How to use Current Affairs in Sociology

Credit goes to my group of online friends


  • Marx’s alienation –  It is true, however, that some young workers have bought into this rhetoric of “freedom” and “liberation” peddled by the capitalists at the head of the on-demand economy. But this does not prove the strength of bourgeois libertarian ideas. Rather, the embracement of the freelance lifestyle reflects the opposite: the alienation from work that many experience as a result of their experiences toiling away in mind-numbing jobs within giant, faceless capitalist corporations.

  • How thin political markets undermine democracy in Capitalist society –

  • Class struggle  – Workers’ strike in Munnar tea plantation, Maruti, Toyota, Air France worker’s strike as 2900 jobs to go. Women sidelined the trade unions, which are male dominated, to get their demands sanctioned.  Dalit women breaking away from their trade unions, joining the struggle, and representing themselves in a bold rebellion against capitalism and patriarchy, including a male-dominated trade union structure.  The ‘Pompilai Orumai,’ in protest against the system of gender segregation practised in the plantations, kept at bay not only the male trade union leaders, but also the men in their own family during the struggle. ‘Pombilai Orumai’ is now busy building its own union on its own terms; it has also fielded candidates in the local government elections to be held in early November. The struggle also reminds us that even within the laudable Kerala model of social development, the Dalit experience leaves much to be desired. Dalit families have lived in two-room tenements (layams) for generations and their conditions do not reflect the much-applauded social welfare indicators of the State.

  • Durkheim Suicide –

    • Altruistic suicide – Suicide bomber,

    • Fatalistic suicide – farmers’s suicide in Marathwada, suicide by a couple in Delhi after their kid died of dengue.

    • Anomic suicide – During 2008 recession, after stocks tumbled.

    • Egoistic suicide –

  • In Jharkhand’s Singhbhum, religion census deepens divide among tribals- hindus and non hindus


  • Merton

    • Deviance – drug addiction in Punjab,

    • Reference groups –

    • Latent functions –

    • Manifest functions –

  • Deprivation -The common thread linking pervasive violence in sub saharan Africa is not just a shared religious ideology characterised by extreme violence and intolerance. The appeal of Islamist militancy to populations in the Sahel, northern Nigeria and the Horn of Africa is underpinned by a lack of inclusive political systems or credible attempts by central governments to address the needs of alienated minorities. Naxal problem,

  • Gender stratification –   Female workers in California will get new tools to challenge gender-based wage gaps under legislation signed into law Tuesday that supporters say offers the strongest equal-pay protection in the nation.  “The stratification and the pay disparities in California and in America, probably in the world, are something that really eats away at our whole society,” Brown said. He called the legislation a “milestone.”  It also protects workers from discrimination and retaliation if they ask questions about how much other people earn, though it doesn’t require that employers provide that information. Workers also will gain the right to sue if they are paid less than someone with a different job title who does “substantially similar” work.

  • Social mobility -Working-class graduates will be given special consideration for jobs at leading firms above affluent applicants.The move aims to improve social mobility in professions dominated by privately educated graduates, such as law and accountancy.

        More young graduates in London now live with their parents than on their own because they are unable to afford the cost of renting or buying a home, while those from outside the capital are finding themselves locked out of the city altogether.   London School of Economics

  • Power Elite –  A study in the psychology of why the average Nigerian wants to be president or governor should be interesting and revealing but one can make an educated guess here that the power and prestige the position confers would be right at the top. Such power and prestige, of course, include predominantly economic advantages. Such economic advantages, the looting of the treasuries as we know it to be, are essentially about the greed of the power elite and the empowering of family members and cronies. In some societies where people are quite capable of linking their collective poverty to the corruption and greed of the power elite, and they resent it, the fight against corruption cannot be the fight of President Muhammadu Buhari, but that of ordinary Nigerians.

  • Power Elite –  Intimately linked to the power elite within the US government, United Fruit extracted huge profits and rejected any reforms that challenged its control of the land. It was the largest landholder and employer in Guatemala. It owned railroads and discouraged the building of highways. It had long controlled Guatemala’s politicians. It’s power was so extensive that one historian compares it to the Dutch East India Company in its influence. It’s shareholders and supporters were amply distributed throughout the foreign policy establishment in the US.

    • How power elites in villages of Bihar remove posters aimed at spreading awareness among the underprivileged.

    • How village elites allocated land to the poor to escape land reform laws.

  • Pressure groups –  The National People’s Party (NPP) which had been formed to look after the interest of the tribals has earned the wrath of several pressure groups from Garo Hills for deciding to field a non-tribal candidate in the upcoming GHADC polls.

