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General Studies PDF

General Studies : Geography

Solar System

The solar system consists of the Sun; the eight planets, more than 130 satellites of the planets,
and a large number of small bodies
The planets are divided into inner or terrestrial planets which have higher densities e.x. Mercury,
Venus, Earth and Mars and outer planets which have lower densities e.g. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus
and Neptune.
1. Mercury
Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. It orbits in a highly elliptical orbit ranging from 46 million
km (29 million miles) from the Sun out to 70 million km (43.5 million miles).
• It takes about 88 earth days to orbit the sun but rotates on it’s axis once every 59 earth
days. Because of the slow rotation, a single day on Mercury (mid day to mid day) takes
176 Earth days.
• It has no atmosphere and no satellite.
• Its days are scorching hot and nights are frigid.
2. Venus
Venus is the second closest planet to the Sun and orbits in an almost circular orbit at 108 million
km. As it orbits, Venus comes closer to earth than any other planet in the solar system and can
come to within about 40 million km.
• Venus takes about 225 earth days to orbit the Sun and rotates at the incredibly slow
rate of once every 243 days – and in a clockwise direction
• Venus is considered as ‘Earth’s-twin’ because its size and shape are very much similar to
that of the earth.
• It is also called the ‘morning’ or ‘evening star’.
• It is probably the hottest planet because its atmosphere contains 90-95% of carbon
• It has no satellite.
3. The Earth
The third closest planet to the sun is earth and is the largest and densest of the inner planets.
Earth orbits in a reasonably circular at 150 million km and is the first of the planets to have a
• Earth takes 365.25 earth days to orbit the Sun and rotates once every 23 hours, 56
minutes and 4 seconds. Because it rotates around the sun the length of a day on earth
(sunrise to sunrise) takes 24 hours.
4. Mars
Mars is the fourth closest planet to the Sun and orbits in an fairly eccentric orbit at around 230
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(+-20) million km.

• Mars takes about 686 earth days to orbit the Sun. It has a tilt (25.1 degrees) and
rotational period (24 hour 37 minutes) which are both similar to the earth with a day
(sunrise to sunrise) lasting 24 hours, 39 mins. Because of the tilt it also has seasons in the
same way as the earth does.
• Beneath its atmosphere, Mars is barren, covered with pink soil and boulder. Because of this
it is known as ‘red planet’.
• Phobos and Deimos are two moons of mars
5. Jupiter
Jupiter is the fifth closest planet to the Sun and is the first of what are called the outer planets
(being outside the asteroid belt). It is by far the largest planet in the solar system having two and
a half times as much mass as all the other planets put together and one thousandth the mass of
the Sun.
• Jupiter orbits the Sun once every 12 years.
• It is presumed to have a rocky core surrounded by a sea of liquid metallic hydrogen which
forms a ball 110,000km in diameter.
• Europa, Ganymede and Callisto are the important moons of Jupiter
6. Saturn
Saturn is the sixth closest planet to the Sun. It is the second largest planet in the solar system
having a radius 9 times that of earth (57,000 km) and a mass 95 times that of earth.
• Saturn orbits the Sun once very 29 years (at about 1400 million km) and is mainly
comprised of gas (96% hydrogen and 3% helium) and is presumed to have a rocky core
surrounded by a sea of liquid metallic hydrogen which forms a ball some 56,000km in
• The upper layers are thought to comprise of liquid water, ammonium hydrosulfide,
hydrogen and helium.
• It has 21 known satellites. Among them Titan, Phobe, Tethys and Mimas are important.
7. Uranus
It is the only planet that lies on its side. Hence, one pole or the other faces the sun as it orbits.
• It is one of the coldest planets because of having an average temperature of -223?C.
• Its atmosphere is made of mainly hydrogen. The landscape is barren and there is frozen
methane cloud.
• There are 9 dark compact rings around the planet and a corkscrew shaped magnetic
8. Neptune
It is the most distant planet from the sun.
• There are five rings of Neptune. The outer ring seems to be studded with icy moon lets
while the inner ring appears narrow and nearly solid.

