HOME

TheInfoList




A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other
planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Lat ...
. Landforms together make up a given
terrain Relief map of Sierra Nevada, Spain Terrain or relief (also topographical Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an area could refer to the surface forms and features themselves, or a desc ...

terrain
, and their arrangement in the landscape is known as
topography Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surface Relief map of Sierra Nevada, Spain Terrain or relief (also topographical Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an ...
. Landforms include
hill A hill is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the scie ...

hill
s,
mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is larger than a hill, typically rising at least ...

mountain
s,
plateau In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it is composed, and the proces ...

plateau
s,
canyon A canyon (; archaic British English spelling: ''cañon'') or gorge is a deep cleft between escarpments or cliffs resulting from weathering and the erosion, erosive activity of a river over Geologic time scale, geologic time scales. Rivers have a ...

canyon
s, and
valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will typically contain a river or stream running from one end to the other. Most valleys are formed by erosion of the land surface by rivers or streams over a ...

valley
s, as well as
shoreline A shore or a shoreline is the fringe of land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable over geologic time frames) and consist ...

shoreline
features such as
bay A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface ...

bay
s,
peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el ...

peninsula
s, and
sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
sea
s, including submerged features such as
mid-ocean ridge A mid-ocean ridge (MOR) is a seafloor mountain system formed by plate tectonics File:Earth cutaway schematic-en.svg, upright=1.35, Diagram of the internal layering of Earth showing the lithosphere above the asthenosphere (not to scale) Plate ...
s,
volcanoes A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface. On Earth, volcanoes are most often found where tectonic plat ...
, and the great
ocean basin 400px, Diagrammatic cross-section of an ocean basin, showing the various geographic features In hydrology Hydrology (from Greek: wikt:ὕδωρ, ὕδωρ, "hýdōr" meaning "water" and wikt:λόγος, λόγος, "lógos" meaning "study") ...
s.


Physical characteristics

Landforms these are categorized by characteristic physical attributes such as elevation, slope, orientation,
stratification Stratification may refer to: In mathematics: * Stratification (mathematics), any consistent assignment of numbers to predicate symbols * Stratified sampling , Data stratification in statistics In earth sciences: * Stable and unstable stratificati ...
, rock exposure, and soil type. Gross physical features or landforms include intuitive elements such as
berm A berm is a level space, shelf, or raised barrier (usually made of compacted soil In geotechnical engineering, soil compaction is the process in which stress applied to a soil causes densification as air is displaced from the pores between the ...

berm
s,
mound A mound is a heaped pile of earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is ...

mound
s,
hill A hill is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the scie ...

hill
s,
ridge A ridge or a mountain ridge is a geographical feature consisting of a chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elevated crest for some distance. The sides of the ridge slope away from narrow top on either side. The lines along the ...

ridge
s,
cliff upEurope's highest cliff, Troll Wall in Norway, a famous BASE jumping location for jumpers from around the world.">BASE_jumping.html" ;"title="Troll Wall in Norway, a famous BASE jumping">Troll Wall in Norway, a famous BASE jumping location ...

cliff
s,
valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will typically contain a river or stream running from one end to the other. Most valleys are formed by erosion of the land surface by rivers or streams over a ...

valley
s,
river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of wate ...

river
s,
peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el ...

peninsula
s,
volcano A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object A planet is an astronomical body orbit In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved trajectory of an physical body, object, such as the trajectory of a planet a ...

volcano
es, and numerous other structural and size-scaled (e.g.
pond A pond is an area filled with water, either natural or Artificiality, artificial, that is smaller than a lake. Ponds are small bodies of freshwater with shallow and still water, marsh, and aquatic plants.Clegg, J. (1986). Observer's Book of ...

pond
s vs.
lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable ove ...

lake
s,
hill A hill is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the scie ...

hill
s vs.
mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is larger than a hill, typically rising at least ...

mountain
s) elements including various kinds of inland and oceanic
waterbodies (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language, alongside Nynorsk. ...

waterbodies
and sub-surface features. Mountains, hills, plateaux, and plains are the four major types of landforms. Minor landforms include buttes, canyons, valleys, and basins. Tectonic plate movement under the Earth can create landforms by pushing up mountains and hills.


