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Physical Option – Hot desert environments

Topic Key Theme Resources
The Physical option

Hot desert environments and their margins

Location and characteristics of hot deserts and their


Climate, soils and vegetation (arid and semi-arid) Philip Allan: 117 – 121

Oxford: 129 – 133

Causes of aridity Atmospheric processes relating to pressure, winds, continentality, relief and cold ocean currents. Philip Allan: 121 – 122

Oxford: 134 – 135

Arid geomorphological processes Mechanical weathering. Philip Allan: 122 – 124

Oxford: 136 – 136

The effect of wind – erosion Deflation and abrasion;

transportation; suspension, saltation, surface creep; deposition.

Philip Allan: 124 – 127

Oxford: 137 – 139

The effect of water Exogenous, endoreic and ephemeral. The role of flooding. Philip Allan: 128 – 132

Oxford: 139

Landforms resulting from Wind action: yardangs, zeugen and sand dunes

Water action: pediments, inselbergs, mesas and buttes, salt lakes, alluvial fans, wadis and badlands.

Philip Allan: 128 – 132

Oxford: 140 – 145



Desertification Distribution of areas at risk, physical and human causes, impact on land, ecosystem and populations. Philip Allan: 132 – 135

Oxford: 146 – 147


Facebook & Geofacts

Case study of desertification in the Sahel The struggle for survival to include the energy/fuel wood crisis, water supply, the impact on food supply/ farming and livelihoods and coping/management strategies including external aid. Philip Allan: 135 – 137

Oxford: 148 – 151




Managing hot desert environments and their margins Consider and evaluate the strategies adopted with regard to land use and agriculture in areas such as the Sahel and contrast with the development of areas such as south-western USA or southern Spain.


Implications and potential for sustainability.

Philip Allan: 137 – 140

Oxford: 152 – 157



TED talks

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