction of the
• Not evaluated (ne) – Species not yet
been evaluated against the criteria.

In the context of the IUCN Red List, A Hawaiian plant species called Alula
‘threatened’ embraces the three categories locally referred to as cabbage on a stick
of Critically Endangered, Endangered, has moved from Critically Endangered
and Vulnerable. to Extinct in the Wild. It is one of the 38
According to the IUCN those species Red Listed Hawaiian plant species with
that have dwindled drastically are less than five wild individuals remaining.
called as Critically Endangered and are It used to grow on the windy sea cliffs of
included as Red List. Species that have Kauai. Alula was destroyed by hurricanes
disappeared are called as extinct species. Iwa and Inki in 1982 and 1992 leaving
In the Red List of 2012 that was released only less than 10 plants alive.
on 19 July 2012 at Rio+20 Earth Summit
19,817 species were threatened with

Fact File
The IUCN Red
List of Threatened
Species (also
known as the
IUCN Red List or
Red Data List),
The majority of the great ape species are
founded in 1964, is the world’s most
now Critically Endangered. The Eastern
comprehensive inventory of the global
Gorilla the largest living primate is endemic
conservation status of biological
to the Eastern Democratic Republic of
species. The International Union for
Congo, south western Uganda and Rwanda.
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is
This species which was listed as Endangered
the world’s main authority on the
has moved to Critically Endangered in
conservation status of species. A series
2016 due to an ongoing population decline.
of Regional Red Lists are produced
This decline is due to illegal hunting and
by countries or organizations, which
destruction of forests for agriculture. If this
assess the risk of extinction to species
trend continues, around 93% of Eastern
within a political management unit.
Gorillas will be eliminated by 2054.
The Pygmy Hog: It is the smallest • Himalayan quail
and rarest wild pig on earth and it is a • Pink-headed duck
Critically Endangered species previously
spread across Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fish
India and Nepal. but now only found in • Wayanad mahseer
Assam, India. In 1995, the Pygmy Hog
• Pondicherry shark
Conservation Programme was started by
Goutam Narayan of Ecosystems-India, • Ganges shark
with the help of the Assam government • Pookode Lake barb
and now their numbers have increased to
about 150. • Common sawfish

• Pygmy Hog Sucking Louse

Reptiles and amphibians

• Madras spotted skink

• Gharial
• Toad-skinned frog
• Charles Darwin’s frog
• White-spotted bush frog
There are many other critically
endangered species in India and some of • Munnar bush frog
them are listed below • Ponmudi bush frog

7.6.1. Critically Endangered species in • Anaimalai flying frog

India 2016 Mammals
Arthropoda • Asiatic cheetah
• Rameshwaram parachute spider • Namdapha flying squirrel
• Peacock tarantula • Himalayan wolf
Birds • Andaman shrew
• White-bellied heron • Nicobar shrew
• Great Indian bustard • Northern Sumatran rhinoceros
• Forest owlet • Chinese pangolin
• Spoon-billed sandpiper • Pygmy hog
• Siberian crane • Indian Javan rhinoceros
• Indian vulture • Malabar large-spotted civet

7.6.2. The Recent Red List (2017)

The plant Alliumiatrouinum of the

Mediterranean, belonging to the onion
family was added to the IUCN Red List
as Critically Endangered (CR) in 2017.
Currently this plant is known to exist only
on Mount Ochi in the southern part of Evvia
Island, Greece. It is understood that the
threat was from the numerous wind parks
and wind turbines developed in the area.

An endemic species of small trees growing

at low altitudes in New Caledonia called
Pittosporum brevispinium has declined
causing it to move from Endangered
to Critically Endangered in 2017. The
species decline has been attributed to
conversion of dry forests to pasture land
and degradation of forest by the Rusa deer.

The Red-legged Fire Millipede is

found in the rainforests of Madagascar.
It entered the IUCN Red List in 2017
as, Critically Endangered (CR).The
degradation of its habitat due to slash
and burn agriculture and cutting of trees
for firewood by local communities has
caused its decline.

The IUCN Red List in 2017 declared

the Christmas Island Whiptail-skink
endemic to Christmas island as Extinct.
The last known individual died in
captivity in 2014. This dramatic decline
and extinction was due to the impact
of the introduction of Yellow Crazy
Ant, Indian Wolf Snake and other new
species on Christmas Island along with
deforestation due to mining.

The status of the Rodrigues Flying Fox
moved from Critically Endangered to
Endangered in 2017. This was due to a
number of conservation measures taken,
such as, captive breeding programme
involving 46 zoos around the world,
restoration of natural habitat, watershed
protection, and awareness rising through
education programmes. Its population
has increased from 4,000 in 2003 to about
20,000 individuals in 2016. The future
survival of this species will depend on
continued conservation efforts.

