KCSE Geography Paper 1 and Paper 2 Questions and Answers


Give two ways through which volcanic rocks formed

  • formed through lava flows
  • formed due to ejection of volcanic materials/volcanic ejecta


What is weather?

This is the state/condition of the atmosphere of a given place at a given time or over a short period of time


Differentiate between folding and faulting

  • Faulting is the cracking or fracturing of the rocks of the earth's crust due to earth movement while folding is the bending of the rocks of the earth's crust due to earth movement


Give two types of folds

  • simple symmetric fold
  • assymetric fold
  • overfold
  • isoclinal fold
  • Recumbent fold
  • Nape or overthrust fold
  • Anticlinorium and synclinorium complex


Give one feature formed when;

(i) tectonic plates move toward each other

  • fold mountains
  • ocean trench

ii) tectonic plates move away from each other

  • mid ocean ridges
  • faults


State three effects of the movements of the sun around the earth

  • Changes in the position of the midday sun at different times of the year
  • Variation in the length of day and night at different times of the year.
  • Causes seasons
  • Causes lunar eclipse


State three characteristics of a Stevenson's screen

  • painted white to reflect heat and light
  • is made of wood because wood is a poor conductor of heat
  • it has louvres to allow free circulation of heat
  • It has metallic legs/stand to prevent termites from destroying the wood
  • It is raised about 1.2 metres above the ground to prevent terrestrial radiation


Name the grassland found in the following countries

(i) Canada - Praires

(ii) Russia - Steppes


State three ways in climate influences the desert vegetation

  • The area has scanty vegetation because of low rainfall
  • The high temperatures/ high rate of evaporation leave the ground dry leading to scanty vegetation
  • The long periods of drought causes seeds to remain dormant state only to germinate during short rains


Differentiate between aridity and desertification

Aridity refers to the state of land being deficient in moisture leading to scanty vegetation or lack of vegetation completely while desertification is the slow and steady encroachment of large areas of barren land covered with sand onto formerly productive agricultural land


State four ways in which human activities causes aridity and desertification

  • Deforestation leads to severe soil erosion / interferes with hydrological cycle and arid conditions set in
  • Setting up of irrigation schemes and reclamation of swampland has led to the lowering of the water table level causing arid conditions to set in
  • Poor irrigation practices can lead to soil salinisation which would not eventually support plant life
  • Poor agricultural practices such as over cultivation, monoculture , shifting cultivation, ploughing up and down  the slope all lead to soil degeneration


Describe three theories  that explain the formation of Fold Mountains

The Contraction Theory

After the formation, the earth's surface rocks cooled faster than those of the interior. As the interior continued to cool the surface rocks wrinkled to fit on the contracting interior leading to fold mountains

The Convection Theory

Convectional currents within the molten rock in the mantle move in circular motion towards the crust. These currents exert a frictional drag with the sima rocks causing crustal rocks to move horizontally resulting into the formation of fold mountains

Plate Tectonics Theory

When an oceanic plate meets a continental plate, the dense oceanic plate sinks beneath the higher continental one. The lighter continental plate due to compression crumbles to form fold mountains


Define the term environment    (KCSE 2020 GEOGRAPHY PAPER 1 BEGINS HERE)    

  • Environment is the external conditions that surround an organism
  • Conditions that influence the behaviour and development of an organism


Name two divisions of the physical geography

  • Climatology
  • Biogeography
  • Geomorphology
  • Hydrology
  • Pedology


Give three characteristics of Comets

  • They are made up of frozen gases/dust/small rocky particles
  • They have a head and tail
  • They move along oval-shaped orbit
  • They cross orbits followed by planets


State three proofs that show that the shape of the earth is spherical

  • The gradual emergence of a ship approaching the shore
  • The earth is a planet and all planets are spheres
  • During the lunar eclipse, the spherical shadow of the earth is cast on the moon
  • Photographs taken from satellite clearly shows that the earth is spherical
  • The earth's horizon appear curved/circular when viewed from a very point
  • The difference in times at which the sun sets and rises in different parts of the world
  • Circumnavigation along a straight path leads to starting from the opposite direction


Give two types of igneous rocks

  • Extrusive igneous rocks/Volcanic/hypabyssal
  • Intrusive igneous rock/Plutonic


Identify three uses of rocks

  • Rocks weather down to form soil that supports agriculture
  • Some rock features are tourist attraction
  • Some rocks provide materials for building construction
  • Some rocks are source of salt
  • Some rocks provide raw materials for manufacturing industries


The table below shows the rainfall and temperature data for town Y. Use it to answer the questions

