Geography Optional Question Paper: Previous Year Questions

Geography Optional Question Paper

Hey Dosto, Today, In this article, we will provide you Geography Optional Question Paper of Previous Years for UPSC Mains Examination.

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Geography Optional Question Paper [Topic Wise]


Geomorphology: Geography Optional Question Paper


  1. Discuss the views of W.M Davis and Walter Penck on the cycle of erosion. (1986)
  2. Discuss the evolution and characteristics of the landforms of glaciated regions. (1987)
  3. Write a short note on Karst landforms in about 200 words. (1988)
  4. Critically analyze the concept of plate tectonics and bring out the evidence to support it. (1988)
  5. Write a short note on Rejuvenated landforms in 200 words. (1989)
  6. Write a short note on Plate tectonics in about 200 words. (1990)
  7. Analyze the differences in the models of slope evolution proposed by Davis and Penk. (1990)
  8. Write a short note: Polycyclic landforms. (1991)
  9. Analyze the sequential development of landforms in either Karst or Coastal region. (1991)
  10. Write a short note: Classification of Earth Movements. (1992)
  11. Explain the factors causing rejuvenation in landscape and describe the resultant landforms. (1992)
  12. Write short note: Treppen concept. (1993)
  13. Discuss, with examples, the influence of vulcanism and diastrophism on the evolution of the landscape. (1993)
  14. Discuss the concept of the cycle of erosion and bring out clearly the difference between the views of Davis and Penck. (1994)
  15. Discuss the limitations of the theory of Continental Drift and show how the theory of plate Tectonics is an improvement over it. (1995)
  16. Discuss the processes of mechanical and chemical weathering and show their relationship with soil formation. (1996)
  17. Write a short note: Weathering and Soil formation. (1997)
  18. Discuss the concept of polycyclic landforms and present an analytical study of the polycyclic landforms of a selected region. (1997)
  19. Write a short note: Geomorphic processes. (1998)
  20. Discuss the concept of volcanicity and show how the theory of Plate Tectonics explains the mechanism of volcanism and volcanic eruptions. (1998)
  21. Bring out the distinctions between the continental drift theory and the plate tectonics theory. (1999)
  22. With reference to the theory of Plate tectonics, explain the origin and growth of the Young Fold Mountain systems of the World. (2000)
  23. Present a critical analysis of the theory of Isostacy. (2001)
  24. Provide a critique of the “geographical cycle” model, propounded by Davis. (2002)
  25. Write a short note: Geosyncline. (2002)
  26. Explain the sequential development of landforms associated with the coastal areas. (2003)
  27. Describe the landforms which are products of endogenetic forces. (2004)
  28. Write a short note: Peneplain (2004)
  29. “Structure is a dominant control factor in the evolution of landforms.” Discuss with suitable examples. (2005)
  30. Write short note: Role of seismic waves in the study of the earth’s interior. (2005)
  31. Critically evaluate the continental drift hypothesis of A. Wegener. (2006)
