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IAS Foundation 2023-24, Batch Starts: 27th July

Geography Optional Paper I and Paper II by Prince Mishra

  • Category
  • Test Date
    2022-06-21 07:00:00
  • Evaluated


  • Attempt both questions
  • The test carries 30 marks.
  • Write Each answer in 150 words.
  • Any page left blank in the answer-book must be crossed out clearly.
  • Evaluated Copy will be re-uploaded on the same thread after 2 days of uploading the copy.
  • Discussion of the question and one to one answer improvement session of evaluated copies will be conducted through Google Meet with concerned faculty. You will be informed via mail or SMS for the discussion.

Question #1. ”Geographical factors have an unavoidable influence on present day regional imbalance”, examine.

Question #2. Explain the glacial control theory of Daly regarding the origin of coral reef.

(Examiner will pay special attention to the candidate's grasp of his/her material, its relevance to the subject chosen, and to his/ her ability to think constructively and to present his/her ideas concisely, logically and effectively).

Model Answer

Question #1. ”Geographical factors have an unavoidable influence on present day regional imbalance”, examine.

Geographical factors such as mountains, rivers, desert regions have historically played an important role in regional imbalance. Many environmental determinists have been major votaries of this belief system.

Example Strabo attempted to trace the influence of physical features of an area on character and history of its inhabitants. To justify his point he said Italy was developed then due to its strategic position and Rome was thriving due to its trade with east i.e. India.

Further, even Huntington in his work “pulse of Asia “, has opined that the rise and fall of great civilizations like the Indus, Chinese and Greeks  was due to physiography.

Regional imbalance can be mapped on the two basis:

  • Social parameters – human development index.
  • Economic parameters – world banks GDP per capita income.

Physical Factors leading to regional imbalance

  • Climate
  • Terrain
  • Topography
  • Soil
  • Hydrology
  • Vegetation and forest cover

Plains invite civilization, mountains push them away, deserts deny them and coasts augment them. River valleys act as cradles of civilization.

Availability of groundwater, river water, river transport, fertile land, and fertile soil always attracted man's settlement and development. Attitude of people, work ethos, risk bearing capacity also play an important role. E.g. The Green revolution succeeded in North-Western India and not in Eastern parts. The enterprising nature of Gujaratis, Marwaris, Jains led to the development of industries and business in their region.

  • Vidal De La Blache says that "river basins have functional homogeneity and are the gravity centers of civilization where nature is protective and supportive to man".
  • Soil is the most important natural resource.
  • Most river valleys and coastal areas have harbored most of humanity.

Regional imbalance in world can be developed into :

  1. High developed regions - High per capita income region and high HDI regions , in the world map most of the developed countries and regions are seen to be located in the plain regions of river deltas example – east Asian region on the river deltas of yellow rivers and yangtze river. Further, most of high per capita income(PCI) also coincide with large agricultural productive regions such as western European region coinciding with pustaz of Hungary , prairies grassland in midwest USA. Most of industrially developed countries such as USA, west European countries  have coal ,iron ore in their  background example USA industrial area developed from iron ore from Canada and coal from Pittsburgh .
  2. Low developed areas – these areas have physical low resources, some of most under developed countries are physically handicapped in their growth. The low development of Africa, Asia and Latin American regions can be defined in terms of climatic factors which hindered agriculture.

However physical factors alone won’t lead to regional imbalance rather some other factors also decide the growth pattern.

  • Historical factors – colonial rule promoting some areas over others leading to growth pole prospect, for example Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai in India.
  • Demographic factors – development of the USA is due to its vibrant migration policy while African countries are lagging in their  development due to demographic factors like high population growth and low literacy rate.
  • Economic factors (trade pattern, industrialization, agriculture development) – some resource rich regions like African countries are ill developed due to low technology adaptation.
  • Socio cultural factors – tribal culture in some of the forest rich regions like Africa , amazon basin in latin America has led to low resource exploitation.
  • Political factors – like stable governments ensure proper development ,while unstable governments with dictatorship has led to disparity example disparity in middle east and central Asian countries is due to autocratic monarchs.
  • Dynamic factors

Hence regional imbalance is a combination of both physical and human induced factors.


Question #2. Explain the glacial control theory of Daly regarding the origin of coral reef.

Glacial Control Theory of Daly

Daly propounded his theory of coral formation in the year 1915 after he was convinced that coral reefs were formed after the Pleistocene Ice Age. According to him, sea level fell by 33 to 38 fathoms due to glaciation (confinement of sea water in the form of ice on the continents) during Pleistocene Ice Age.

The existing corals died due to lowering of temperature of marine water. Wave-cut platforms were formed along continental coasts and islands due to abrasion by a sea wave. After the end of the ice age, the sea level again rose by 33 to 38 fathoms due to the return of sea water which was imprisoned on the continents in the form of ice during the ice age. In other words, the ice melted due to the rise of temperature and the melt-water after reaching the oceans raised their levels to the previous stage. Thus, the wave-cut platforms were submerged under sea water up to the depth of 33 to 38 fathoms. The corals which could survive during the glacial period and new coral polyps began to grow and establish their colonies on the seaward edges of submerged platforms. Thus, fringing reefs were formed on narrow wave-cut platforms while barrier reefs were formed on broad wave-eroded platforms. Atolls were formed around isolated wave eroded island peaks. Lagoons of uniform depth were formed between the reefs and the land because of uniform lowering of sea level due to glaciation during Pleistocene Ice Age.

Evaluation of the Theory: The glacial control theory of Daly is criticised on the following grounds- (I)

According to this theory the depth of all the lagoons of atolls and barrier reefs should be uniform but actual observations do not validate this concept. According to W.M. Davis the depth 01 different lagoons vary considerably. Not only this, even the depth at different parts of the same lagoons ranges between 12010 300 feet. In some lagoons the depth varies between 20 feet to 600 feet. (2) The coasts might have been cliffed due to wave erosion during the phase of the lowering of the sea level during

Pleistocene Ice Age. Thus, the cliffs formed during the glacial period should also be present now but they are seldom found. In fact, the corals might have protected the coasts from being cliffed. (3) If all the marine islands were eroded up to 33 10 38 fathoms then there should not be islands between the coasts and coral.

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