7.6.3. Causes of Extinction of Species 6. Climatic change accelerates the

Extinction is defined as the permanent competition between large mammals
disappearance of an organism from the for shelter and food.
face of the earth. In other words, all 7. Extinction of weak species during
members of a species have died. This the course of competition with more
means a loss of biodiversity. Extinction of powerful and stronger species.
species may take place (Figure 7.12) due
8. Man-induced environmental changes
to a variety of causes as given below:
also cause species extinctions.
1. Sudden and rapid changes of Between 1600 and 1900 it is estimated that
environmental conditions one species went extinct every four years.
2. The sudden outbreak of disease and In modern times, the rate is soaring.
pest infections. The graph below (Figure 7.12.) shows
how the rate of extinction of species has
3. Some sudden events like forest fires,
increased over the past 50 years. This
volcanic eruption etc.
could be attributed to the rapid increase
4. Direct hunting and persecution of in population during the same period of
species leading to ‘selective mass time.
extinction. According to IUCN the rate of
5. Ecological substitution by other extinction of mammals and birds had
species of large carnivorous animals started much earlier by 1700 itself at a
which compete for the same food much faster rate as shown in the graph
resources. below (Figure 7.13).

60,000 8,000


Population (Millions)
Extinction Numbers

Human Population
30,000 (Millions) 4,000









Source : USGS Time

Figure 7.12 Species Extinction and Human Population

Cumulative extinctions as % of IUCN - evaluated species



Other Vertebrates

1500-1600 1600-1700 1700-1800 1800-1900 1900-2014

Figure 7.13 Rate of Extinction of animals and birds

7.6.4. Major Threats to Biodiversity or Poaching, Deforestation etc.,
The following are some of the major can influence the life of all the
threats to biodiversity: interdependent species.
Despite rapid efforts in protecting terrestrial
a. Habitat destruction and degradation
and marine habitats, world’s diversity of
b. Invasive alien species-these can species is still dwindling. Since the 1960’s
destroy native species Example, over  100,000  ‘protected areas’ have been
lantana Camera plant in India. established. This represents  11,265,408
c. Climate Change- Example, bleaching sq.km of land and 1,609,344 sq.km of
and loss of coral reefs due to global ocean. Yet, terrestrial and marine species
warming have declined over the same period. This
suggests that the common conservation
d. Pollution of air, water and soil –
strategy of protecting areas of land and
Pollution can alter the growth and life
sea is inadequate. 
of organisms in a great way.
e. Over exploitation of one resource –
Over exploitation through Hunting

Figure 7.14 Causes of Animal extinction

7.7. Conservation of Biodiversity In-situ conservation means the
conservation of species within their
Conservation of bio-diversity is the
natural habitats. This strategy involves
proper management of the biosphere
identification of species rich areas and
by human beings in such a way that
adopting methods to protect it in the form
it gives maximum benefits for the
of National Park or Wildlife Sanctuary
present generation and also develops its
or Biosphere Reserve etc. In this way
potential to meet the needs of the future
biodiversity can be conserved in their
natural habitat from human activities.
The three basic objectives of
Ex-situ conservation involves
biodiversity conservation are :
maintenance and breeding of endangered
(a) To maintain essential ecological plants and animals under partially or
processes and life supporting systems. wholly controlled conditions in specific
(b) To preserve the diversity of species. areas like zoo, gardens, nurseries etc.
Other examples of ex-situ conservation
(c) To make sustainable utilization of
species and ecosystems.
(i) Seed gene bank
There are two types of conservation
methods (Figure 7.15) namely in-situ and (ii) Field gene bank
ex-situ conservations. (iii) Botanical gardens

In-situ Ex situ

Protected Area Sacred plants home

Network gardens

Biosphere Seed banks
Sacred groves parks Wildlife
reserves field gene banks

gardens Arborata
Terrestrial Marine Zoological gardens

Figure 7.15 Biodiversity Conservation methods

7.7.1. Biodiversity conservation in India Table.7.1 Specialised projects in India
India is one of the 17 mega bio-diverse
Sl.No Name of the Project Year
countries of the world (according to
1 Project Tiger 1973
Conservation International). With only
2.4% of the world’s land area, 16.7% of 2 Operation Crocodile 1975
the world’s human population and 18% 3 Project Rhinoceros 1987
of livestock, it contributes about 8% of 4 Project Snow Leopard –
the known global biodiversity. India has a
5 Project Elephant 1988
number of globally important endangered
species like Asiatic lion, Asian elephant, 6 Project Sea Turtle 1999
one-horned rhinoceros, Gangetic river
dolphin, snow leopard, Kashmir stag,
dugong, gharial, great Indian bustard, 5. Specialised projects: To save the
lion tailed macaque etc. The following endangered species of animals,
steps have thus been taken to protect and specialised projects are being
manage the wildlife of the country. implemented with international
cooperation (WWF, UNDP, UNEP,
1. The Government of India enacted IUCN) as well as on a stand-alone basis
the Wild Life (Protection) Act like the following: (Table 7.1)
1972 with the objective of effectively
protecting the wild life of this country More recently, the Black Buck (chinkara)
and to control poaching, smuggling the Great Indian Bustard and the snow
and illegal trade in wildlife and its leopard have been given full or partial
derivatives. legal protection against hunting and trade
throughout India.
2. The National Board for Wildlife
(NBWL)  chaired by the Prime 6. The Protected Areas of India
Minister of India, provides for policy
framework for wildlife conservation Protected areas are those in which human
in the country. occupation is small and exploitation
of resources is limited. These are
3. The  National Wildlife Action
defined according to the categorization
Plan (2002–2016)  was adopted
(Table 7.2.).
in 2002, emphasizing the people’s
There are 4 categories of the Protected
participation and their support for
Areas in India.
wildlife conservation.
4. The Indian Constitution lays the • National Parks,
subject of forests and wildlife in • Wildlife Sanctuaries,
the  Concurrent  list thus laying the
• Conservation Reserves, and
responsibility of wildlife conservation
on both the Centre and the State. • Community Reserves.