  32. Define the concept of isostasy and discuss the postulations of Airy and Pratt. (2007)
  33. Critically examine the concept of the geomorphic cycle and discuss the views of W.M. Davis and W. Penck. (2008)
  34. Write a short note on Seafloor spreading theory. (2008)
  35. Highlight the geomorphic features essentially found in topographies under the Second Cycle of erosion. (2009)
  36. Give a brief account of the principal land biomes and their latitudinal distribution. (2009)
  37. Discuss views on slope development provided by L.C. King. (2009)
  38. Write a short note on Essential conditions for the development of Karst topography. (2010)
  39. Bring out the relevance of seismic study in determining the structure of the interior of the earth. (2010)
  40. “Weathering is a complex phenomenon involving a number of processes and is influenced by various factors.” Elaborate. (2010)
  41. Write a short note on Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism. (2011)
  42. Name the climatically controlled agents of erosion. Explain how they differ in terms of properties of matter. Compare the landforms produced by each one of them. (2011)
  43. Explain the concept of isostasy as postulated by Airy and Pratt. (2011)
  44. Write short notes on Palaeozoic glacial evidence of Continental Drift. (2012)
  45. Write short notes on a Systems approach to landform analysis. (2012)
  46. Write a short note on Major components of IGPB. (2012)
  47. Explain how Bosche and Haldenhang lead to the Theory of Slope Replacement. (2012)
  48. Answer the following: Characteristics of the standard epigene cycle of erosion. (2012)
  49. Write short note: Differences between Normal cycle and Arid cycle of Davis. (2013)
  50. Write short note: Impact of Pleistocene Ice age on the crust of the Earth. (2013)
  51. Define the term ‘meander’ and describe the basic characteristics of entrenched meander and ingrown meander. (2014)
  52. State the concept of plate tectonics. How does it help in explaining the formation of the Himalayas and the Appalachian Mountains? (2014)
  53. State the concept of erosion surfaces and highlight the factors responsible for their development. (2014)
  54. Attempt a classification of the geomorphic process from the zonal point of view. (2015)
  55. Discuss the contribution of the American school of subaerial Denudation in geomorphology. (2015)
  56. Explain with examples as to how to channel dynamics has been responsible for the development of alluvial fans and cones. (2015)
  57. “Present-day landforms bear more complexity than simplicity”. Elucidate. (2015)
  58. Describe the “Basket of Eggs topography”. (2016)
  59. “In explaining the concept of Prediplanation’, King combined the ideas of Davis, Penck, and Wood with his own.” Elaborate. (2016)
  60. “Geological structure has a dominant control on landforms and is reflected on them.” Discuss. (2016)
  61. Write a note on pseudovolcanic features. (2017)
  62. “The knowledge of slope analysis has limited field application in slope management.” Explain. (2017)
  63. Discuss the concept of Periglacial cycle as propounded by Peltier. (2017)
  64. “Climate, slope gradient and rock structure influence the avulsion of channels.” Explain. (2017)