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Special name of the Planets

Special Name of the Planet Planet Original Name

Biggest Planet Jupiter
Biggest satelite of solar system Ganymede
Blue Planet Earth
Brightest Planet Venus
Brightest Star Sirius(Dog star )
Coldest Star Proxima Centauri
Coldest Planet Neptune
Densest Planet Venus
Earth’s twin Venus
Farthest Neptune
Fastest revolution around the sun Mercury
God of beauty Venus
Green Planet Neptune
Heaviest Planet Jupiter
Highest density planet of solar Earth
Hottest Planet Venus
Lightest density planet of solar Saturn ( 0.7 )
Morning Star/ Evening Star Venus
Nearest Planet to Sun Mercury

Nearest Planet to earth Venus

Nearest Star from earth Sun
Nearest Star from Sun Proxima century
Planet having maximum number of Jupiter ( 63 )
Planet having Red spot Jupiter
Red Planet Mars
Satelite of earth Moon
Sister of earth Venus
Slowest rotation around the sun Neptune
Smallest Planet Mercury
Smallest Satelite of solar system Phobos

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Motion of the Earth , Equinoxes and Solstice

The earth has two main motions:

(i) Rotation
(ii) Revolution.
The earth rotates around its axis. The axis is an imaginary line passing through the centre of the
earth. The earth completes one rotation in 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4.09 seconds to be exact. The
earth rotates from west to east. The period of rotation is known as the earthday.
Effects of the Rotation of the Earth:
● Causation of day and night
● This leads to the difference of 1 hour between two meridians which are 15°apart.
● Deflection of ocean currents and winds.
● Rise and fall of tides every day
It is earth’s motion in its elliptical orbit around the sun. One revolution is completed in 365 1/4
days, resulting in one extra day everyfourth year. The year, consisting of 366 days is called a
“leap year” having 29 days in the month of February.
• A year is usually divided into summer, winter, spring and autumn seasons. Seasons
change due to the change in the position of the earth around the sun.
• On 21st June, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the sun. The rays of the sun
falldirectly on the Tropic of Cancer. As a result, these areas receive more heat. The
areas near the poles receive less heat as the rays of the sun are slanting. There is
longest day and shortest night in northern hemisphere on this day. While in Southern
hemisphere completely opposite happened.This position of the earth is called the
• On 22nd December, the Tropic of Capricorn receives direct rays of the sun as the
South Pole tilts towards it. So, it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere with longer
days and shorter nights. The reverse happens in the Northern Hemisphere. This
position of the earth is called the Winter Solstice
• On 21st March and September 23rd, direct rays of the sun fall on the equator. At this
position, neither of the poles is tilted towards the sun; so, the whole earth experiences
equal days and equal nights. This is called an equinox.
Earth Clouds are masses of minute water droplets and / or ice crystals formed by the
condensation of water vapour and held in suspension in the atmosphere. Condensation, which
results from cooling, usually takes place around nuclei such as dust, smoke particles and salt.

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Internal Structure of Earth

The Crust of Earth
* It is the outermost and the thinnest layer of the earth’s surface, about 8 to 40 km thick. The
crust varies greatly in thickness and composition – as small as 5 km thick in some places beneath
the oceans, while under some mountain ranges it extends up to 70 km in depth.
* The crust is made up of two layers- an upper lighter layer called the Sial (Silicate + Aluminium)
and a lower density layer called Sima (Silicate + Magnesium).
* The average density of this layer is 3 gm/cc.
Earth's crust is made up of several elements: oxygen - 47 percent; silicon - 27 percent;
aluminum - 8 percent; iron - 5 percent; calcium-4 percent; magnesium, potassium and sodium -
2 percent. The crust is divided into huge plates that float on the mantle, the next layer.
The Mantle of Earth
* This layer extends up to a depth of 2900 km.
* Mantle is made up of 2 parts: Upper Mantle or Asthenosphere (up to about 500 km) and Lower
Mantle. Asthenosphere is in a semi-molten plastic state, and it is thought that this enables the
lithosphere to move about it. Within the asthenosphere, the velocity of seismic waves is
considerably reduced (Called ‘Low Velocity Zone’).
* The line of separation between the mantle and the crust is known as Mohoviricic Discontinuity.
The Core of Earth
* Beyond a depth of 2900 km lies the core of the earth.
* The outer core is 2100 km thick and is in molten form due to excessive heat out there. Inner
core is 1370 km thick and is in plastic form due to the combined factors of excessive heat and
pressure. It is made up of iron and nickel (Nife) and is responsible for earth’s magnetism. This
layer has the maximum specific gravity.
* The temperatures in the earth’s core lie between 2200°c and 2750°c.
* The line of separation between the mantle and the core is called Gutenberg-Wiechert

