Earth’s Physical Systems

Geography
Biosphere
The part of the earth where life exists.
Mantle
Thick middle later of the earth’s interior structure, consisting of dense, hot rock.
Desalination
The removal of salt from sea water to make it useable for drinking and farming.
Permafrost
Permanentaly frozen later of soil beneath the surface of the ground.
Hydrospere
The watery areas of the earth, including oceans, lakes, river, and other bodies of water.
Comets
A celestial body, observed only in that part of its orbit that is relatively close to the sun.
Subduction
A process by which mountains can form as sea plates dive beneath continental plates.
Moraine
Piles of rocky debris left by melting glaciers.
Doldrums
A frequently windless area near the equator.
Windward
Facing toward the direction from which the wind is blowing.
Decidous
Trees, usually broad leaved such as oak and maple, that lose thir leaves in autumn.
Lithosphere
Surface land areas of the earth’s crust, including continents and ocean basins.
Terrestrial Planets
Any of the four planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, or Mars, that are nearest the sun and have similar size and density.
Accreation
A slow process in which a sea plate slides under a continental place, creating debris that can cause continents to grow outwards.
Fault
A crack or break in the earth’s crust.
Loess
Fine, yellowish-brown topsoil made up of particles of silt and clay, usually carried by the wind.
Aquifer
Underground water-bearing layer of porous rock, sand, or gravel.
Leeward
Facing away from the direction from which the wind is blowing.
Chaparral
Type of vegetation made up of dense forests of shrubs and short trees, common in Mediterranean climates.
Coniferous
Trees that have cones and needle-shaped leaves, including may evergreens that keep their foliage throughout the winter.

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