Climatology: Geography Optional Question Paper


  1. Compare the basis of the climatic classification of Koppen with that of Thornthwaite’s classification. (1986)
  2. Discuss critically the characteristics of tropical cyclones and analyze the extent to
  3. which they differ from the temperate cyclones. (1987)
  4. Attempt a classification of air masses and give the characteristic features and associated weather conditions of each class. (1988)
  5. Explain the origin, characteristics, and distribution of temperate cyclones. (1989)
  6. Explain the basic criteria used in Thornthwaite’s 1948 classification of climates. (1990)
  7. Write a short note: Hydrological cycle. (1991)
  8. Explain the origin, distribution, and characteristics of tropical cyclones. (1991)
  9. Discuss the origin, movements and characteristics of air masses and explain their role in influencing world climates. (1992)
  10. Explain the basis of Koppen’s classification of climates. Also, mention its merits and limitations. (1994)
  11. Write a short note: Inversion of temperature. (1995)
  12. Explain and illustrate the life-cycle of a temperate cyclone and also describe the weather associated with it. (1995)
  13. Examine critically the drawbacks of Koppen’s Classification of climates. Explain how Thornthwaite attempted to overcome Koppen’s limitations. (1996)
  14. Define air masses. How do they originate? Classify them and state the characteristics of any one type. (1997)
  15. Discuss the nature and composition of the earth’s atmosphere. (1998)
  16. Write short note: Cs type of climate, as per Koppen’s classification (1999)
  17. Make a comparative study of the tropical and temperate cyclones. (1999)
  18. Give an account of the types and distribution of precipitation on the surface of the earth. (2000)
  19. Discuss the concept of air-masses and present their classification. (2001)
  20. Discuss the criteria which Thornthwaite adopted for his 1948 classification of the World climate. (2002)
  21. Discuss the mechanism and significance of tricellular meridional circulation of the atmosphere. (2003)
  22. How would the impact of global warming differ from one part of the earth to another? (2004)
  23. Write a short note on Potential evapotranspiration. (2004)
  24. Discuss the main features of the climatic classification system evolved by Koppen. Also, point out its Anomalies. (2005)
  25. Compare the structure and associated weather conditions of a tropical cyclone with that of the temperate cyclone. (2006)
  26. Discuss the development of local winds, and their influence on local weather, giving three examples of the well-known local winds in the world. (2007)
  27. Discuss the mechanism and origin of Monsoon winds & explain the role of EI Nino on Monsoon circulation. (2008)
  28. Explain factors contributing to Global Climate Change. (2009)
  29. Discuss the consequences of Climate Change on agriculture and food security, and on the Coastal Zones of the world. (2009)
  30. How does Climate Change affect urban areas? (2009)
  31. Write a short note on tropical atmospheric instability. (2009)
  32. Write a short note on Inversion of temperature. (2010)
  33. What is ‘polar front’? How does cyclone develop along this front? Describe the weather conditions associated with it. (2010)
  34. Examine the various kinds of atmospheric humidity and their associated forms. (2010)
  35. Write a short note on Rossby waves and Jet Stream. (2011)
  36. Give an account of the global distribution of precipitation. (2011)
  37. “Contemporary global climate change is an anthropogenic phenomenon.” Discuss. (2011)
  38. Compare and contrast tropical cyclone and temperate cyclone. (2012)
  39. Classify airmasses and explain how ‘cP’ airmasses affect global climate. (2012)
  40. Answer the following: Impact of Cryosphere on global climate. (2012)
  41. Write short note: Differentiate Storm Surges and Seiches. (2013)
  42. With suitable examples, bring out the impact of local winds on the climate of an area. (2013)
  43. Discuss Dew point and various forms of condensation. (2013)
  44. Bring out the relationship between climate and vegetation in the Mountain Biome. (2013)
  45. Discuss the salient features of ‘sirocco’ and mistral’. (2014)
  46. Describe the origin and development of thunderstorms with examples. (2014)
  47. Discuss the nature and origin of the Indian monsoon and recent techniques of its prediction. (2014)
  48. Discuss as to how frontogenesis contributes to weather instability. (2015)
  49. What is Potential Evapotranspiration? Explain how it is used in assessing the water balance in an area. (2015)
  50. Discuss the basis of Koppen’s climatic classification of ‘Cs’ type of climate. (2015)
  51. Explain the meridional circulation of the atmosphere and its importance in world climate. (2015)
  52. The differential between insolation and temperature and explain anomalous temperature. (2016)
  53. Compare the origin and weather condition associated with the tropical and temperate cyclones. (2016)
  54. Discuss the significance of the World Climate Research Programme (WCEF) and its core projects in the understanding of climatic change. (2016)
  55. Discuss the forces which govern the air movement on the Earth’s surface. (2017)
  56. “Climate change is a reality.” Explain with suitable examples. (2017)