    • On whether India should have formed a pressure group of Germany, Japan, Brazil and India to put up a united front for each of the four countries to get permanent seats on the Security Council there are two opinions. Only time will tell whether that was a good move. The detractors contend that by doing that we have endangered the support of Russia which has been a bulwark of support to India in the UN for decades. The Chinese too could shy away from supporting India for working in tandem with Japan with which the Chinese have major differences.

  • Political parties-

    • RTI No doubt, there are already provisions under the Representation of the People’s Act and the Income Tax Act to bring transparency in the financial aspects of political parties yet the excuse of being kept out of the purview of RTI speaks of their double standards. What is the harm if the political parties too are brought under the provisions of the RTI Act to ensure more transparency? Everybody is equal before law and political parties are no exception. There are numerous organizations and agencies which don’t hesitate to be accountable before the people. Therefore, on priority political parties should be brought under the ambit of the provision of RTI Act.The Central Information Commission (CIC) in 2013 had declared all the six parties (BJP, Congress, CPM, BSP, CPI & NCP) as public authorities.There are certain organizations like Hurriyat Conference in Jammu and Kashmir which indulge in anti-national activities. No doubt, existing laws deal with such criminals who work against the country and indulge in other unlawful activities but the outreach of RTI Act will empower the people to know real faces of those who flourish on their miseries.The Law Commission in its 170th report had also made recommendation for transparency in functioning of political parties, especially on internal democracy, financial transparency and accountability in their working.Apprehension that political rivals might file RTI application with malicious intentions should not come in the way of politicians being made liable to scrutiny.

    • Govt. decision to grant citizenship to Hindu refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh

  • Civil Society –

    • Namma Bengaluru Foundation-Citizen Partnership (NBF-CP), a citizen and civil society led partnership have launched Citizens Charter for Bangalore to rid the city of corruption, vested interests and to ensure that the recently formed Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council delivers on its promises to the citizens.

    • Terming Civil society as oxygen of democracy, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his message for International Day of Democracy to be observed on September 15, said that the Civil society acted as a catalyst for social progress and economic growth by keeping Governments accountable by representing the diverse interests of the population, including its most vulnerable groups

    •  Civil society groups from Nagaland and Assam have decided to come together for thrashing out solution to the festering disputes and help building trust between communities in the two states.Christened as ” Naga-Assamese Round Table Talk”, representatives from both the states will take part in a dialogue here on October 9.

  • Protest –

    • Kurds protested and went on strike in northern Iraq on Wednesday in a show of growing discontent that threatens to further undermine stability at a time when their region is at war with ISIS.Teachers, hospital workers and other public sector employees have taken to the streets for nearly a week demanding their wages from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which is three months in arrears. The demonstrations are the most sustained unrest in the autonomous region of Kurdistan since the start of an economic crisis compounded by the conflict with ISIS and a drop in oil prices that has pushed the region to the verge of bankruptcy.

  • Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) took out a rally here on Tuesday seeking regularisation of their services and increased wages.Their demands include setting up of a corpus fund of Rs. 5 crore for their welfare, immediate release of matching incentive from the State government, online payment, health and life insurance facilities with the government paying half the premium amount, and additional payment when workers provide extra services.ASHA Workers Union, led the protest.

    • FTII protest declared unwarranted by Khan committee

    • Tea plantation workers

    • Lala lajpat rai died during lathi charge while protesting against Simon commission

    • OROP protests

    • protest against app based cabs

    • protest against walmart

    • Protest held over proposed hike in Delhi MLAs’ salaries

  • Agitation-

    • Agitation by rain hit farmers in Punjab

    • Agitation by Gujjars for reservation on train tracks

    • Quota agitation by Patidars

  • Collective action-

    •  He observed that the main limitation of rural producers in villages was lack of access to markets. He also noticed the positive role co-operatives played in rural economies through collective action. “Besides lack of access to markets, another issue weavers faced was managing the supply chain which was quite complex considering that most of these producers are quite small and are in rural parts of the country,” says the founder and MD GoCoop.

    • Surendra Manan’s film The Battle Begins highlights this collective action to stop pollution of river and water bodies.\

  • Revolution –

    • Arab spring

  • Religion and science –

    • Vegetarian and non vegetarian debate

    • Religion inspires science – space craft, guided missiles in hindu mythology

    • Science inspires religion – online puja, sms, online arti, online darshan

  • Secularization –

    • Growing secularization has only enhanced our obsession with money and toys. Even honestly pursuing the American Dream (however that is defined) throws us into an endless cycle of competition, consumption, comparison and stress. Social media, despite its benefits, keeps us ever aware of what others have that we don’t.- USA

    • There is a unique type of secularization at the core of the Islamic segment of society’s adventure of change in Turkey. People personalized their religiosity while they protected it. Thus, different religiosities had a chance to coexist in the Islamic community. While pluralism created the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), it was also naturally encouraged by the party. Thanks to this, the AK Party’s voter base expanded and many different Islamic groups came to be represented under the umbrella of the AK Party.  Secularization was needed to protect the religion.