Structure of Atmosphere
The Atmosphere is divided into layers according to major changes in temperature. Gravity
pushes the layers of air down on the earth's surface.
Layer nearest to earth’s surface. Thickness varies from 8 km at the poles to 16 km at the equator.
● All weather phenomenons occur here.
● Densest of all and contains water vapour, moisture and dust.
● Dust particles present in this layer hold the water vapour and contribute to the occurrence of
twilight and the red colours of sunlight and sunset.
● In this, at every 165 m there is a drop of 1°c (or 6.4°c per km). This is called Normal Lapse
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Rate of Temperature.
● Tropopause separates troposphere from stratosphere.
Extends from 16 km to 50 km ht. The temperature ceases to fall with the increase of height in this
● Little weather is generated here as there is very little water vapour and virtually no dust
● Stratosphere provides ideal conditions for flying large airplanes.
● Contains ozone (25-30 km from earth’s surface), region being called Ozonosphere. It
absorbs the ultra-violet rays from the sun. This layer has a comparatively higher
temperature due to the absorption of ultra-violet radiation from the sun (temperature
increases as we go up).
● It extends till 80–85 km.
● It is the coldest place on Earth and has an average temperature around −85 degree celcius.
● Extends to about 80-600 km.
● Also protects earth from harmful radiation. This causes increase in temperature with height
in this layer.
● It also protects earth from falling meteorites, as most of them burn out in this region.
● Here the earth’s gravity is extremely weak.
● Upper limit quite uncertain.
● The outer part is called Magnetosphere.
The ionized particles increase in frequency with increasing heights. There are 2 belts in the upper
atmosphere having a high concentration of ionized particles. They are known as Van Allen’s
Radiation Belts. The inner belt lies about 2600 km from the earth’s surface, while the outer lies at
about 13,000 to 19,000 km from it. These belts represent concentrations of highly charged
particles, protons and electrons from the sun, trapped within lines of force of the earth’s external
magnetic field- the Magnetosphere.

Types of Clouds

High Clouds (mean height 6 to 13 km):

1. Cirrus: do not give precipitation.
2. Cirro-cumulus: Thin, white patch; sheet or layer of cloud;
3. Cirro-stratus: mainly formed of ice-crystals.

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Middle Clouds (mean height 2 to 6 km.):

1. Alto-cumulus: composed of super-cooled liquid droplets.
2. Alto-stratus: precipitation may fall either as fine drizzle or snow.
3. Nimbo-stratus: it is a rain, snow or sleet cloud; never accompanied by lightening,
thunder or hail.
Low Clouds (mean height 0 to 2 km.):
1. Strato-cumulus
2. Stratus: difficult to differentiate between high fog and stratus.
3. Cumulus: they dissipate at night.
4. Cumulo-nimbus: These clouds are associated with heavy rainfall, thunder, lightning and hail;
have flat top and a flat base; it obstructs the sun.

Indian River System: Himalayan Rivers of India

Indus River System:

The Indus originates in the northern slopes of the Kailash range in Tibet near Lake Manasarovar.
It enters Indian territory in Jammu and Kashmir.
• It has a large number of tributaries in both India and Pakistan and has a total length of
about 2897 km from the source to the point near Karachi where it falls into the Arabian
Sea. The main tributaries of the Indus in India are Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.
The Jhelum originates in the south-eastern part of Kashmir, in a spring at Verinag.
The Chenab originates from the confluence of two rivers, the Chandra and the Bhaga, which
themselves originate from either side of the Bara Lacha Pass in Lahul. It is also known as the
Chandrabhaga in Himachal Pradesh.
The Ravi originates near the Rotang pass in the Kangra Himalayas and follows a north-westerly
The Beas originates in Beas Kund, lying near the Rohtang pass It joins the Sutlej river near
Harika, after being joined by a few tributaries. The total length of the river is 615 km.
The Sutlej originates from the Rakas Lake, which is connected to the Manasarovar lake by a
stream, in Tibet.
Ganga River System:
• It is 2525 km long
• Ganga is the longest river of India in term of total drainage area .
• The Ganga, originates from Gangotri named as Bhagirathi which combine with Alaknanda
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at Devprayag to form Ganga.