Oceanography: Geography Optional Question Paper

  1. Write a short note on Pelagic deposits in about 200 words. (1986)
  2. Give an account of marine resources and discuss their present-day utilization. (1986)
  3. Give a reasoned account of the contents of the Atlantic Ocean and their impact on the climatic conditions of the coastal regions. (1987)
  4. Write a short note on Coral reefs in about 200 words. (1988)
  5. Write short note on ocean bottom relief in about 200 words. (1989)
  6. Discuss the theories of the formation of coral reefs proposed by Daly, Darwin, and Davis. (1990)
  7. Draw a hypsographic curve to represent the major physiographic units of the ocean and comment on their permanency. (1991)
  8. Give a reasoned account of the distribution of salinity in the oceans and partially enclosed seas. (1993)
  9. Write a short note: Food from the sea. (1995)
  10. Explain and illustrate the ocean floor topography and give a detailed account of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. (1996)
  11. Write short note: Marine resources, biotic mineral, and energy resources. (1997)
  12. Examine critically the theories of the formation of coral reefs and atolls. (1997)
  13. Explain and illustrate the submarine relief of the Atlantic Ocean. (1998)
  14. Write a short note: Submarine canyons. (1999)
  15. Write short note: T-S diagram. (2000)
  16. Write short note: Formation of coral reefs. (2001)
  17. Present a concise account of bottom relief of the Indian Ocean. (2003)
  18. Discuss the mid-Atlantic Ridge in terms of its origin, extent, and relief. (2004)
  19. Write a short note: Pelagic deposits. (2004)
  20. Write short note: ocean currents of Northern Atlantic Ocean. (2006)
  21. Discuss the different bases for classifying the ocean deposits and give a detailed account of pelagic deposits of the oceans. (2007)
  22. Write short note: Eustatic changes of Sea-level (2007)
  23. Describe the ideal conditions for coral reef formation and discuss the glacial control theory of coral reef formation. (2008)
  24. Examine the economic significance of the resource of the Continental shelf of the Indian Ocean. (2009)
  25. Comment on marine heat budget and the oceanic circulation system. (2009)
  26. Write a short note on Ocean deposits. (2010)
  27. Explain the scientifically sound methods of bathymetry and give an account of the bottom topography of the Atlantic Ocean. (2010)
  28. Write a short note on Salinity patterns in the Indian Ocean. (2011)
  29. “Temperature, salinity and density differences in ocean water are the prime causes of ocean water circulation.” Elaborate. (2011)
  30. Write short notes on different layers of ocean water above the abyssal plain. (2012)
  31. “Atolls present the most challenging explanation in the evolution of coral reefs” Discuss. (2012)
  32. What is “Base level”? Explain the types of base level. (2013)
  33. “Offshore Acoustic Study helped the development of the concept of seafloor spreading”. Explain. (2013)
  34. Compare the Subsidence and Glacial control theories on the formation of coral reefs. (2013)
  35. Illustrate the origin and nature of the Sargasso Sea and Lagoon. (2014)
  36. Give a critical account of reasons and consequences of marine pollution. (2014)
  37. Give an account of recent observations on coral bleaching with reference to Clive Wilkinson’s Report. (2014)
  38. Describe the characteristics of different types of pelagic deposits. (2015)
  39. Discuss Maritime Zones. (2016)
  40. “The relationship between the winds and the currents is best seen in the Indian Ocean.” Justify. (2016)
  41. Bring out the various ecological problems associated with the exploitation and use of oceans and their resources. (2016)
  42. Distinguish between low energy coasts and coral coasts. (2017)
  43. Discuss the impacts of ocean currents on air mass behavior. (2017)
  44. Explain the concept of micro carbon sink and its relevance. (2017)
  45. Describe the configuration of the Pacific Ocean floor. (2017)

Biogeography: Geography Optional Question Paper

  1. Present a classification of the soils of the world and give their economic significance. (1992)
  2. Write short note: biotic succession.
  3. Write a short note: Man, and the Amazon rainforest.
  4. Short note: Soil genesis.
  5. Short note: Soil Profile.
  6. Short note: Agro-forestry.
  7. Short note: Genesis of Soils.
  8. Short note Soil erosion and conservation.
  9. Short note: Distribution of Soils.
  10. Short note: Zonal and Azonal soils.
  11. Write a short note on Floristic kingdoms, based on their global distribution.
  12. Write short notes on the Soil profile in Zonal and Azonal soils.
  13. Define the term biome. List the terrestrial biomes and describe the characteristics of Savanna biome.
  14. Answer the following: Adaption and distribution of animals int the Ethiopian realm.
  15. Write short note: Types of endemic plants and their degree of vulnerability to extinction.
  16. State the uniqueness of the Eurasian Steppe Biome.
  17. Explain weathering and mass wasting, and describe their geomorphic significance.
  18. Define the zoogeographic region. Also, describe the basic faunal makeup of the Neo-Arctic zoogeographic region.
  19. Classify soils based on their zonal distribution and describe the characteristics of pedocals.
  20. Bring out the ecological significance of the Tropical Rainforest Biome.
  21. Describe Newbigin’s scheme of Floristic regions of the world and explain the Mediterranean Floristic region.
  22. Describe the characteristics of biological deserts.
  23. Distinguish between the characteristics of Chernozem and Sierozem soils.
  24. Give the classification of plants based on the amount of water requirement.
  25. ………………………………………………………………………………………….