Figure 7.16 Biosphere reserves in india

Table 7.2 Protected Areas of India (Jan 2017)

Protected Areas Number Total Area in sq Km % of the Country
National Parks (NPs) 103 40500 1.2
Wild life Sanctuaries (WLSs) 537 118005 3.6
Conservation Reserves (CRs) 67 2350 0.1
Community Reserves 26 47 0.01
Total Protected Areas (PAs) 733 160902 4.91
Source: ENVIS Centre on Wildlife & Protected Areas

National Park buffer zones between established
national parks, wildlife sanctuaries
1. National parks in India are IUCN
and reserved and protected forests of
category II protected areas.
2. A National park is an area with
2. They are called as ‘Conservation
ecological, geomorphological and
Reserves’ if they are uninhabited and
natural significance with rich fauna
completely owned by the Government
and flora, designed to protect and to
of India but used for subsistence by
develop wildlife or its environment.
3. Activities like grazing, hunting,
forestry or cultivation etc. are They are called ‘Community Reserves’ if
strictly prohibited. a part of the land is privately owned.

4. No human activity is permitted inside 7. Biosphere Reserves: A biosphere

the national park. reserve is an area of land or water that
is protected by law in order to support,
5. India’s first national park was
sustain and conserve ecosystems.
established in 1936 as Hailey National
Park, now known as Jim Corbett Biosphere Reserves of India protect
National Park, Uttarakhand. very large areas of natural habitat that
are much bigger than national parks
6. There are 103 national parks in India
or wildlife sanctuaries. Biosphere
(National Wildlife Database, April
reserves may cover multiple national
parks, sanctuaries and reserves which
Wildlife Sanctuary are contiguous.example, the Nilgiri
Biosphere covers: Bandipur National
1. The difference between a Sanctuary Park, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve,
and a national park lies mainly in Silent Valley National Park, Nagarhole
the rights of people living inside. National Park and Mukurthi National
In a Sanctuary, certain rights are Park.(Figure 7.16)
allowed but in a national park, no
rights are allowed for grazing of any • Biosphere reserves are traditionally
livestock. In a wildlife Sanctuary, the organized into 3 interrelated zones,
Chief Wildlife Warden may regulate, known as: Core area, Buffer zone, and
control or prohibit certain activities. Transition zone.

2. There are a total of 537 wildlife • Presently, there are 18 notified

sanctuaries in India. biosphere reserves in India. Ten out
of the eighteen biosphere reserves
Conservation reserves and community are a part of the World Network
reserves in India: of Biosphere Reserves, based on
UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere
1. These terms denote the protected
(MAB) Programmed list.
areas of India which typically act as

8. Some Other Important Conservation Bhairodev Dakav Sonchuri declaring
Sites their own set of rules and regulation
which do not allow hunting, and are
1. Tiger Reserves – Project Tiger
protecting the wildlife against any
was launched by the Government
outside encroachments.
of India in the year 1973 to save
the endangered species of tiger in 3. Bishnoi villages: In and around
the country. Starting from nine (9) Bishnoi villages in Rajasthan, herds
reserves in 1973 the number has now of blackbuck, nilgai and peacocks
grown to fifty (50) in 2016. Table 7.2. can be seen as an integral part of the
gives a list of conservation sites and community and nobody harms them.
their numbers in India.
7.7.2. The Role of GIS in Conservation of
9. Role of communities: Communities Nature
are playing a vital role in the Recently Geographic Information System
conservation and protection of wildlife (GIS) has been used as a tool to identify
in India, example: new areas that need to be conserved. In
1. Sariska Tiger Reserve: In Sariska the last 15 years Remote Sensing and GIS
tiger reserve Rajasthan villagers have has been used to developed gap analysis
fought against mining by citing the as a method to identify biodiversity
wildlife protection act. In many areas, (i.e., species, ecosystems and ecological
villagers themselves are protecting processes) that is not adequately
habitats and explicitly rejecting conserved within a protected area network
government involvement. or through other effective and long-term
conservation measures. Gap analysis
2. Bhairodev Dakav Sonchuri: The is a method of comparison of actual
inhabitants of five villages in the performance with potential or desired
Alwar district of Rajasthan have performance. It was thus developed in
declared 1200 hectares of forests as the response to recognition, that protected
Table7.3 Important Conservation Sites In India ( Dec 2016)
Reserves/Conservation Sites Numbers Total Area in Sqkm.
Tiger Reserves 50 71027
Elephant Reserves 32 69583
Biosphere Reserves 18 87492
RAMSAR Wetland Sites 26 12119
Natural World Heritage Sites 07 11756
Important Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Areas 107 10773
Marine Protected Areas 131 9801
Potential/ Important Bird Areas 563 –
Source: ENVIS Centre on Wildlife & Protected Areas (http://www.wiienvis.nic.in/Database/
areas of all types and in all parts of the Biodiversity is necessary for our
world do not fully protect biodiversity. existence as well as valuable in its own
Gap analysis is usually applied to fairly right. This is because it provides the
large areas of study. fundamental building blocks for the goods
and services that provide us with a healthy
Activity environment.Biodiversity includes
fundamental things to our health like
Identify community conserved areas fresh water clean air and food products, as
in Tamil Nadu and prepare a poster. well as many other products like timber,
medicine and fibre.
Highlight: Biodiversity also includes various
other important things and services such
In 1798, in a small village called
as cultural, recreational and spiritual
Vedanthangal near Chennai, the
nourishment that play an important role
British soldiers shot some storks
in maintaining our personal life and social
in the local wetland. The villagers
stormed the Collector’s office and
made him issue an order not to harm It is therefore the duty of every citizen
the nesting birds. This took place long to conserve this valuable life on earth, the
before the concept of conservation most precious gift we can pass on to the
of biosphere entered our thoughts. future generations.
India has experienced many such
incidents only some of which have
been recorded.