Hierarchy of classes

Ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Another definition is "any of the large bodies of water into which the great ocean is divided".
s and
continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...

continent
s exemplify the highest-order landforms. Landform elements are parts of a high-order landforms that can be further identified and systematically given a cohesive definition such as hill-tops, shoulders, saddles, foreslopes and backslopes. Some generic landform elements including: pits, peaks, channels, ridges, passes, pools and plains.
Terrain Relief map of Sierra Nevada, Spain Terrain or relief (also topographical Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an area could refer to the surface forms and features themselves, or a desc ...

Terrain
(or ''relief'') is the third or vertical dimension of ''land surface''.
Topography Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surface Relief map of Sierra Nevada, Spain Terrain or relief (also topographical Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an ...
is the study of terrain, although the word is often used as a synonym for relief itself. When relief is described
underwater The underwater environment refers to the region below the surface of, and immersed in, liquid water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly ...

underwater
, the term
bathymetry Bathymetry (pronounced ) is the study of underwater depth of ocean floor The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
bathymetry
is used. In
cartography Cartography (; from χάρτης ''chartēs'', "papyrus, sheet of paper, map"; and γράφειν ''graphein'', "write") is the study and practice of making and using s. Combining , , and technique, cartography builds on the premise that rea ...
, many different techniques are used to describe relief, including
contour line A contour line (also isoline, isopleth, or isarithm) of a function of two variables is a curve In mathematics, a curve (also called a curved line in older texts) is an object similar to a line (geometry), line, but that does not have to b ...
s and TIN (
Triangulated irregular network A triangulated irregular network (TIN) is a representation of a continuous surface consisting entirely of triangular facets, used mainly as Discrete Global Grid A Discrete Global Grid (DGG) is a tessellation, mosaic which covers the entire Earth' ...
). Elementary landforms (segments, facets, relief units) are the smallest homogeneous divisions of the land surface, at the given scale/resolution. These are areas with relatively homogeneous
morphometric Morphometrics (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 mi ...
properties, bounded by lines of discontinuity. A plateau or a hill can be observed at various scales ranging from few hundred meters to hundreds of kilometers. Hence, the spatial distribution of landforms is often scale-dependent as is the case for soils and geological strata. A number of factors, ranging from
plate tectonics upright=1.35, Diagram of the internal layering of Earth showing the lithosphere above the asthenosphere (not to scale) Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written L ...
to
erosion In earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...

erosion
and
deposition Deposition may refer to: * Deposition (law), taking testimony outside of court * List of deposed politicians, Deposition (politics), the removal of a person of authority from political power * Deposition (university), a widespread initiation ritual ...
, can generate and affect landforms.
Biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowl ...

Biological
factors can also influence landforms— for example, note the role of
vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of species and the they provide. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular , life forms, structure, extent, or any other specific or geographic characteristics. It is broader than the term ' ...

vegetation
in the development of
dune A dune is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the sc ...

dune
systems and
salt marsh A salt marsh or saltmarsh, also known as a coastal salt marsh or a tidal marsh A tidal marsh (also known as a type of "tidal wetland") is a marsh found along rivers, coasts and estuary, estuaries which floods and drains by the tide, tidal move ...

salt marsh
es, and the work of
coral Corals are marine invertebrates Marine invertebrates are the invertebrates that live in marine habitats. Invertebrate is a blanket term that includes all animals apart from the vertebrate members of the chordate phylum. Invertebrates lack a ver ...

coral
s and
alga Algae (; singular alga ) is an informal term for a large and diverse group of photosynthesis, photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms. It is a polyphyletic grouping that includes species from multiple distinct clades. Included organisms range from un ...