Environmental Geography: Geography Optional Question Paper

  1. Write a short notes on World’s biotic regions.
  2. Discuss, in detail, man’s impact on the ecosystem as a result of modern technological advancement.
  3. Divide the world into major biotic regions and explain the basis of your division.
  4. Examine the causes of ecological imbalances and briefly explain the measures taken to rectify them.
  5. Write short note: Concept of Ecosystem.
  6. Define the ecosystem and describe briefly its various components. Also, discuss how and to what extent the modern man has affected the various types of ecosystems.
  7. Short note: Biodiversity.
  8. Write a short notes: Sustainable development.
  9. Indicate the major biotic regions of the world and discuss the ecological aspects of the monsoon region.
  10. Write a short notes: Natural Hazards.
  11. ‘Man must realize the importance of maximizing agricultural production without destroying the ecological basis on which our entire food production systems rest’. Explain with examples.
  12. Write short notes: Desertification and its preventive measures.
  13. Examine the impact of advanced agricultural technology on the environment. Support your answer with examples.
  14. Discuss the relevance of ‘watershed’, as an ecosystem for the purpose of sustainable development.
  15. Discuss the causes and consequences of environmental degradation and highlight the related conservation measures.
  16. Discuss the concept, components, and functioning of an ecosystem.
  17. Write in detail the concept of the biosphere as an ecosystem.
  18. Write a short note: Environmental pollution.
  19. Bring out the major problems of environmental pollution at the global scale and suggest measures to check it.
  20. Discuss the global ecological imbalances and their management.
  21. Write a short note: Sustainable development.
  22. Write a short note: Social Forestry and Environmental Conservation.
  23. Write short notes on Desertification as an environmental hazard.
  24. Give an account of the structure of the ecosystem and describe its functional aspects.
  25. Write a short note on Marine Ecosystem.
  26. Discuss how different types of mining lead to different types of environmental problems.
  27. Answer the following: Programmes initiated by the International Council of Science on Earth system studies.
  28. Write short note: Uniqueness of fauna in the Notogean realm.
  29. What are the characteristics that make CHC a serious threat to the ecosystem? Give examples.
  30. Explain the levels of Noise pollution and legislative measures to control it.
  31. “Ellen Churchill Semple is an ardent supporter of Determinism.” Explain.
  32. Give an account of the nature of the biosphere as an ecosystem.
  33. Enumerate the major causes of increasing degradation of the environment in hills and hillslopes, and state its down-valley impact.
  34. Explain the characteristics of ecological succession.
  35. Comment on the impact of environmental education on quality of life.
  36. Discuss the method of conserving biodiversity for sustainable development.
  37. Explain the different stages of ecological adaptation of man and bring out the changing balance between man and environment.
  38. Explain the hydro-meteorological hazards in the Himalayas.
  39. Give a reasoned account on how the impact of Global Warming differs from one part of the Earth to the other.
  40. Write a critical note on the tendency of “use and throw” in the context of economic status and environment.
  41. Discuss the major characteristics of ‘CBD’.
  42. Discuss the Perception, Attitude, Value, and Emotion (PAVE) Theory of environmental management.
  43. ………………………………………………………………………………..


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