The Asiatic Cheetah of India Becomes Extinct
Cheetah is found in Africa and Asia. It is the fastest land animal on Earth. The
Asiatic cheetah, is slightly smaller than the African cheetah. It has a fawn-coloured
body with black spots and distinctive black “tear marks” running from the corner of
each eye down the side of its nose.
The Asiatic cheetah also known as the Iranian cheetah is a Critically Endangered
subspecies surviving today only in Iran. It was once found in the Arabian Peninsula,
Near East, Kyzyl-Kum desert, Caspian region, Pakistan and India.

Asiatic cheetahs were once widespread across the continent but were eradicated in
India, where they were hunted for sport. The spread of farming also greatly reduced
their numbers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Eventually the animal was wiped out in
Asia to which it was once native.
Cheetah has been known to exist in India for a very long time. They were kept
by Kings and princes, but hunting led to their extinction in the country. In 1948,
Maharajah Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo shot three of the last cheetahs in India, in
Surguja, State of Madhya Pradesh which is present day Northern Chhattisgarh.
The Indian government had plans to reintroduce cheetahs back in India in 2009
but this project has not yet been taken up. 

involves conservation of genetic resources
using many techniques and facilities.
Habitat: The natural home or environment
Boreal: Relating to the region of the earth of an animal, plant, or other organism.
just south of the Arctic, especially its Lagoon: A stretch of salt water separated
plants and animals. from the sea by a low sandbank or coral
Coral polyps: Tiny, soft-bodied organisms reef.
related to sea anemones and jellyfish. At Oasis: A small area in a desert that has supply
their base is a hard, protective limestone of water and is able to support vegetation.
skeleton called a calicle, which forms An oasis forms when groundwater lies close
the structure of coral reefs. Reefs begin enough to the surface to form a spring or to
when a polyp attaches itself to a rock on be reached by wells.
the sea floor, then divides, or buds, into Permafrost: A thick subsurface layer of
thousands of clones. soil that remains below freezing point
Ecologist: A person who studies the throughout the year, occurring chiefly in
natural relationships between the air, Polar Regions.
land, water, animals, plants, etc. Poaching: Trespassing, especially on
Endemic: Native or restricted to a certain another’s game reserve, in order to steal
place.eg. Lion-tailed macaque endemic to animals or to hunt.
the Nilgiris. Sedges: Any grass like plant, typically
Entomologist: A person who studies growing on wet ground and having
or is an expert in the branch of zoology rhizomes, triangular stems, and minute
concerned with insects. flowers. Sedges are found to grow in cold
Ex-Situ Conservation: Ex-situ conservation regions,
is the preservation of components of biological Vulnerable: Exposed to the possibility of
diversity outside their natural habitats. This being attacked or harmed or destroyed;

Evaluation a. Savannah b. Desert
I. Choose the best answer c. Tropical rain forest d. taiga
8. The Temperate grasslands of North
1. Who first proposed the term America.
‘Ecosystem’ ? a. Prairies b. Steppes
a. E.O. Wilson c. Pampas d. Downs
b. I.G. Simmon 9. The Taiga biome extends over the
c. A.G. Tansley latitudes -------------------------------- .
d. Raymond F Dasmann a. 0° to20° North and South
2. What is the main source of energy for b. 30° to 50° N
the earth ? c. 50° to 65° N
a. Moon b. Stars d. beyond 65° N
c. Sun d. Tides 10. Which of the following is not covered
3. What is the position of a rabbit in a by the Nilgiri Biosphere?
food chain? a. Bandipur National Park
a. Primary consumer b. Nagarhole National Park
b. secondary consumer c. NamdaphaNational park
c. tertiary consumer d. Mukurthi National park
d. Quaternary consumer
II. Give short answers:
4. Which organism eats both plants and
11. What is a Biosphere?
a. Herbivores
12. What is meant by biogeochemical cycle?
b. Carnivores
13. Mention the types of biomes.
c. Omnivores
14. Name the different types of coral reefs.
d. Detritivores
15. How many Biodiversity Hotspots are
5. Which of the following is found in there in India? Name them.
the desert biome?
a. Eucalyptus b. Pine III. Give answers in a paragraph:
c. Teak d. Cacti
16. What are Consumers? Explain the
6. Which of the following are native types of consumers.
tribes inhabiting the tropical
17. Write a short note on energy pyramids.
evergreen forests of Africa?
18. What is meant by Species Diversity?
a. Yanomani b. Pygmies
c. Tikuna d. Aborigines
19. Describe how the Asiatic Cheetah
7. The largest number of plant became extinct in India.
species are found in ------------------------------
20. Write a note on National Parks with
IV. Give detailed answers:

21. Mark the areas of the Tropical Rain forest Biomes on the given world map and mention
any four characteristics of them.
22. Distinguish between the Tropical Desert and the Tundra biomes.
23. Explain how species are classified in the Red List of the International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


1. Observe life forms in your local area and draw a food web.
2. Complete the following table
Plants and their Animals and
Sl No Biome Location Climate Adaptation to their Adaptation to
Environment Environment
1. Tropical
Evergreen Rain
2. Tropical
3. Temperate
4. Tropical
Or Savannah
5. Temperate
Grasslands or
6. Deserts
7. Taiga or Boreal
8. Tundra

3. Collect pictures of endangered species of Tamil Nadu and prepare a poster.

Reference Websites

1. Arumugam, N. and V. Kumaresen; 1. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/

Environmental Studies natural-sciences/environment/
2. Bharatdwaj, K;(2006); Physical
Geography: Biogeography. Discovery
Publishing House, New Delhi 2. http://www/wildlifeindia.com/forest-
of-india, html
3. Carson, Rachel (1962); Silent Spring.
Indian Edition. Goa: Other India 3. www.ramsar.org
Press 4. http://edugreen.teri.res.in/explore/
4. Radha, Environmental Studies ( Based forestry/types-html
on UGC Syllabus). Prasana PD 5. https://en.unesco.org/events/4th-
5. Rajagopalan, R. (2005); Environmental world-congress-biosphere-reserves
Studies : from Crisis to Cure. Oxford 6. www.iucnredlist.org/
University Press, New Delhi
7. www.biodiversityhotspots.org/
6. Environmental Studies (E.V.R
8. www.envis.nic.in
University Book)
9. www.uep-wcmc.org
7. Bharucha, Erach; Text Book
For Environmental Studies.
UGC New Delhi and Bharathi
VidyapeethInstitute for
Environmental Education And
Research, Pune
8. Publication division (2004) – Indian
9. BBC documentary, the state of the
planet, - David Attenborough

Biosphere Facing Surface

Explore and evaluate

yourself in World’s

• Use the URL or scan the QR code to download and install “Geography Learning
Trivia Quiz” app in smartphone.
• Click on the ‘clock’ to watch the timeline.
• Enter your name,Select Difficulty level and continents to be evaluated in the quiz.
• Answer the quiz by pinning the balloon on the map, complete the quiz and review the
answers. Check your progress in biosphere using achievement tab and leaderboard tab.

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4

Website URL:

Pictures are indicative only.


Natural Disasters -
Public Awareness
For Disaster Risk

Chapter Outline Learning Objectives:

Learning Objectives:
8.1 Introduction • Define the terms – Disaster Risk
8.2 Public awareness for disaster Reduction, Resilience and Public
risk reduction Awareness.
8.3 Disasters and rules of action for
• Understand the need for public
awareness for disaster risk
8.4 Earthquake
8.5 Landslide reduction.
8.6 Cyclone • Explain the rules of actions for
8.7 Flood disasters.
8.8 Drought • Learn and experience the various
8.9 Lightning mock drills for disasters.

8.1 Introduction Recognizing the importance of

Disaster Risk Reduction in 2005, 168
On an average, 232 million people are governments and all leading development
affected by different types of disasters and humanitarian actors signed the Hyogo
every year. In recent years disaster risks Framework for Action (HFA), committing
have been on the rise due to factors themselves to a ten-year multi-stakeholder
such as population growth, unplanned and multi-sector plan to invest in disaster
urbanization, environmental degradation, risk reduction as a means to building
conflicts and competition for scarce disaster-resilient societies.
resources, climate change, disease
Public awareness campaigns can be
epidemics, poverty and pressure from
started modestly and tailored to meet
development within high-risk zones.
the needs of specific populations and
Hence, disaster risk reduction is the need
target groups. These approaches can
of hour.
be integrated into almost all existing the awareness of public for disaster risk
initiatives, whenever and wherever they reduction. Every school has to setup the
take place. They can build on and support following school disaster committees:
existing volunteer mobilisation and peer- 1. Coordination Committees
to-peer communications. To support
2. Awareness generation Team
this, it requires strong and unified
disaster reduction messages and clear 3. Search Rescue and Evacuation Team
and targeted information, education and 4. Site safety Team
communication materials. 5. First Aid Team
6. Warning and Information Team
8.2 Public awareness for disaster risk
7. Bus safety Team
8. Water / Food Arrangement Team.
There are four key approaches to public
awareness for disaster risk reduction: All the teams should participate in the
Campaigns, participatory learning, mock drill.
informal education, and formal school-
based interventions. Mock drills
Let’s take formal school based Mock drills form a vital part of the
interventions to learn in detail. school disaster management process,
Formal school-based interventions: and provide an intensive learning
The focus of formal school-based experience. They should be followed
interventions cover two areas: school by reflection and assessment by all
disaster management and disaster risk members of the school community.
reduction in school curricula. These Lessons learned are incorporated into
are considered to be formal because the school disaster management plan,
accountability and responsibility for and goals set for improvement next
school safety and curricula belong time. Depending on hazards faced,
exclusively to education authorities, there are several major types of drills
so they require support for long-term that can be practiced:
planning and capacity building.
School disaster management: The
Disasters and Rules of actions during
primary goals of school disaster management
are to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Sustained school disaster management 8.3.1 Earthquake
requires the familiar participatory and An earthquake is sudden, rapid shaking of
ongoing process of identification of hazards the ground caused by the shifting of rocks
and risks, mitigation and reduction of risks, beneath the earth’s surface. Earthquakes
and developing response capacity. strike suddenly without warning and
A school disaster management plan, can occur at anytime. The impacts of the
developed at the school level, should earthquakes include deaths, injuries and
be the living document that expresses damage of property. You have learned
Nepal – India Earthquake
The April 2015 Nepal Earthquake (also known as the Gorkha Earthquake) killed
nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000. It occurred on 25 April, with a
magnitude of 8.1 Richter scale. Its epicentre was east of Gorkha District at Barpak.
It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake.
The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing 21 people making
April 25, 2015 the deadliest day on Nepal’s history. The earthquake triggered another
huge avalanche in the Langtang Valley, where 250 people were reported missing.