  • Religious revivalism-

    • The evidence would pretty much demonstrate that this was wrong. Religion seems in the 21st century to be enjoying a global revival that was absent in the 20th and downplayed in the 19th.

    • More broadly, as an agnostic and a sceptic, I would be suspicious of the phenomenon of religious revival per se. Having said that, the force and beauty of spirituality must be welcome in an otherwise excessively materialist world.

    • Religious revivalism in China is by no means limited to Christianity; there have been considerable developments in Taoism and Buddhism, some approved, some forcefully disapproved and persecuted, notably the Falun Gong.

  • Fundamentalism

    • Fundamentalist beliefs have driven countless beheadings, bombings, and execution-style murders by terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda in the last year alone.

    • At age 78, writer M.M. Kalburgi remained hard at work at his home in southern India. He was putting the final touches on a lengthy introduction to a volume of ancient Kannada-language verse, which was due to be translated into Mandarin, Japanese, French and Spanish.But one morning late last month, two young men knocked at his door and introduced themselves to his wife as his students. Without warning, they shot Kalburgi twice in the forehead and fled on a motorbike.

    • Attacks on bloggers in Bangladesh

  • Family

    • Single parent and dual-income families have become the norm, and now are more common than the once prevalent two-parent, single-earner households of the mid-20th century.

  • As male involvement in family life increases, now younger men are expected to share in the care and raising of children, often creating dissonance between work expectations and family life.

    • Creating even more pressure on families is the fact that in an increasingly globalized world, many working women and men are continually at risk of losing their jobs to downsizing, or to individuals in other countries where labor is cheaper.

  • we must alter the fundamental assumption that employee and employer interests are mutually exclusive, and in opposition to one another.

    • This scenario becomes even more complex when we factor in social class. Frequently in the U.S., the highest-paid workers tend to receive the best benefits packages (for instance, increased workplace flexibility and paid family leave) while the employees who may have the greatest need for family-support assistance from their employers, may be the least likely to receive them.

  • Patriarchy-

    • Decades ago, feminist philosopher Mary Daly claimed that patriarchy is the religion of the planet.

    • the Church still forbids the ordination of women to the priesthood. Catholic women are still not allowed control of their own reproductive lives. Same with other religions.

    • Hindu women are subject to dowries that amount to extortion payments to take women off of families’ hands;

    • We know that ISIS kidnaps and rapes women–with a ready religious justification built from their misreadings of the Qur’an and some Islamic scholars, while Boko Haram kidnaps and rapes girls in Nigeria.

    • The recently released documentary, The Hunting Ground, documents the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses

    • An important message Kangana delivers while talking about gender-discrimination, sexism and patriarchy is that women should stop seeking other people’s approval or caring about what the society expects them to be. She says that she never does films for anybody’s approval as people’s opinion of her always shifts and keeps changing. She says ,”you got to be confident” and “as women we can’t hope to get our due. We need to get up and get it ourselves!”

    • Kangana’s sister is an acid attack victim.

    • I believe in addition to religious and traditional patriarchy, there is now capitalist patriarchy like pornography, and cosmetics. This thing of women to look pretty, is another patriarchy, item numbers in movies, toy industry — guns for boys and Barbie for girls. Today Teej for me is a form of patriarchy happening in five star hotels, it is the same with Karva Chaudh in India.”

    • One Billion Rising or OBR is a global campaigning against violence against women and girls, started three-four years ago.

  • In the 1980s a new approach, gender and development (GAD), was introduced. GAD focused on gendered division of labour within the home and in waged work, access to and control over resources and benefits, and the material and social position of women and men in different developmental contexts. GAD advocates argued that empowering women and transforming unequal relationships were the solution to gender inequality both within and outside of the family.

  • Sexual division of labour

    • Hollywood’s gender bias is a subject that has been gaining conversational momentum in recent years.  And, as proof that someone is actually listening to this important dialogue, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken steps to interview female filmmakers

    • The technology giant is being sued by a former female employee for alleged gender bias that resulted in lower salaries and lack of promotions for women at the company.