Tributaries of Ganga:
1. Yamuna ( 1375 km ) is its most important tributary (on right bank). It rises at the
Yamunotri glacier in Uttarakhand. It runs parallel to Ganga for 800km and joins it at
Allahabad. Important tributaries of Yamuna are : a) Chambal ( 1050 km ) which rises from
Vindhyas hill near Indore(M.P), Betwa ( 480 km ) .
2. Ghaghra ( 1080 km ), Originated from Tibetan Plateau near Lake Mansarovar.
3. Son ( 780 km ),which rises from Amarkantak Plateau(M.P)
4. Gandak ( 425 km ),Originates from Nhubine Himal Glacier in the Mustang region of
5. Kosi ( 730 km ),Kosi is infamous as ‘Sorrow of Bihar. This river is also called as
“Saptkoshi”. Originated from hills of Nepal and Tibet.
6. Gomti ( 805 km ), originated from Gomat Taal near Pillibhit(U.P), India.
7. Damodar ( 541 km ). Damodar gets the name ‘Sorrow of Bengal’ as these cause floods in
these regions.Originated from Chota Nagpur Plateau(Jharkhand).
Brahmaputra River System:
The Brahmaputra originates in the Mansarovar lake, also the source of the Indus and the Satluj.
• It is slightly longer than the Indus, but most of its course lies outside India.
• In Tibet, the river is known as the Tsangpo. There, it receives less volume of water and has
less silt.
• The shifting of the channels of the river is also very common. The fury of the river during
rains is very high. It is known for creating havoc in Assam and Bangladesh. At the same
time, quite a few big pockets suffer from drought.
• It has a total length of 2900 km
• Important Tributaries : Subansiri, Kameng, Dhansiri, Manas, Teesta.
• In Bangladesh, Brahmaputra is known by the name of Jamuna while Ganga gets the name
Padma. Their combined stream is known as Meghna .

Peninsular Rivers of India

The peninsular rivers fall into two categories, viz., the coastal rivers and the inland rivers. The
former are comparatively small streams. The west-coast rivers are of great importance. Although
only 3 percent of the areal extent of the basins of India is drained by these rivers, as much as 14
percent of the country’s water resources are contained by them.
Rivers rising from the Western Ghats: the Godavari, the Krishna, the Cauvery, the Pennar,
the Palar, the Vaigai etc.
Rivers flowing into the Arabian Sea: The Narmada, the Tapi, the Sharavati etc.
Rivers originating in the Vindhyas and Satpura but flowing north-east towards Ganga:
The Chambal, the Betwa, the Damodar, the Son, the Ken etc. The Narmada and the Tapi flow in
the fault created by them during the Himalayan uplift.

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Types Of Vegetations

Climate can be classified on the basis of temperature, precipitation, evaporation and their
seasonal characteristics. The classification scheme of W. Koppen is the most popular system and
universally accepted. A classification of the world climatic types is given ahead:
Tropical Rain Forest/Equatorial Forest Type Extent:
● 5°N to 5°S; Amazon Basin, ZaireBasin, Malaysia, Indonesia.
● Average daily temperature: 25°C throughout the year
● Rainfall: Convectional, throughout the year. No dry season.
● Annual rainfall: 150 to 200 cm.
● Characteristics: Hot wet condition throughout the year favours rich vegetation.
Tropical Grassland/Savanna Type Extent:
● 5°N to 15°N & 5°S to 15°S; Africa,East & central S. America, Transitional
● zone between Monsoon and desert climates of Australia.
● Monthly mean temperature: 32°C in summer and 20°C in winter.
● Annual rainfall: 50 to 100 cm.
● Characteristics:Distinct dry season in winter. Rainfall is in summer owing to
convectional ascent of air. They have tropical grassland with scattered trees. Some
examples are:
● Llanos: Colombian Highland.
● Campos: SE highland of Brazil,
● Granchaco: Argentina & Uruguay.
● Savanna: Australia and Africa.
Tropical Monsoon Type
● Extent: South-east and East Asia, N. Australia, India, Myanmar, Thailand and South
● Annual rainfall may exceed 150 cm. along the coast
● Characteristics:Strongly developed dry season and the rainfall of the driest mouth is less
than 6 cm. Great contrast in temperature between summer and winter.
Tropical Deserts Extent:
● Western margin of the continent, e. g. , Colorado Desert, Mexican, Sahara & Kalahari
Desert etc.
Mid-Latitude/Temperate Deserts
● It extended to the Mongolia, Gobi, Patagonia,Parts of Soviet, Central CIS.
● Average annual temperature: above 18°C
● Charactereristic:Winter is colder because of its interior location. Some are intermountain

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Mild-Humid Climate with a Dry Winter/ China Type