Figure 8.1. Nepal Earthquake, 2015

Rules of actions during an earthquake:

Students’ activity
1. Stay calm, do not panic.
Mock drill: Earthquake. 2. If you are in a building, sit down on
the floor under a table or any other
In case we are inside the class when furniture and firmly hold on to it until
earthquake occurs, instruct loudly the earthquake has stopped.
“earth quake position – drop, cover,
3. If there is no table nearby, cover your
and hold on”. Drop down on your
face and head with your hands and sit
knee. Cover your head, neck and face.
on the floor in a corner of the room.
Go under a table to protect your head.
4. Keep away from glass windows, glass
doors and things that can fall down.
about occurrence of the earthquake and 5. Do not try to leave the building quickly;
other related information in the earlier during earthquakes people mostly
part of the book. die because they try to run out of the

building and become trapped under
ruins if the building is destroyed.
6. Do not go to the staircase, a balcony or
an elevator.
7. If you are in the street, keep away from
buildings; try to get into an open space
and avoid power transmission lines.
8. If you are at home, turn off electrical
equipment and gas quickly.
9. If you are in chemistry class or a Figure 8.2. Drop, Cover, Hold-Mock drill
laboratory where chemicals are stored,
try to leave the room because chemicals
may cause injuries; influence of gravity. Landslides can be
caused by rainfall, snowmelt, stream
After earthquake:
erosion, and flood, earthquakes, volcanic
1. First check if you have any injuries, activity, disturbance by human activities,
and then check the condition of the or any combination of these factors.
surrounding people. If you cannot do
Landslides  cause property damage,
this, wait for the rescue team;
injury and death and adversely affect a
2. After the earthquake when you leave variety of resources. For example, water
the shelter, do not return for 2-3 hours supplies, fisheries, sewage disposal
because the quakes may repeat (an systems, forests, dams and roadways can
aftershock). be affected.
3. Check if there is fire; in case of a mild
During a Landslide
one try to extinguish it.
1. Listen for any unusual sounds that
4. Be cautious about the possibility of
might indicate moving debris, such as
gas leakage and damage caused to
trees cracking or boulders knocking
electrical wiring.
5. Be careful while opening wardrobe
2. If you are near a river, be alert for
doors to take necessary items;
any sudden increase or decrease in
6. Use only lanterns; do not use an oil water flow and for a change from clear
lamp or a candle. to muddy water. Such changes may
7. Listen to the radio to receive indicate landslide activity upstream, so
information about the earthquake. be prepared to move quickly.
3. Be alert especially when driving.
8.3.2 Landslide Embankments along roadsides are
A landslide is defined as the movement particularly susceptible to landslides.
of a mass of rock debris down a slope. 4. Disconnect the power supply in the
Landslides are caused by the direct areas of landslide.

After the Landslide Nicobar and Lakshadweep are also prone
1. Stay away from the slide area. There to cyclones.
may be danger of additional slides Districts in Tamil Nadu which are
2. Check for injured and trapped persons frequently affected by cyclones: All the 13
near the slide, without entering the coastal Districts of Tamil Nadu are affected
direct slide area. by cyclonic storms which occur during May-
3. Direct rescuers to their locations. June and in October-November months.
These Districts are: Tiruvallur, Chennai,
4. Listen to local radio or television for
Kancheepuram, Villupuram, Cuddalore,
the latest emergency information
Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur,
5. Watch for flooding, which may occur Pudukkottai, Ramanathapuram, Tuticorin,
after a landslide or debris flow. Tirunelveli and Kanniyakumari.
On an average, about five or six tropical
8.3.3 Cyclone
cyclones form in the Bay of Bengal and
The major natural disaster that affects the Arabian sea and hit the coast every year.
coastal regions of India is cyclone and as Out of these, two or three are severe.
India has a coastline of about 7516 km; When a cyclone approaches to the
it is exposed to nearly 10 percent of the coast, a risk of serious loss or damage
world’s tropical cyclones. occurs from severe winds, heavy rainfall,
About 71 percent of flood prone areas storm surges and river floods. The effect of
are in ten states (Gujarat, Maharashtra, a storm surge is most pronounced in wide
Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and shallow bays exposed to cyclones such
Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and as in the northern part of Bay of Bengal.
West Bengal). The islands of Andaman, Most cyclones occur in the Bay of Bengal