  • Family –

    • Single parent family

    • Family trends in US

    • October 12 marks the fourth anniversary of when the United States became a “no-fault nation.” On that date in 2010, New York, the last holdout, finally joined the 49 other states in eliminating the need for divorcing couples to state that the dissolution of their marriage was the “fault” of one or the other.“no-fault divorce has been a disaster,” leading to record numbers of divorces and plummeting rates ofmany researchers have found that although every state that adopted no-fault divorce saw a burst of pent-up divorces in the first few years after passage, divorce rates leveled off thereafter and have actually fallen since no-fault became the norm.Many studies have shown that job loss and financial strain raise the risk of divorce. But divorce rates fell during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and some observers have claimed that “the silver lining” of this more recent economic crisis has been a similar dip in divorce.Regardless of educational attainment, the divorce rate for couples aged 50 and older has doubled since 1990, and it has more than doubled for married individuals aged 65 and older.the recession inhibited many couples from divorcing, leading to about 150,000 fewer divorces between 2009 and 2011 than might have been expected in view of previous trends.However, the divorce rate has ticked up again since then.

    • shift from consanguine to conjugal family.There is a decline in social roles in families with socialisation roles being shared by other agencies such as peer groups, schools and media.There are changes in the internal structure of families too. The relationships among the family members have also changed with changes in family obligations, decision-making power, socialisation practices and child-rearing practices. The central authority of the eldest male is weakening and there is a reworking of power and authority among family members.he wife now has a greater power in affairs of her home and in decision-making. Parental authority over children has reduced. Children enjoy more freedom to choose their lives, and are consulted in decision-making process. The change is vivid in urban areas. There are simultaneous changes in the traditional value system too.Values like respect for the old and the elderly, care and concern for the weak and the needy, co-operation, service etc, are being replaced by modern values of individual freedom, personal lives, non­-interference and so on.

  • Social change

    • Preethi Herman, country lead of India’s, said: “Launching Hindi on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary is the biggest tribute to the concept that every person can create positive social change.

    • The Ferguson Commission won’t bring social change. Black Lives Matter will

  • Universities should serve as agents of social change and development

    • SSA

    • Cycle distribution in Bihar among girls

    • Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed inaugurated two J&K Bank-developed model schools equipped with state-of-the art Smart Class facilities in South Kashmir on Tuesday, an official spokesman said.

    • Science Express begins 7-month journey to ignite minds

    • Oregon gun menace – volunteers to keep an eye on emotionally unstable students, metal detectors,  reduce access to gun, why only campuses targetted? India – unlicensed arms with robbers, police verification perfunctory, US – misuse of licence

  • Women empowerment – Siswa village in Anand district. All women panchayat elected through consensus.

  • Women MPs refused to go out for a walk with Smriti Irani

  • Mumbai – minority lady in borivali went to hospital to deliver – her husband was in office – hospital turned her away – she tried going to other side of borivalli – delivered on railway track – the infant died




Subsistence Agriculture: It can be grouped in two categories — Primitive Subsistence Agriculture and Intensive Subsistence Agriculture.

Primitive Subsistence Agriculture: Also known as shifting agriculture.

  • Widely practiced by many tribes in the tropics, especially in Africa, South America and Central America and south East Asia.
  • Vegetation is usually cleared by fire, and the ashes add to the fertility of the soil. Shifting cultivation is thus, also called slash and burn agriculture.
  • Cultivated patches are very small and cultivation is done with very primitive tools such as sticks and hoes.
  • When the soil loses its fertility and the farmer shifts to another parts and clears other patch of the forest for cultivation.
  • It is prevalent in tropical region in different names, e.g. Jhum in North eastern states of India, Milpa in Central America and Mexico and Ladang in Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • MAIN DISADVANTAGE: In shifting cultivation the cycle of jhum becomes less and less due to loss of fertility in different parcels.

Intensive Subsistence Agriculture:

There are two types of intensive subsistence agriculture –

  1. Intensive subsistence agriculture dominated by wet paddy cultivation: Mainly dominated by rice crop.
  • Mostly practiced in high density population regions.
  • Land holding is very small due to the high density of population.
  • Farmers work with the help of family labor
  • Use of machinery is limited and most of the agricultural operations are done by manual labor
  • The yield per unit area is high but per labor productivity is low.
  1. Intensive subsidence agriculture dominated by crops other than paddy:
  • In this, wheat, soybean, barley and sorghum are grown in northern China, Manchuria, North Korea and North Japan.
  • In India wheat is grown in western parts of the Indo-Gangetic plains and millets are grown in dry parts of western and southern India.
  • Most of the characteristics of this type of agriculture are similar to those dominated by wet paddy except that irrigation is often used.

