What Is Aspect in Geography?

Henglein and Steets/Cultura/Getty Images

In geography, aspect denotes the compass direction in which the slope of a mountain faces. Aspect also describes flat land and refers to the direction one section of land faces with respect to another section. For example, a coastline has a westerly aspect if the sea is on the west.

Aspect sheds is an important metric for local climate delineations. For example, if the north-facing slope of a hilly region receives less sunlight during the day, then it is not a good location for planting crops that require ample sunlight. Furthermore, these same properties affect weather patterns in the local region, as one side of a mountain limits wind, whereas the opposite side accepts wind.