Month J F M A M J J A S O N D
Temperature (0c) 21 21 20 18 15 14 13 13 15 16 18 20
Rainfall(mm) 24 25 30 74 17 143 131 126 70 55 31 27

Month J F M A M J J A S O N D
Temperature (0c) 21 21 20 18 15 14 13 13 15 16 18 20
Rainfall(mm) 24 25 30 74 17 143 131 126 70 55 31 27

(a) (i) What is the mean annual range of temperature

        (21-13) = 8 degrees celsius

    (ii) Calculate the rainfall total for town Y


 (b) state three climatic conditions experienced in the hot deserts

  • Low rainfall below 250 mm per year
  • High temperatures throughout the year
  • The diurnal range of temperatures is very high/ Hot days and cold nights
  • Low humidity
  • The skies are cloudless
  • There are strong dusty winds/sand storms


Differentiate between ocean and sea

  • An ocean is a large/extensive body of saline water occupying a basin between continents while a sea a large body of saline water along the continental margins


The diagram below shows the coastal features. Name the features labelled E, F, G

  • E-Blow-hole/Gloup
  • F-Cave
  • G- Cliff



Define the term vulcanicity

It is the process through which solid, gaseous and solid materials are forced into the earth's crust or onto the surface of the earth due to high pressure and temperature


Name three stages in the life cycle of a volcano

  • Active
  • Dormant
  • Extinct


Describe how the following volcanic features are formed

Lava Plateau

  • It is formed when magma reaches the earth's surface through multiple vents/fissures
  • The lava is ultrabasic/ extremely fluid
  • The lava flows over long distances evenly covering hills and depressions
  • The lava cools slowly and solidifies
  • successive eruptions lead to more and more layers building up forming a lava plateau


  • lava pours out of a central vent to form a volcanic cone
  • The vent is sealed when lava solidifies in it
  • The solidified lava blocks gases and steam beneath preventing them from escaping
  • Pressure piles up below the lava
  • The pressure leads to a violent eruption which blows off the top of the cone forming a depression
  • The depression is large and circular and it is known as a caldera


  • Water percolates underground through cracks in the round
  • The water gets in contact with hot igneous rocks
  • The water is superheated to form gases/steam
  • Pressure builds up
  • pressure forces steam and water to be ejected to the surface
  • The water and steam is emitted intermittently as pressures level changes to form a geyser




Geography Paper 2 questions

What is a mineral ore?

  • A rock bearing a valuable mineral within the crust of the earth

state three formations in which mineral ores occur in the earth's crust

  • Veins
  • seams and beds
  • Alluvial deposits
  • Weathered rock products

What is cottage industry?

  • This is a small industry usually in the rural areas and which uses local raw materials and require little capital to start and operate

Identify two areas in Kenya where wind energy is harnessed

  • Northern Kenya
  • Ngong Hills
  • Coastal region
  • Some parts of Nyanza

Give three advantages of wind energy

  • Inexhaustible
  • Available as long as wind blows
  • It is cheap
  • It is clean/ Non-pollutant
  • Can be produced on a small scale
  • Supplements other sources of energy
  • Land between the wind mills can be used for other purposes






  1. a) What is human geography.                                                                                          (2mks)
  • It is a branch of geography that deals with peoples’s activities on the earth surface.

b) State three importance of studying geography.                                                      (3mks)

  • It helps develop mental skills.
  • It enables leaners understand, appreciate different environmental influences.
  • It encourages international awareness/cooperation.
  • It helps learners appreciate important social values such as tire management responsibility.
  • It promotes positive attitude towards protection/conservation of reasources.
  • It leads to development of carrier opportunities.
  • It enables learners to explain the origin, founding of the earth/landforms.
  1. a) List two methods of underground mining.                                                               (2mks)
  • Drilling mining
  • Deep/shaft mining
  • Adit /drift mining
  • Solution mining

b) State three ways in which minerals occur.                                                               (3mks)

  • Minerals may occur in veins and lodes.
  • Minerals may occur in seams and beds.
  • Minerals may occur as weathering product.
  • Minerals may occur as placer/alluvial deposits.
  1. a) Distinguish between fishing and fisheries.                                                                (2mks)
  • Fishing is the exploitation of water resources/Aquatic animals while Fisheries are the water bodies that contain fish and other related resources that merit fishing.

b) List three traditional methods of fishing.                                                                 (3mks)

  • Harpooning
  • Use of herbs
  • Use of barriers
  • Basket method
  • Use of hook and line
  • Use of camp and nets
  • Use of gill nets 
  1. a) Give two social factors influencing agriculture.                                                    (2mks)
  • Religious Beliefs
  • Culture/Tradition methods
  • Land tenure system 

b) State three characteristics of shifting cultivation.                                                 (3mks)