Plantation Agriculture

  • It was introduced by the Europeans in colonies.
  • The French established cocoa and coffee plantations in West Africa.
  • The British set up large tea gardens in India and Sri Lanka, rubber plantations in Malaysia and sugarcane and banana plantations in West Indies.
  • Now the ownership of the majority of plantations has passed into the hands of the government or the nationals of the countries concerned.
  • Important plantation crops are tea, coffee, cocoa, rubber, cotton, oil palm, sugarcane, bananas and pineapples
  • The characteristic features of this type of farming
  • Large estates or plantations
  • Large capital investment
  • Scientific methods of cultivation
  • A good system of transportation which links the estates to the factories and markets for the export of the products

Extensive Commercial Grain Cultivation

  • Commercial grain cultivation is practiced in the interior parts of semi-arid lands of the mid latitudes.
  • The size of the farm is very large, therefore entire operations of cultivation from ploughing to harvesting are mechanized
  • There is low yield per acre but high yield per person
  • Wheat is the principal crop, though other crops like corn, barley, oats and rye are also grown.




Mixed Farming

Mostly found in the highly developed parts of the world, e.g. North-western Europe, Eastern North America, parts of Eurasia and the temperate latitudes of Southern continents.

Main characteristics:

  • Farms are moderate in size
  • Fodder crops are an important component of Mixed farming
  • Other crops: wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, fodder and root crops
  • Crop rotation and intercropping play an important role in maintaining soil fertility
  • Characterized by high capital expenditure on farm machinery and building
  • Extensive use of chemical fertilizers and green maneuver by farm experts


Mediterranean Agriculture

  • It is practiced in the countries on either side of the Mediterranean Sea in Europe and in North Africa from Tunisia to Atlantic coast, southern California, central Chile, south western parts of South Africa and south and south western parts of Australia.
  • This type of agriculture is mainly known for citrus fruits.
  • Sea in Europe and in north Africa from Tunisia to Atlantic coast, southern California, central Chile, south western parts of South Africa and south and south western parts of Australia
  • The land use is dependent on factors such as the total annual amount of rainfall, length of summer drought, availability of melting snow, local soil conditions, and price fluctuations in local and world market.


  • Orchard farming: specialized commercial agriculture of citrus fruits, olives, figs and fruits with thick skins.
  • Viticulture: also called grape culture .Best quality wines in the world with distinctive flavors are produced from high quality. The inferior grapes are dried into raisins and currants grapes.
  • Cereal and vegetable cultivation:  The warm and sunny Mediterranean climate also allows a wide range of other food crops and green vegetables to be harvested. Wheat is the principal grain and barley is grown in poorer areas beans, onions, tomatoes, lentils and all leafy vegetables are grown.


Market Gardening and Horticulture

  • Specializes in the cultivation of high value crops such as vegetables, fruits and flowers, solely for the urban markets.
  • Farms are small and are located where there are good transportation
  • It is both labor and capital intensive and lays emphasis on the use of irrigation, HYV seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, greenhouses and artificial heating in colder regions.
  • The regions where farmers specialize in vegetables only, the farming is known as truck farming.
  • Poultry and cattle rearing is also done under this
  • Mainly practiced in densely populated industrial areas


Co-operative Farming

  • A group of farmers form a co-operative society by pooling in their resources voluntarily for more efficient and profitable farming
  • Co-operative societies help farmers, to procure all important inputs of farming, sell products at the most favorable terms and help in processing of quality products at cheaper rates

Collective Farming

Collective farming or the model of Kolkhoz was introduced in erstwhile Soviet Union to improve upon the inefficiency of the previous methods of agriculture and to boost agricultural production.

  • Based on the principle of social ownership of the means of production and collective labor.


Types of Landforms in world

Types of Landforms in world


A mountain is defined as “a natural elevation of the earth surface rising more or less abruptly from the surrounding level and attaining an altitude which, relative to the adjacent elevation, is impressive or notable”. Mountains can be classified on the basis of their structure or their origin.

A. Structural classification:

I. Fold Mountains: These mountains have originated due to compressional tectonic forces and have been thrown up to form fold mountains e.g. Himalayas, Andes, Alps etc. The folds consist of two inclined parts called limbs, the upfold is called anticline and the downward portion is called syncline.

All young folded mountains have originated from geosynclines.

Geosynclines are long narrow and shallow water depressions characterized by sedimentation and the subsequent subsidence. The conversion of geosynclines into folded mountains requires geologically long time with definite phases of mountain building process-

(b) Orogenesis: After horizontal compression has completed its task, vertical uplift starts. This is the real stage of mountain building.