Figure 8.3. Forces of Cyclonic wind

Figure 8.4. Effects of Cyclone

followed by those in the Arabian Sea and During a cyclone

the ratio is approximately 4:1. During the 1. If you are in a building during a strong
cyclonic of cyclonic storms, wind speed is gust, it is necessary to close and fasten
between 65 km/h and117 km/h. windows and doors. It is better to stay in
Rules of action before a cyclone the rooms.
1. Go to high-lying places from low-lying 2. Turn off all electrical devices.
areas 3. Protect yourself with your hands or a
2. Those residing in old buildings should scarf. Protect the eyes, nose and mouth
temporarily relocate to safer buildings; from dust.
Jewels and documents should be kept 4. If you are in a wildlife area, try to find
in safe custody. a place protected from the wind. If
3. Battery-operated radio, plastic torch- there is no such place nearby, lie down
light, lamp, kerosene, match-box on the ground.
should be kept safely for future use.
5. If you are in a car it is better to stay
4. Keep in ready all the first-aid kit and there and close the windows. Do not
material available with you. park the car under unstable objects
5. Keep in stock foodstuffs, material, fuel, that can break down and fall on the
drinking water and life-saving drugs car.
needed for the next week.
After cyclone
6. It is also important to take cattle and
other pets to safer places. 1. Turn off electricity, gas and water and
unplug all electric appliances.
7. It is important to know that if we see
quickly approaching storm clouds it 2. Beware of snakes and other animals
is possible to predict strong winds immediately after the cyclone.
several minutes in advance. 3. Do not go for sightseeing.
4. Stay away from damaged power lines,
falling trees and flood water. Mock Drill means
Practicing of some-
5. Boil and purify water before drinking.
thing that can happen
8.3.4 Flood in future so that it can
be easily dealt with in.
Flood destructions have always brought
miseries to numerous people, especially in
rural areas. Flood results in the outbreak namely, the monsoon, the highly silted
of serious epidemics, specially malaria river systems and the steep highly erodible
and cholera. Simultaneously, scarcity of mountains, particularly those of the
water also arises. It has a drastic effect on Himalayan ranges. The average rainfall
agricultural produce. Sometimes, water in India is 1,150 mm with significant
remains standing over large areas for long variation across the country. The annual
span of time hampering the Rabi crops. rainfall along the western coast and the
India is one of the most flood prone Western Ghats, Khasi hills and over most
countries in the world. The principal of the Brahmaputra valley amounts to
reasons for flood lie in the very nature of more than 2,500 mm. Twenty-three of
natural ecological systems in this country, the states (29) and union territories (6)

Fact File
Tropical Cyclone Vardha hit Chennai  on 12 December, 2016. National Disaster
Management Authority (NDMA) reports that at least 10 people have died in Tamil Nadu.
Maximum sustained wind speeds of over 130 km/h were recorded, and the storm
has caused severe damage to parts of the city of Chennai. Over 4,000 trees have been
uprooted, power lines downed and buildings damaged.

NDRF teams clear up damage after Cyclone Vardha. Photo: NDRF

in the country are subject to floods and Do’s before flood
40 million hectares of land, roughly one- 1. Keep furniture and electrical
eighth of the country’s geographical area, appliances on beds and tables
is prone to floods. The National Flood 2. Put sandbags in the toilet bowl and
Control Program was launched in the cover all drain holes to prevent sewage
country in 1954. back flow.

Statewise water reservoir levels in India


48% Departure from 10-year average
water reservoir levels

10% 92%

45% 234%
75% 60%



Not to Scale

Figure 8.5. Statewise water reservoir levels in India

3. Keep your mobile charged
4. Listen to radio or watch television for
the latest weather bulletin and flood
5. Keep strong ropes, a lantern, battery
operated torches, extra batteries ready.
6. Keep umbrellas and bamboo sticks
with you for protection from snakes.