  • Vegetation is cleared by slashing and burry
  • There is little use of or no manure
  • The land is communally owned
  • It is mainly for subsistence
  • Plots are small and scattered
  • Farmers use simple tools
  • Farming mainly depends on family labour
  • Yields decline after a certain period of continuous use.
  1. a) What is a polder?                                                                                                           (2mks)
  • It refers to land reclaimed from sea in Netherlands.

b) Name three polders in Netherland.                                                                            (3mks)

  • Makawaata
  • Southern Flavoland
  • Eastern Flavoland
  • North East polder
  • Wieringermeer/ Wieringer



  1. Study the photograph below and answer questions below:

Description: scan 005_0



Glaciation: - is the action of moving ice on the surface of the earth. It involves erosion, deposition, and transportation. i.e. the process by which landscape is sculptured by the action of moving ice

Ice: - refers to solid water formed by freezing and condensation of atmospheric water vapour

Snow: - are falling pellets of frozen water from the atmosphere

Glacier: - is a mass of ice of limited width moving outwards from an area of accumulation

Ice sheet: - is a large and continuous mass of ice that covers a large area of a lowland

Ice cap: - is a permanent cover of ice on the earth’s surface covering smaller sections of land

 Iceberg: - permanent floating ice in large water bodies e.g. oceans 

Movement of Ice:

Ice moves outwards from its area of accumulation through the following processes: 

a. Basal slip
b. Extrusion flow
c. Plastic flowage
d. Basal slip

The weight of ice causes the ice layer in contact with the rocks beneath to melt slightly.

This creates a film of water which acts as a lubricant between the ice and rock surfaces.

The force of gravity then causes the ice to slip and slide over the underlying rock.
b. Extrusion flow

When ice accumulates, it builds up to great thickness at the centre.

The resultant weight compresses the layers of ice beneath forcing them to spread out where there is less pressure.2

c. Plastic flowage
Within a mass of ice, great pressure is exerted on the layers at the bottom, sides, and centre.

This pressure causes some ice particles to melt slightly thereby shifting their position slightly downhill before refreezing

Factors influencing the rate at which ice moves.

i. Gradient of the land- Ice moves faster on steep slopes compared to gentle slopes due to the influence of the force of gravity

ii. Thickness and weight of ice - Thick glacier moves faster as a result of their own weight exerting pressure at the bottom. This induces slight melting hence faster movement

iii. Friction - The movement of ice within a valley glacier is faster at the centre where friction is least than at the sides and at the bottom.

iv. Season – movement of ice is faster during summer because the ice thaws more frequently

Processes of Glaciation

This involves glacial erosion, glacial transportation, and glacial deposition

Glacial Erosion

This involves plucking, abrasion, and sapping

(a) Plucking/Quarrying

  • This occurs when ice at the base and the  sides of a glacier freeze onto the rocks
  • The rocks are then pulled and carried away by the moving ice
  • It is common in well-jointed or faulted rocks

(b) Abrasion

This is caused by rock debris that is embedded in a glacier.

This debris scratches, scrapes, and polishes the rock surfaces over which the glacier moves

(c) Sapping

This refers to the breaking of rocks through alternate freezing and thawing of the water
contained in the cracks between the glacier and the floor/side of the mountain

3. Factors Influencing Glacial Erosion

i. Nature of the underlying rock

Well-jointed/faulted rocks are easily eroded by the plucking process since the joints allow water to enter into the rock.

Soft rocks are eroded faster by abrasion compared to hard/resistant rocks.

ii. Availability of debris
Debris acts as an erosive tool. The more the debris embedded in the ice the more effective is abrasion process.

iii. Speed of the glacier

The faster the speed the greater the erosive energy.


iv. The thickness and weight of the glacier


A thick glacier exerts great pressure on the underlying rock causing weathering.
The rock debris embedded in the glacier is pressed down by the thick glacier to erode by abrasion.