Extent:Along the eastern margin of the continent in sub-tropical belt; 25°-35° in both the
hemispheres; Central China, S.E.-USA, South Bengal; Eastern Argentina, S.E.-Africa, S.E.-
Australia, S-Brazil, S-Japan.
Mid-Humid Climate with Dry Summer/ Mediterranean Type
Extent: 30° to 45° L on western side of the continent in both hemispheres; Around the
Mediterranean sea, in S. Europe, N. Africa,California coast, Central Chile etc.
Snowy Forest Climate with moist Winter/ Taiga
● Extent: beyond 60° N in Europe, Asia and N. America.
● Annual rainfall: 30 to 40 cm; both in winter and summer; No dry season.
Tundra Climate
● Extent: Arctic Ocean coast, Iceland, Greenland
● Mean temperature of the warmest month:0°C to 10°C

Planetary Winds
The general distribution of winds throughout the lower atmosphere is known as planetary winds.
These are of three types:
i) Trade winds
Trade winds blow in a belt lying between 5°N-30°N in the northern hemisphere and 5°S-30°S in
the southern hemisphere.
● As we all know that air travels through high pressure to low pressure. There is low pressure
on the equator , while high pressure at the sub tropics. So, air moves from tropics toward
equator. Due to corolis force and rotation of earth winds move toward left hand side in
southern hemisphere and right hand side in northern hemisphere.
● Zones of sub-tropical highs in latitudes about 30°-35°N and 30°-35°S are areas of
descending air and are characterize by calms light variable winds, comparatively dry air and
quiet, stable weather conditions. These zones of latitudes are called Horse latitude.
ii) Westerlies:
The Westerly winds blow across latitudes 35°-60° of both hemispheres.
● The air streams flowing pole wards from the Sub-tropical high pressure areas deflects
eastward in the Northern he sphere to form South-westerlies.
● Similar winds in the Southern hemisphere are known as North-westerlies.
● Unlike the trade winds, the westerlies are very variable in force and direction especially in
the Northern hemisphere.
● In the Southern hemisphere, on the other hand, the Westerlies blow with great strength and
regularity throughout the year over the almost uninterrupted expanse of ocean and have
given the name Roaring forties to the region specially between latitudes 40°S and 50°S.
● Sometimes the name is applied to the winds themselves as they give a roaring sound on
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account of high speed.

iii) Polar easterlies
The Polar easterlies blow from the Polar high pressure area to the Temperature low pressure area.
On their equator ward journey they are deflected westward to become North easterlies in the
Northern hemisphere and South easterlies in the Southern hemisphere

Monsoons in India
The south-west and north-east monsoon, are the principal features in the meteorology of India.
Temperature differences among the vast Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea on one
side and the India subcontinent with the Himalayan wall on the other side form the basis of the
In summer
The Tropic of Cancer passes through the centre of India. Therefore, the sun’s rays fall vertically on
it on the 21st June.
● During time the temperature is very high near the Tropic of Cancer and it continues to be so
for some time.
● As a result of this, in North and North-West India there is high temperature and
correspondingly low pressure in summer.
● At this time there is high pressure in the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean.
● So the wind from high pressure over the seas in the south rushes towards low pressure over
India. The wind after crossing the equator deflects to the right and blows from the south-
west. It is known as the South-West Monsoon.
The wind divides into two branches. One part is over the Arabian Sea and the other over the Bay
of Bengal. The Arabian Sea branch causes heavy orographic rain on the western slopes of the
Western Ghats.
The Bay of Bengal branch
The Bay of Bengal branch enters Bangladesh, West Bengal, and Orissa. This wind goes to
meghayala and trapped into the tunnel shape mountains. This is the reason Mousinram, and
Cherrapunji receives the maximum rainfall
● From there the wind turns to the left and passes over the plains of Northern India. The
rainfall gradually decreases to the west.
The Arabian Sea branch
The Arabian Sea branch enters into west coast and plains of west and northern India. Rainfall in
these areas is much less than that in Assam or in Bombay. Rainfall lasts from June to September.
Winter monsoon
During the winter (October to March) the continental interior becomes much cooler than the
surrounding oceans; the wind direction is thus reversed, blowing from the continental high

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pressure to the low pressure over the oceans. This creates the NE monsoon over India, which is
generally a cool and dry wind.