8.3.5 Drought
Figure 8.7. Drought condition
The above map shows most the acute
shortage of water in Tamil Nadu in 10
years. ( 2017) percent areas receive rainfalls less than
750 mm is considered to be chronically
drought prone.
Rules of action before, during and after
Before drought:
1. Rainwater harvesting should be
2. Sewage water should be recycled and
used for domestic purpose.
3. Building canals or redirecting rivers
Figure 8.6. Crops affected by Drought for irrigation.
4. Utilise water economically.
Drought is a period of time (months or
years) during which a part of the land has During drought:
shortage of rain, causing severe damage 1. Wear cotton clothing and a hat.
to the soil, crops, animals, and people. 2. In case of overheating, immediately
It sometimes causes even death. During move to a shady area.
drought high temperature is experienced.
3. Consume adequate amounts of
Such conditions may affect our health.
water stay.
The primary cause of drought is
deficiency of rainfall and in particular, the After drought:
timing, distribution and intensity. 1. If anyone faints after sunstroke,
In India around 68 percent of the emergency medical measures should be
country is prone to drought. Of the taken.
entire area 35 percent receives rain falls 2. Contact local government agencies to
between 750 mm and 1,125 mm which receive information about disaster and
is considered drought prone while 33 assistance for the population.
8.3.6 Lightning
• Lightning flashes
Lightning is an atmospheric electrostatic more than 3 million
discharge (spark) accompanied by times a day or 40 times
thunder, which typically occurs during a second worldwide.
thunderstorms, and sometimes during
• An average lightning bolt can
volcanic eruptions or dust storms.
release enough energy to operate a
Lightning generates 10-20 ampere current
100-watt light bulb for more than
three months straight (about 250
• You can hear kilowatt-hours of energy).
thunder from about
16 km of its starting
point. a tree branch. The heat travels through the
tree, vaporizing its sap and creating steam
• Lightning bolts travel at the speed that causes the trunk to explode.
of up to 80,000 km / second.
Before lightning
• The average length of a single
1. If you are planning to go to the
lightning bolt is 3-4km.
countryside, check the weather
and it is therefore fatal. It is especially 2. If a thunderstorm is expected it is
dangerous for people in an open area. better to postpone the trip.
Lightning strikes often have fatal 3. It is good if you can estimate the distance
consequences. On an average, 2000 people to the front line of a thunderstorm. In
die from lightning in the world every year. order to do this you must check the
Lightning mostly strikes tall things, such time interval from the moment you see
as trees that break down and catch fire the lightning until you hear thunder.
or it may strike power transmission lines Lightning always precedes thunder.
and antennas fastened We know that the sound speed travels
on roofs and buildings on average about 1km every 3 seconds.
which causing fire. The Reduction of the time interval between
air temperature, when the sight of lightning and the resulting
lightning occurs, is as thunder means that the danger is
hot as 9982.2 °C. approaching and protective measures
Thunder is the sound caused by must be taken. If there is no interval
lightning. A charged, superheated between lightning and thunder means,
lightning bolt creates a “resonating tube” it means that the cloud is already over
as it travels. The air in the tube rapidly your head.
expands and contracts causing vibrations During Lightning:
that we hear as the rumble of thunder. 1. If you are in a building it is necessary
Lightning strikes can explode a tree. to close windows, doors, ventilation
Imagine 15 million volts of electricity hitting pipes and chimneys.
Figure 8.8. Lightning

2. It is necessary to turn off the telephone, It is dangerous to stand or lie down on

TV set, and other electrical equipment the ground, because this increases the
because lightning may strike electrical exposure area.
cables and pass through wiring. 8. It is necessary to get rid of metal items
3. Do not take a shower because both such as a bicycle, coins etc.
water and metal conduct electricity. 9. Do not stand under an umbrella.
4. Do not light the fireplace because the
10. Do not run during the occurrence
heat coming from the chimney may
of lightning; move slowly towards
attract lightning.
a shelter because the air flow may
5. It is better to stay away from electric attract lightning;
wires, lightning rods, water pipes,
11. If you are in a car, do not get out. It is
antennas and windows.
better to close the windows and turn
6. If you are in an open area during a
of the antenna. Do not park your car
thunderstorm, do not stand under a
under tall trees or any structures that
tall tree. Lighting is most damaging
may fall down and hit you.
for tall trees. It is better to stay
30-40 meters away from them. Avoid 12. If there is an injured person next to
trees that are standing separately. you, remember that the victim may
Remember that lightning does not lose consciousness. It is necessary to
strike bushes. provide first aid.
7. If the area is open, it is better to find a 13. Cover your mouth with a wet cloth in
lower place or a cavity and squat there. order to protect your lungs.

Student activity
Read the following rules for lightning and practice the mock drill as given below.
1. Follow the 30/30 rule.
2. If there are less than 30 seconds between thunder and lightning, you are in danger.
3. Get inside and stay there until 30 minutes after the last lightning flash.
4. practice lightning crouch
5. If you see or feel lightning and there is nowhere to go for shelter, immediately
squat down.
6. Balance on the balls of your feet, touch your heels together.
7. Cover your ears.
8. This way the charge may go through your back in to the ground without harming
your vital organs.

and the actions that can be taken, to

reduce vulnerability to hazards.
7. Resilience: The ability of a society
1. Disaster: A serious disruption of the exposed to hazards to resist, absorb,
functioning of a society involving adapt to and recover from the effects
human, and material, and impacts of a disaster.
that exceed the ability of the affected
8. Hyogo Framework for Action – A
society to cope using its own resources.
global blueprint for disaster risk
2. Disaster risk reduction: The practice reduction efforts between 2005
of reducing disaster risks through and 2015 – by providing specific
systematic efforts to analyze and operational guidance for promoting
manage the causal factors of disasters. disaster risk reduction.
3. Mitigation : The lessening of the
adverse impacts of hazards and related
disasters I Choose the best
4. Preparedness: The capacity developed answer from the
by organizations, to effectively given below.
anticipate, respond to, and recovers 1. On an average
from the impacts of disaster events. million
5. Prevention: The outright avoidance of people are affected by different types of
adverse impacts of hazards and related disasters every year.
disasters. a) 423 b) 232
6. Public awareness: The extent of c) 322 d) 332
common knowledge about disaster
risks, the factors that lead to disasters
2. The Hyogo Frame work for Action c) 87 % d) 67 %
(HFA) was signed by the 168 10.