Unit 8: Physical Geography


The layers of the Earth




The crust is made up of solid rock. The crust underneath the continents is thicker than the crust underneath the oceans.





The mantle represents around 80% of the Earth's mass. It is composed of very hot solid rock.





The core is composed mainly of iron. It is divided into two zones.



Outer Core


The outer core is made up of liquid iron.



Inner Core


The inner core is solid. The temperature in the inner core is higher than the outer core but because the pressure is so great the iron cannot melt.



The Earth's Surface


Around 75% of the Earth's surface is water. The rest is continental land masses.


The Earth's Surface




Landforms are natural shapes on the Earth's surface. They include hills, valleys, rivers, mountains, plains and lakes, oceans, glaciers and cliffs.





A valley is a low area between mountains or hills.



Hills are high places on the Earth's surface. They have rounded tops and are smaller than mountains.



A river is a stream of water.


Mountains are high places on the Earth's surface. They usually have pointed tops.


A glacier is a huge area of moving ice.


A plain is a large area of flat land.


Cliffs are very steep walls of rock. They are most common by rivers or coasts.


Oceans are masses of salt water.


A plateau is a flat area that is higher than the land around it.


Spanish Geography


The Meseta is a big plateau in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula.


The Sistema Central splits the Meseta in two parts.


The mountain regions in the north of the Meseta are Macizo Galacio and the Cordillera Cantábrica.


The Sistema Ibérico is to the east of the Meseta.


Sierra Morena is to the south of the Meseta.



The Pyrenees are in the north of the Iberian Peninsula and the Bética and the Penibética ranges are in the south.


The Guadalquivir plain is between the Sierra Morena and the Penibética.


The Guadalquivir plain is between the Sistema Ibérico and the Pyrenees.




Spanish Hydrology




Mountain rivers in the north have a short course. The main ones are the Bidasoa, Nervión, Sella, Nalón, Navia and Eo. They all drain into the Cantabrian Sea.


The Miño, Duero, Tajo, Guadiana and Gualdalquivir drain into the Atlantic Ocean.


The Ebro, Júcar and Segura drain into the Mediterranean Sea.