Cyclone and Anti Cyclone

As air masses move around the globe, so air pressure changes. Areas of high pressure are called
anticyclones, whilst low pressure areas are known as cyclones or depressions. Each brings with it
different weather patterns. Anticyclones typically result in stable, fine weather, with clear skies
whilst depressions are associated with cloudier, wetter, windier conditions.
The law governing here known as Buys Ballot’s law, states that in the northern hemisphere winds
move in an anticlockwise direction around the centre of low pressure and clockwise around
centers of high pressure; in the southern hemisphere the reverse is true
● Cyclones that form over warm tropical oceans are called tropical cyclones (they are also
known as tropical storms or tropical depressions
● A tropical cyclone that drastically increases in intensity is known as a hurricane when it
occurs in the Atlantic Ocean or adjacent seas.
● In the western Pacific Ocean and adjacent seas, a hurricane is known as a typhoon.
Difference between Cyclone and Anticyclone

Local Winds
Winds, caused by local factors and confined to a limited area compared to planetary winds, are
called local winds. Some well known examples of local winds are given below:
Bora: A gusty wind which blows in the Adriatic Sea, and affects Croatia, Greece, Russia and
Turkey during wintertime.
Chinook: A Katabatic, dry and effective wind that melts snow in the Pacific Northwest of USA and
Föhn: A Katabatic, dry mountain wind that can raise the air temperature very quickly over the
Alps into Central Europe.
Hamsin: A dry, hot and dusty local wind blowing in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula,
between March and May.

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Harmattan: A dry and dusty West African trade wind blowing south from the Sahara into the Gulf
of Guinea, between November and March; it causes a haze in the sky.
Helm: A strong north-easterly wind which blows in Cumbria, England.
Levante: A warm, east to north-east wind that runs in the Alboran Channel and is funnelled
through the Strait of Gibraltar; strong Levante winds produce heavy swell.
Mistral: A strong, cold and usually dry regional wind that affects the South-eastern region of
France and the entire Mediterranean Sea.
Monsoon: A seasonal reversing wind that bring precipitation to South Asia.

Types of Soil in India

Soil is the thin uppermost part of the earth which is formed due to weathering of rocks and
decomposition of living material. There are various types of soil found in India :
Alluvial Soil in India (Inside Black line in map)
● This soil coveratleast 40 % area of India.
● Occupy the plains ( from Punjab to Assam ) and also occur in the valleys of Narmada
and Tapti in M.P. & Gujarat, Mahanadi in the MP and Orissa, Godawari in A.R and
Cauvery in T.N.
● This is divided into two types: a) Khadar ( newly formed alluvial soil ) b) Bhangar (old
alluvial soil).
● Rich in Lime, Potash and Alluvium but deficit in nitrogen and humus.
Characteristics of Alluvial soil:
1. Respond well to irrigation and manuring.
2. Good for both rabi and kharif crops.
3. Suitable for wheat, sugarcane, rice, cotton and oilseeds.
4. In delta region, they are ideal for jute cultivation.

Black Soil in India(Under black outline in the map)

Also called Regur and is ideal for cotton crop. These soils have been formed due to the
solidification of lava spread over large areas during volcanic activity in the Deccan Plateau,
thousands of years ago.
● They are black due to compounds of iron and aluminium ( also because of titaniferous
magnetite ).
● Mainly found in Deccan Plateau – Maharashtra, Gujarat, M.P, Karnataka, Andhra
Pradesh, Tamil Nadu.
● Apart from cotton cultivation, these fertile soils are suitable for growing cereals,
oilseeds, citrus fruits and vegetables, tobacco and sugarcane.
● They have high moisture retention level.
● Lack in phosphorus, nitrogen and organic matter
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Red Soil in India

They are mainly formed due to the decomposition of ancient crystalline rocks like granites and
gneisses and from rock types rich in minerals such as iron and magnesium. The term ‘red soil’ is
due to the wide diffusion of iron oxides through the materials of the soil.
● Covers almost the whole of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, S.E. Maharashtra,
Chhatisgarh, parts of Orissa, Jharkhand and Bundelkhand.
● Generally deficient in nitrogen, humus and phosphorus, but rich in potash.
● Suitable for rice, millets, tobacco and vegetables ( also groundnuts and potatoes at higher
elevations ).