(c) Glyptogenesis: In this phase the characteristic land forms are sculptured by erosion.

On the basis of age the Fold Mountains can be grouped into:

(i) New or Young fold Mountains: Example: The Alps, the Himalayas, the Circum-Pacific oceanic Mountains, etc. The main features of these mountains are the complex folding of the rocks, faulting, volcanic activities, and the erosion caused by running water, ice, winds, etc.

(ii) Old Fold Mountains: Example: The Caledonian and Hercynian mountains ofcentral Europe, the Pennines, the Highland of Scotland, etc. These mountains were folded in very ancient times, and then subjected to denudation and uplift. Many faults were formed and the layers of the rock were wrapped. Many mountains exist as relicts due to erosion.
II. Block Mountains: They are originated by tensile forces leading to formation of rift valleys. They are also called horst mountains e.g. black forest, Vosges, Vindhya, Satpura, Sierra Nevada etc. When the crust cracks due to tension or compression faulting takes place. A section of the landform may subside or rise above the surrounding level giving rise to Rift valley or Graben and Block Mountains or Horst. The Block Mountains have a steep slope towards the rift valley but the slope on the other side is long and gentle.


III. Dome Mountains: They are originated by magmatic intrusion and upwarping of crustal surface e.g. lava domes, Batholith domes etc.

IV. Mountain of Accumulation: They are originated by accumulation of volcanic material e.g. cinder cones, composite cones etc. These are formed by the emission and deposition of lava and so they are also called volcanic mountains. The slope of the mountains becomes steep and the height increases due to the development of the cones of various types like Cinder cones, Composite Cones, Acid lava cones, Basic lava cones, etc. Some of the examples of this type are Popocatepetl of Mexico, Mount Rainier of Washington, Lessen Peak of California, the Vesuvius of Italy, the Fujiyama in Japan, the Aconcagua in Chile etc.

V. Circum Erosional or Relict Mountain: e.g. Vindhyachal ranges, Aravallis, Satpura, Eastern and Western Ghats, Nilgiris, Parasnath, Girnar, Rajmahal. Thesemountains have been subjected to weathering and erosion for a long time and lowered down. They represent the old stage of mountain life cycle.


B. Classification on the basis of Mountain Building periods
Pre-Cambrian Mountains: Rocks of these mountains are older than the Cam- brian era, and are found in older stable blocks or old shields which are now metamorphosed. Some of those old shields are Laurentia, Fennoscandinevia (Europe), Angaraland (Asia), Gondwanaland (Asia), etc.

Caledonian Mountains: (320 m.yrs.): Mountains of Scandinavia, Scotland, N. America, Aravallis, Mahadeo, Satpura fall under this category. This mountain building process started at the end of the Silurian period or at the beginning of the Devonian period.

Hercynian Mountains: (240m.yrs.): These Mountains were formed during Permian and Permo-Carboniferous pe- riod. They include Appalachian in N. America, Meseta in Spain, Vosges and Black Forest in Germany, Harz, Donetz area of Ural , Altai, Kinghan ,Tien Shan, Alai, Nan-Shan, etc. Meseta Mountains in Morocco; the High Atlas Mountains also represent this category.

Alpine Mountains (30m.yrs.): It started by the end of the Mesozoic era and con- tinued upto the Tertiary period. These are the highest mountains of the world. Being newer, the erosional forces could not erode them into a Peneplain like the Himalayas, the Alps, the Rockies, the Andes, the Atlas, etc. Stages of Mountains Building: The life history of mountains can be divided into youth, maturity and old stage. Following are the characteristics of mountains in different stages:-

A. The Youth Mountains:

1. The rivers are youthful and the valleys are deep and their flow is fast.

2. Landslide and volcanic activities are common.

3. The mountains are high.

4. The slopes are steep and the piedmont is bare.

5. The sky line is irregular.

B. The Maturity of Mountains:

1. The rivers are mature and many water- gaps exist in the area.

2. The height of the mountains is not much.

3. The peaks are rounded, generally covered by thick vegetation.

4. Landslides are uncommon and no earthquakes are experienced.

5. Slopes are not steep. Pebbles and rock fragments are accumulated in the piedmont area.


C. The Old-Age of Mountains:

1. The rivers have attained old age.

2. Monadnocks are found denuded and are a common sight.

3. The mountains are low. Peneplain condition seems imminent.

4. The area is broad, low and leveled which has wavy hills at some places.





Plateaus are extensive upland areas characterized by flat and rough top surface and steep walls which rise above the neighbouring ground surface at least for 300 m.