Glacial Transportation


Materials transported by a glacier are called moraine. It consists of a variety of materials such as rock fragments, sand, gravel, and boulders

Moraines are of the following types:

a. Ground moraine: - load carried at the base or beneath a glacier
b. Lateral moraine: - load carried along the sides of the glaciers
c. Medial moraine: - load carried on the surface but at the centre
d. Terminal moraine: - material deposited by the glacier at the point where it melts


Glacial Deposition

Sometimes, parts of a glacier may become so heavily ladened that its ability to transport itssub glacial moraine is reduced or stopped, deposition then occurs

Glacial deposits are divided fluvioglacial and till deposits


Fluvio – glacial deposits are materials deposited by water from melting ice in a glacier whereas tills are moraines/materials deposited by ice on melting


4. Factors influencing glacial deposits

a. Gradient or slope of the area: - gentle slopes allow for the accumulation of large sheets of ice and subsequent deposition of fluvioglacial material (materials deposited by meltwater).

b. Stagnation of glacier: - leads to pressure being exerted at the base of the glacier which in turn leads to the melting of the base. The melt water then carries and deposits materialsm underneath the ice.

c. Friction between the moving ice and the rock surface leads to deposition of the heavy materials underneath the ice.

d. Weight of the glacier: - heavy glaciers tend to be deposited faster/more

e. Amount of glacial drift (till and fluvio glacial deposits). When a glacier has so many subglacial moraines, it becomes too heavy forcing it to deposit some of its load.

Resultant features of glaciation in highlands/highland areas

i. Cirques/corries

  • These are deep and wide hollows at the head of glaciated valley or high up above the sides of the valley
  • It is formed due to interchanging processes of freeze and thaw of snow in winter and summer respectively
  • When snow accumulates in a shallow and pre-existing depression on the mountainside or at the head of the valley forming a glacier
  • During summer, the snow melts and freezes again during winter
  • Glacial abrasion deepens the hollow
  • The plucking process steepens the back walls of the depression
  • This actions are repeated over time to form a depression known as a cirque
  • When the cirque is filled up with melt water/rain water it forms a corrie lake/tarn


ii. Arêtes

These are narrow sharp edged steep ridges that separate two corries/cirques

They form when two cirques cut back to back through headward recession i.e. backwardcutting of the walls of a cirque through plucking and nivation.

This results in very steep and sharp ridges called arêtes

iii. Pyramidal peak

  • This is a sharp and steep-sided peak surrounded by cirques/corries
  • It forms when cirques develop on all sides of a mountain
  • Frost action (through freeze and thaw/plucking) causes blocks of rocks on the mountain to be broken down resulting in the back walls of the cirque being steepened and deepened
  • The cirques then start to cut back simultaneously and form a sharp peak called a
    pyramidal peak