Laterite Soil in India:

Found in typical monsoon conditions – under conditions of high temperature and heavy rainfall
with alternate wet and dry periods. The alterations of wet and dry season leads to the leaching
away of siliceous matter and lime of the rocks and a soil rich in oxides of iron and aluminium
compounds is left behind.
● Found in parts of Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, Rajmahal hills, Maharashtra, Karnataka,
Kerala, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, etc.
● Poor in nitrogen and minerals.
● Best for tea, coffee, rubber, cinchona, coconut and suitable for rice and millet cultivation if

Forest and Mountain Soils:

Such soils are mainly found on the hill slopes covered by forests. The formation of these soils is
mainly governed by the characteristic deposition of organic matter derived from forest growth.
● In the Himalayan region, such soils are mainly found in valley basins, depressions and less
steeply inclined slopes. Apart from the Himalayan region, the forest soils occur in higher hills
in south and the peninsular region.
● Very rich in humus but are deficient in Potash, phosphorous and lime and needs fertilizers.
● Plantation of tea, coffee, spices and tropical fruits.

Arid and Desert Soils

A large part of the arid and semi – arid region in Rajasthan and adjoining areas of Punjab and
Haryana lying between the Indus and the Aravallis receiving less than 50 cm of annual rainfall is
affected by desert conditions.
● This area is covered by a mantle of sand which inhibits soil growth.
● The phosphate content of these soils is as high as in normal alluvial soils. Nitrogen is
originally low but its deficiency is made up to some extent by the availability of nitrogen in
the form of nitrates. Thus the presence of phosphates and nitrates make them fertile soils

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wherever moisture is available.

● The changes in the cropping pattern in the Indira Gandhi Canal Command Area are a living
example of the utility of the desert soils.

Types of Rocks
The earth’s crust is composed of rocks. A rock is an aggregate of one or more minerals. On the
basis of mode of formation the rocks are divided into three categories
A) Igneous rocks
B) Sedimentary rocks
C) Metamorphic rocks.
A) Igneous rocks
As igneous rocks form out of magma and lava from the interior of the earth, they are known as
primary rocks. The igneous rocks are formed when magma cools and solidifies. When magma in
its upward movement cools and turns into solid form it is called igneous rock.
● The process of cooling and solidification can happen in the earth’s crust or on the surface of
the earth. Granite, gabbro, pegmatite, basalt,volcanic breccia and tuff are some of the
examples of igneous rocks. Igneous rocks are roughly hard rocks and water percolates with
great difficulty.
● They do not have strata and are less affected by chemical weathering. They don’t contain
fossils. The number of joints increases upwards. They are mostly associated with volcanic
B) Sedimentary rocks
Rocks (igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic)of the earth’s surface are exposed to denudational
agents, and are broken up into various sizes of fragments. Such fragments are transported by
different exogenous agencies and deposited. These deposits through compaction into rocks. This
process is called lithification.
● In many sedimentary rocks, the layers of deposits retain their characteristics even after
lithification. Hence, we see a number of layers of varying thickness in sedimentary rocks like
sandstone, shale etc.
● Depending upon the mode of formation, sedimentary rocks are classified into three major
groups: (i) mechanically formed – e.g. sandstone, conglomerate, shale, loess etc. (ii)
organically formed – e.g. chalk, limestone, coal etc. (iii) chemically formed – e.g. chert,
halite, potash etc.
● These rocks are formed due to aggregation and compaction of sediments. These rocks
contain fossils of plants and animals. They cover 75 percent of surface area of the globe.
However they form only 5 percent of the volume of earth’s crust.
● They contain several layers or strata but these are seldom crystalline rocks. They are seldom
found in original and horizontal manner.They may be well consolidated, poorly consolidated
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and even unconsolidated. They are characterized by different sizes of joints. Most
sedimentary rocks are porous and permeable.
C. Metamorphic rocks
● Sometimes igneous or sedimentary rocks metamorphize or change due to great
‘pressure, intense temperature or the action of water and chemical activity.
● Examples of metamorphic rocks formed from different rocks are:
Metamorphic – Rock Made From
● Slate Shale and mudstone
● Quartzite Sandstone
● Gneiss Granite
● Marble Limestone, dolomite or chalk
● Schist Shale
● Anthracite Coal