On the basis of mode of formation the plateaus can be classified into:

1. Plateaus Formed by Running Water: Many parts of the Deccan of India (Kaimur Plateau, Rewa Plateau, Rohtas Plateau, Bhander Plateau), Brazilian Plateau.

2. Plateaus formed by Glacial Erosion: Plateau of Greenland and Antarctica, Garhwal Plateau.

3. Plateaus formed by Glacial Deposition: Russian Plateau, Finland Plateau, Merg of Kashmir.

4. Aeolian plateaus: Loess Plateau of China, Potwar Plateau of Rawalpindi in Pakistan.

5. Plateaus formed by endogenic processes:

(a) Intermontane Plateaus: Tibetan Plateau, Bolivian Plateau, Peruvian Plateau, Columbian Plateau, Mexican Plateau.

(b) Piedmont Plateaus: Appalachian Plateau, Patagonian Plateau, Colorado Pla- teau.

(c) Dome Plateaus: Ozark Massif (USA), Chhotanagpur Plateau.

(d) Lava Plateaus: Columbian Plateau, Mahabaleshwar Plateau.

(e) Continental Plateau: Deccan plateau, Ranchi plateau, Shillong plateau, Colum- bia Plateau, Mexican Plateau etc. etc.

(f) Coastal Plateau: Coromandal coastal upland of India.

(g) Rejuvenated Plateau: Missouri Plateau (USA).

(h) Mature Plateau: Ranchi Plateau, Hazaribagh Plateau, Appalachian Pla- teau (USA).

(i)Young Plateau: Idaho Plateau (USA), Colorado Plateau (USA), Mahabaleshwar Plateau, Khandala up- land (Maharashtra).




Plains can be defined as flat areas with low height. They may be above or below sea level e.g. coastal plains of Netherlands.

The plains may be classified as under:

1. Formation of plain due to deposition of sediments over submerged coastlands e.g. Coromandal coastal plains.

2. River deposited plains e.g. north Indian plains

3. Piedmont alluvial plain e.g. Bhabar plain

4. Flood plains e.g. Khadar and Bhangar plains

5. Lava plains e.g. plains of New Zealand, Iceland etc.

6. Glaciated plains e.g. north west Eurasian plain.


A. Erosional Plains

1. Plains of Fluvial Erosion: The plains formed by river erosion have a lot of variation because of the stages of erosional development, the initial slope and the structure of basal rocks.

(a) The Dissected Plains of the Youth: The Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, east of the Rockies belong to this category of plains. The broad water-divides, large valleys are the main characteristics of such plains. The drainage is dendritic in nature.

(b) The Dissected Plains of Maturity: Such plains are found in North Missouri, Southern Iowa and Eastern Nebraska of USA. Areas of gentle slope are very limited and plain areas are available more in the valleys and the water divides are reduced to small ridges.

(c) The Plains of Old Age: Peneplain and Panplains usually represent this stage of plains.

Peneplain: Very few areas like Guinea plain in the north-east S. America are fully developed peneplains. The Appalachian had developed into peneplains in the ancient times but was later uplifted again. Here the high summits are of equal heights.

Panplains: A plain formed of flood plains joined by their own strength. It is a product of lateral erosion by streams.

2. Glaciated Plains : When the ice sheet melted specially in N. America and W. Eurasia , the area eroded by ice was exposed . Here the rivers have adjusted themselves before the extension of ice sheet. Lakes, swamps, waterfalls and rapids are common.

3. Aeolian Plains: Winds blow the sand and starts the activities of deflection, abrasion, etc. The plains produced by the wind actions are Reg, Serir and Hamada.

4. Plains of Semi-arid Denudation : This type of plain includes the peneplains of USA and the pediplains of south-west of Africa.

5. Plains at Continental Edges: Theses have evolved at the sea coast by the action of waves and later uplifted. The flat plains situated at the coast of Norway fall into this category.

6. Karst Plains: They are found in limestone areas. The underground water removed the limestone layer by the process of solution. A large number of depressions are produced in these plains e.g. the coastal plain of Adriatic Sea and the Karst plain of Florida (USA).


B. Depositional Plains

1. Plains of Alluvial Deposition : The deposition of the sediments takes place in three areas – the floor , the mouth and the valley of the river where the slope suddenly decreases. The shape of such depositional plain changes according to the method and place of deposition and forms three types of plains.

Flood Plains: Here the river deposits its sediments by meandering through its course. The flood plains of Mississippi, Ganga, Indus and Nile are good ex- amples.

Deltaic Plains: When the river termi- nates in the sea or lake, the deltas are formed due to deposition. The deltaic plains resemble flood plains but the ex- istence of large number of distributaries provides them with a distinction. Marshes and natural levees are common here. The Deltaic plains of the Ganga, the Indus, the Nile and the Mississippi are famous.