Examples of pyramidal peaks include Corynder and Delamere on Mt. Kenya. Also
Albert, Margherita and Alexandria peaks on Mt. Ruwenzori
iv. U shaped valleys/glacial trough
 These are flat and nearly flat bottomed valleys with steep sides and a U shaped cross
sectional profile
 A pre-existing river valley is filled with ice/glacier
 As ice moves downstream, tributary glaciers increase the amount of ice in the main
 Glacier erodes the V-shaped valley by plucking and abrasion
 The interlocking spurs are trimmed into truncated spurs.
 The glacier deepens, widens and straightens the valley floor forming a U-shaped glacial
 Other erosional and depositional features formed within the glacial trough are alluvial
fans and lateral moraines
Diagram on long profile section of a glacial trough6
v. Hanging valleys
 During the formation of a glacial trough, a small valley is left hanging above the major or
over deepened valley called a hanging valley
 Initially there is a main valley and a tributary valley
 Ice fills into these valleys
 The main valley is eroded faster as it contains more ice compared to the tributary
valleys. The floor of the main valley thus it at a much lower level than the tributary
 The ice melts and the tributary valleys are left at a higher level than the main valley
 They are seen to hang above the main valley as hanging valleys.
 Hanging valleys are common on the middle slopes of Mt. Kenya where they form
waterfalls e.g. Vivienne falls
vi. Fjords/fiords
 This is a submerged glacial trough on a highland coast formed after a glaciated valley is
drowned/submerged by sea/ocean
 Action of ice through plucking and abrasion results in the widening and deepening of the
lower sections of an already existing river valley
 With time, glacier disappears after melting leaving behind a steep sided valley.
 When there is a rise in the sea level, the straightened and deep glacial valley is
drowned/submerged by the sea water to form fiords/fjords
 They are mainly found in temperate lands along the Scandinavian countries
vii. Rock basin
 This is a depression within a glacial trough where differential erosion has taken place
especially areas that have less resistant rocks.
 At the point where two glaciers converged erosion is greater resulting in the formation of
a glacial depression called a rock basin.
 They also form in areas with less resistant rocks where the glacier removes these (less
resistant rocks) through abrasion and plucking; leaving behind a shallow depression
called a rock basin7
 Later, during the post glacial period, water may accumulate in the rock
basin/depression/hollow to form lakes called finger or ribbon lakes
Resultant features of glaciation in lowland areas
 These include both erosional and depositional features
Erosional features
i. Ice eroded plains
 These are extensive and almost level lowlands that were previously under ice sheets
 During glacial transportation, ground moraine erodes the rocks on the existing
landforms through abrasion and plucking to form long and extensive plains called ice
eroded plains
ii. Depressions
 Lowland glacial areas may comprise of less resistant rocks that are easily eroded by
ice sheets/glacier
 The glacier scoops out the materials from the surface through plucking and then
lowers it to form shallow depression.
 This depression may later fill with melt water to form a glacial lake
iii. Roche Mountonee
 This is a rock outcrop that has been eroded by the glacial processes of abrasion and
 Abrasion polishes and smoothens the upstream side of the rock outcrop whereas
plucking will make the downstream end to steep and rugged
 They are common in mounts Kilimanjaro and Ruwenzori8
iv. Crag and tail
 A crag is a steep-edged rocky outcrop or a hill side rock projection which protects a
mass of less resistant/softer rock (tail) on the downstream side of the glacier from ice
 The crag usually lies on the path of oncoming ice; the ice moves over and around the
crag but only slightly erodes its sides. The material that was being carried by the
glacier is deposited on the downstream/leeward side.
 Such deposits and the softer rocks form an elongated tail
Depositional features
i. Erratics
 This is a large boulder rock which has been transported by a glacier so that it rests on a
country rock which is different from it i.e. it has no relationship with the rock material
found in the area of deposition
 They are deposited on the inlands when the ice melts
ii. Boulder trains
 This is a group of erratics obtained from the same bedrock and which are deposited with
their apex pointing to the origin of the deposited materials in a linear form
iii. Tills
 This refers to unsorted and heterogeneous mixture of rocks, clay and sand that are
transported and deposited by the ice sheet on melting.
 They are of two types namely: lodgment and ablation tills
 Lodgment tills are deposited over the ice at the base as a glacier reaches its melting
point and the ice moves. The moving ice aligns the debris onto the sub glacial surface
 Ablation tills are deposited when the ice melts
iv. Kames and eskers
 Kames are isolated hills made of sand and gravel which have been deposited in layers
by glacial water9
 They are built by streams emerging at high levels from temporary and stagnant ice
 As the glacier front recedes, unsupported back of deposits collapses leaving a steep
faced hill called kames
 Eskers are long winding ridge of coarse sand and gravel that is formed by streams that
flow continuously beneath/within the ice but in a parallel direction to the moving ice
 As the ice front recedes, the streams continuously deposit the materials to form a long
winding ridge called eskers
v. Terminal moraines
 This is a long ridge of moraine formed by extensive deposition of moraine along the
edge of an ice sheet.
 It is formed when the ice remains stagnant for a long time causing the ice at the edges of
the ice sheet to melt
vi. Outwash plain
 This is a wide and gently sloping plain of gravel, fine sand and clay
 It forms when large ice sheets stagnate on a gently sloping landscape and start melting
along the edges.
 The sub glacial melt water spreads out carrying fine materials which are deposited
further down slope as the ice retreats.
 Pre-existing valleys are buried by these fluvio-glacial materials.
 The unconsolidated clay, silt, sand and gravel are deposited in mass covering a wide
area forming an undulating plain called an outwash plain
vii. Drumlins
 These are smooth and long hills deposited and shaped under an ice sheet or a very
broad glacier
 They are formed beneath the ice due to friction between the bedrock and the boulder
 This results to deposition of clay at the valley bottom.
 Further deposition leads to large mounds of till forming
 The moving ice streamlines the till that had been deposited irregularly resulting into
elongated egg-shaped hills called drumlins10
Significance of Glaciation
i. Outwash plains, old glacial beds and tills are at times very fertile thus leading to the
development of agriculture e.g. wheat producing regions within the Canadian prairies
ii. Some glacial lakes provide natural waterways e.g. the Great Lakes of Canada and North
America thus facilitates transport and communication
iii. Glaciers on highlands may form sources of river e.g. R. Tana on Mt. Kenya
iv. Waterfalls resulting from hanging valleys provide suitable sites for the generation of HEP
v. Glaciated mountain regions and their resultant features e.g. cirques, pyramidal peaks, etc.
attracts tourists during winter for games/sports hence earning foreign exchange
vi. Sheltered waters in the fiords provide suitable breeding grounds for fish and sites for
construction of natural harbours
vii. Sand for building and construction can be harvested from outwash plains, kames and
viii. Glaciation results into rugged landscape that makes settlement and construction of transport
and communication difficult
ix. Extensive areas of land are sometimes turned into glacial lakes by deposits from moraine
thus reducing the amount of land available for settlement
x. Some outwash plains may contain infertile sandy soils that hinder agricultural practices