alga
e in the formation of
coral reefs ''Coral Reefs'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed scientific journal dedicated to the study of coral reefs. It was established in 1982 and is published by Springer Science+Business Media on behalf of the International Society for Reef Studies, of which ...

coral reefs
. Landforms do not include man-made features, such as
canal Canals are waterways channels Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * ...

canal
s,
port A port is a maritime law, maritime facility comprising one or more Wharf, wharves or loading areas, where ships load and discharge Affreightment, cargo and passengers. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, ports can a ...

port
s and many
harbor A harbor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American Engl ...

harbor
s; and geographic features, such as
desert A desert is a barren area of landscape where little precipitation occurs and, consequently, living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to the processes of ...

desert
s,
forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a ...

forest
s, and
grassland Grasslands are areas where the vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of species and the they provide. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular , life forms, structure, extent, or any other specific or geographic ...

grassland
s. Many of the terms are not restricted to refer to features of the planet
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
, and can be used to describe surface features of other planets and similar objects in the
Universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological description of the development ...

Universe
. Examples are mountains, hills, polar caps, and valleys, which are found on all of the
terrestrial planets A terrestrial planet, telluric planet, or rocky planet, is a planet that is composed primarily of silicate Rock (geology), rocks or metals. Within the Solar System, the terrestrial planets accepted by the IAU are the inner planets closest to the Su ...
. The scientific study of landforms is known as
geomorphology incised into shale at the foot of the North Caineville Plateau, Utah, within the pass carved by the Fremont River (Utah), Fremont River and known as the Blue Gate. Grove Karl Gilbert, GK Gilbert studied the landscapes of this area in great detail, ...

geomorphology
. In
onomastic Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, history, and use of proper names. An ''wikt:orthonym, orthonym'' is the proper name of the object in question, the object of onomastic study. Onomastics can be helpful in data mining, with ap ...
terminology,
toponyms Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''wikt:toponym, toponyms'' (proper names of places, also known as ''place name'' or ''geographic name''), their origins and meanings ...
(geographical proper names) of individual landform objects (mountains, hills, valleys, etc.) are called ''oronyms''.


Recent developments

Landforms may be extracted from a
digital elevation model A digital elevation model (DEM) is a 3D computer graphics representation of elevation data to represent terrain, commonly of a planet, moon, or asteroid. A "global DEM" refers to a discrete global grid. DEMs are used often in geographic informat ...
using some automated techniques where the data has been gathered by modern satellites and
stereoscopic consists of a multi-station viewing apparatus and sets of stereo slides. Patented by A. Fuhrmann around 1890. File:Company of ladies watching stereoscopic photographs by Jacob Spoel 1820-1868.jpg, A company of ladies looking at stereoscopic vi ...
aerial surveillance A surveillance aircraft is an aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters the force of gravity by using either Buoyancy, static lift or by using the Lift (fo ...
cameras. Until recently, compiling the data found in such data sets required time consuming and expensive techniques involving many man-hours. The most detailed DEMs available are measured directly using
LIDAR Lidar (, also LIDAR, or LiDAR; sometimes LADAR) is a method for determining (variable distance) by targeting an object with a and measuring the time for the reflected light to return to the receiver. Lidar can also be used to make digital ...
techniques.


See also

*
Geomorphology incised into shale at the foot of the North Caineville Plateau, Utah, within the pass carved by the Fremont River (Utah), Fremont River and known as the Blue Gate. Grove Karl Gilbert, GK Gilbert studied the landscapes of this area in great detail, ...

Geomorphology
**
List of landforms Landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies ...
** Open-geomorphometry project **
Terrain Relief map of Sierra Nevada, Spain Terrain or relief (also topographical Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an area could refer to the surface forms and features themselves, or a desc ...