Types of Agriculture

Intensive method: It is practiced where the supply of land is limited and density of population is
high. China, Japan, India, UK, Holland, Germany and Belgium practice this method.
Extensive method: It is practiced in sparsely populated area – where per man land area is
higher and where there is scope for bringing additional land under cultivation e.g. USA, Russia,
Australia, Argentina and Brazil.
Shifting cultivation: A primitive form of agriculture practiced mainly in the tropics wherein a plot
of land incultivated for a few years, until the production declines due to soil exhaustion.
Plantation farming: An estate farming mostly in tropical and subtropical regions devoted to
large scale production of one or more cash crops e.g. Coffee,Rubber and Tea, etc.
Mixed farming: It refers to the combination of agriculture and livestock farming.
Nomadic Herding: It’s a type of shifting pastoral farming in which pastoralists move from one
place to another in search of good pasture. It is mainly practiced in arid and hilly regions and
primitive societies.Animals like Cattle, sheep and goat are reared for milk, meat, wool etc.
Geography: Cropping Season of Agriculture
(a) Kharif: Crops are sown at the beginning of the South -West monsoon and harvested at the
end of the South -West monsoon.
Important crops: Jowar, bajra, rice, maize, cotton, Jute, groundnut, sugarcane, tobacco etc.
(b) Rabi: Crops need relatively cool climate during the period of growth but warm climate during
the germination of their seed and maturation.
Sowing season- (October -December) and harvesting season (February – April).
Important Crops: Wheat, barley, gram, linseed, mustard, masur, peas and potatoes.
(c) Zaid: Crops which are being raised throughout the year due to artificial irrigation.

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(i) ZaidKharif: Sown in August-September and harvested in December-January. Important crops

include rice, jowar, rapeseed, cotton and oilseeds.
(ii) Zaid Rabi: Sown in February – March and harvested in April -May. Important crops are
watermelon, cucumber, leafy and other vegetables.

National Highways in India

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is the nodal agency responsible for
building, upgrading and maintaining most of the national highways network. It operates under the
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The National Highways Development Project (NHDP) is
a major effort to expand and upgrade the network of highways. NHAI often uses a public-private
partnership model for highway development, maintenance and toll-collection.
● N.H 1 Delhi- Ambala- Amritsar – Indo-Pak Border (546 km).
● N.H 2 Delhi-Agra- Kanpur- Varanasi – Kolkata (1490 km).
● N.H.3 Agra- Gwaliar- Indore- Nasik- Mumbai (1161 km).
● N.H. 4 JunctionwithN.H.3nearThane-Belgaum-Bangalore-Ranipet – Chennai (1235 km).
● N.H. 7 Varanasi-Jabalpur-Nagpur-Hyderabad-Bangalore-Madurai – Kanyakumari (2369
km).It is longest highway of India.
● N.H. 8 Delhi- Jaipur- Ahmedabad- Vadodara- Mumbai (1428 km).
● N.H. 9 Pune – Solapur- Hyderabad- Vijayawada (791 km).
● N.H. 15 Pathankot – Amritsar – Bhatinda – Ganganagar – Bikaner -Jaisalmer – Kandla
(1526 km).
● N.H. 22 Ambala- Kalka- Shimla-Rampur- Indo-Tibet (China) Border near Shipki La (459
● N.H. 24 Delhi – Bareilly- Lucknow (438 km).
● N.H. 39 Numaligarh- Imphal- Pale!- Indo- Myanmar Border (436 km).
● N.H. 44 Shillong – PassiBadarpur – Agartala( 495 km).
● N.H. 47 Salem- Coimbatore – TrichurEmakulamThiruvanantha-puram – Kanyakumari
(640 km).
● N.H. 48 Bangalore – Hasan – Mangalore (328 km).
● N.H. 49 Kochi – Madurai – Dhanushkodi (440 km).
● N.H. 55 Siliguri – Darjeeling (77 km).
● N.H. 80 Makamah – Farakka (310 km.)
● N.H. 102 Chapra – Muzaffarpur (80 km.)
● N.H. 205 Ananthpur – Chennai (442 km.)

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Biosphere Reserves (BRs) of India

Biosphere Reserves (BRs) are representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending
over large area of terrestrial or coastal/marine ecosystems .
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka
Nanda Devi National Park & Biosphere Reserve Uttarakhand
Gulf of Mannar Tamil Nadu
Nokrek Meghalaya
Sundarbans West Bengal
Manas Assam
Simlipal Odisha
Dihang-Dibang Arunachal Pradesh
Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve Madhya Pradesh
Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve Madhya Pradesh,Chhattisgarh
Great Rann of Kutch Gujarat
Cold Desert Himachal Pradesh
Khangchendzonga Sikkim
Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve Kerala,Tamil Nadu
Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Dibru-Saikhowa Assam
Seshachalam Hills Andhra Pradesh
Panna Madhya Pradesh

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