Piedmont Alluvial Plains: The piedmont alluvial fans combine together and form a plain. Rough particles are found at the apex but the particles of debris get finer as we move towards the periph- ery.

2. Plains of Glacial Deposition: These are found in N. America and Europe, in areas which were affected by glacial action. The surface is slightly undulating and has low and broad ridges and depressions.

3. Desert Plains of Wind Erosion: The Loess Plain of China was formed by the windblown deposition of Gobi desert, situated west of it. Some other examples of such plains are the Sahara of Africa, the Koum of Russian Turkistan, the north- central Nebraska, etc.

4. Plains of Marine Deposition: They develop near the coast of shallow sea. Sand, alluvium, vegetation, etc. are deposited at the coastal areas of Netherlands, Germany,

Denmark, The Gulf of Mexico in U.S.A., etc.




Deserts are classified by their geographical location and dominant weather pattern as trade wind, midlatitude, rain shadow, coastal, monsoon, or polar deserts. Former desert areas presently in nonarid environments are paleodeserts, and extraterrestrial deserts exist on other planets.

Trade wind deserts

Africa’s Sahara Desert The trade winds in two belts on the equatorial sides of the Horse Latitudes heat up as they move toward the Equator. These dry winds dissipate cloud cover, allowing more sunlight to heat the land. Most of the major deserts of the world lie in areas crossed by the trade winds. The world’s largest desert, the Sahara of North Africa, which has experienced temperatures as high as 57° C, is a trade wind desert.


Midlatitude deserts

Midlatitude deserts occur between 30° and 50° N. and S., poleward of the subtropical highpressure zones. These deserts are in interior drainage basins far from oceans and have a wide range of annual temperatures. The Sonoran Desert of southwestern North America is a typical midlatitude desert.


Coastal deserts

Coastal deserts generally are found on the western edges of continents near the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. They are affected by cold ocean currents that parallel the coast. Because local wind systems dominate the trade winds, these deserts are less stable than other deserts. Winter fogs, produced by upwelling cold currents, frequently blanket coastal deserts and block solar radiation. Coastal deserts are relatively complex because they are at the juncture of terrestrial, oceanic, and atmospheric systems. A coastal desert, the Atacama of South America, is the Earth’s driest desert. In the Atacama, measurable rainfall–1 millimeter or more of rain–may occur as infrequently as once every 5-20 years.



Monsoon deserts

“Monsoon,” derived from an Arabic word for “season,” refers to a wind system with pronounced seasonal reversal. Monsoons develop in response to temperature variations between continents and oceans. The southeast trade winds of the Indian Ocean, for example, provide heavy summer rains in India as they move onshore. As the monsoon crosses India, it loses moisture on the eastern slopes of the Aravalli Range. The Rajasthan Desert of India and the Thar Desert of Pakistan are parts of a monsoon desert region west of the ranqe.


Polar deserts

Polar deserts are areas with annual precipitation less than 250 millimeters and a mean temperature during the warmest month of less than 10° C. Polar deserts on the Earth cover nearly 5 million square kilometers and are mostly bedrock or gravel plains. Sand dunes are not prominent features in these deserts, but snow dunes occur commonly in areas where precipitation is locally more abundant. Temperature changes in polar deserts frequently cross the freezing point of water. This “freeze-thaw” alternation forms patterned textures on the ground, as much as 5 meters in diameter.

The Dry Valleys of Antarctica have been ice-free for thousands of years



Data on ancient sand seas (vast regions of sand dunes), changing lake basins, archaeology, and vegetation analyses indicate that climatic conditions have changed considerably over vast areas of the Earth in the recent geologic past. During the last 12,500 years, for example, parts of the deserts were more arid than they are today. About 10 percent of the land between 30? N. and 30 S. is covered now by sand seas. Nearly 18,000 years ago, sand seas in two vast belts occupied almost 50 percent of this land area. As is the case today, tropical rain forests and savannahs were between the two belts.

Fossil desert sediments that are as much as 500 million years old have been found in many parts of the world. Sand dune-like patterns have been recognized in presently nonarid environments. Many such relict dunes now receive from 80 to 150 millimeters of rain each year. Some ancient dunes are in areas now occupied by tropical rain forests.

The Nebraska Sand Hills is an inactive 57,000square kilometer dune field in central Nebraska. The largest sand sea in the Western Hemisphere, it is now stabilized by vegetation and receives about 500 millimeters of rain each year. Dunes in the Sand Hills are up to 120 meters high.