Terrain
**
Geomorphologist incised into shale Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock Sedimentary rocks are types of Rock (geology), rock that are formed by the accumulation or deposition of mineral or organic matter, organic particles at the Earth's surface ...
* Beach erosion and accretion **
Beach evolution Beach evolution occurs at the shoreline where sea, lake or river water is eroding the land. Beaches exist where sand accumulated from centuries-old, recurrent processes that erode rocky and sedimentary material into sand deposits. River deltas dep ...
**
Beach nourishment Beach nourishment (also referred to as beach renourishment, beach replenishment, or sand replenishment) describes a process by which sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering Weat ...
**
Modern recession of beaches Beach evolution occurs at the shoreline where sea, lake or river water is eroding the land. Beaches exist where sand accumulated from centuries-old, recurrent processes that erosion, erode rocky and sedimentary material into sand deposits. River de ...
**
Raised beach A raised beach, coastal terrace,Pinter, N (2010): 'Coastal Terraces, Sealevel, and Active Tectonics' (educational exercise), from 2/04/2011/ref> or perched coastline is a relatively flat, horizontal or gently inclined surface of marine origin,P ...
** Strand plain *
Coastal management Coastal management is defence against flooding A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide (U.S.), low tide occurs r ...
, to prevent coastal erosion and creation of beach **
Coastal and oceanic landforms The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
**
Coastal development hazardsA coastal development hazard is something that affects the natural environment by human activities and products As coasts become more developed, the vulnerability component of the equation increases as there is more value at risk to the hazard. The ...
**
Coastal erosion Coastal erosion is the loss or displacement of land, or the long-term removal of sediment and rocks along the coastline due to the action of Wind wave, waves, Ocean current, currents, tides, wind-driven water, waterborne ice, or other impacts ...
**
Coastal geography Coastal geography is the study of the constantly changing region between the ocean and the land, incorporating both the physical geography Physical geography (also known as physiography) is one of the two fields of geography Geogra ...
**
Coastal engineering Coastal engineering is a branch of civil engineering Civil engineering is a professional engineering Regulation and licensure in engineering is established by various jurisdictions of the world to encourage public welfare, safety, well-being a ...
**
Coastal morphodynamics Coastal morphodynamics (i.e. the dynamics of beach A summer tourism at the Yyteri Beach in Pori, Finland">Pori.html" ;"title="Yyteri Beach in Pori">Yyteri Beach in Pori, Finland. A beach is a landform alongside a body of water which con ...
** Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) *
Erosion In earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...

Erosion
**
Bioerosion Bioerosion describes the breakdown of hard ocean substrates – and less often terrestrial substrates – by living organisms. Marine bioerosion can be caused by mollusk Mollusca is the second-largest phylum of invertebrate Inve ...
** Blowhole **
Natural arch A natural arch, natural bridge, or (less commonly) rock arch is a natural rock formation where an arch An arch is a vertical curved structure that spans an elevated space and may or may not support the weight above it, or in case of a h ...

Natural arch
**
Wave-cut platform A wave-cut platform, shore platform, coastal bench, or wave-cut cliff is the narrow flat area often found at the base of a sea cliff or along the shoreline of a lake, bay, or sea that was created by erosion. Wave-cut platforms are often most obvio ...

Wave-cut platform
*
Longshore drift Longshore drift from longshore current is a geological process that consists of the transportation of sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently sediment ...

Longshore drift
**
Deposition (sediment) Deposition is the geological process in which sediments, soil and rocks are added to a landform or landmass. Wind, ice, water, and gravity Transportation (sediment), transport previously Weathering, weathered surface material, which, at the loss ...
** Coastal sediment supply **
Sand dune stabilizationSand dune stabilization is a Coastal management practice designed to prevent erosion of sand dunes. Sand dunes are common features of shoreline and desert environments. Dunes provide habitat for highly specialized plants and animals, including ...

Sand dune stabilization
** Submersion


References


Sources

*


Further reading

* Hargitai Hetal. (2015) Classification and Characterization of Planetary Landforms. In: Hargitai H (ed) Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms. Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3 https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/bbm%3A978-1-4614-3134-3%2F1.pdf * Page D (2015) The Geology of Planetary Landforms. In: Hargitai H (ed) Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms. Springer.


External links


Open-Geomorphometry Project
{{Authority control Landscape