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In geography and geology, a cliff is a vertical, or nearly vertical, rock exposure. Cliffs are formed as erosion landforms by the processes of weathering and erosion. Cliffs are common on coasts, in mountainous areas, escarpments and along rivers. Cliffs are usually formed by rock that is resistant to weathering and erosion. Sedimentary rocks most likely to form cliffs include sandstone, limestone, chalk, and dolomite. Igneous rocks such as granite and basalt also often form cliffs.

An escarpment (or scarp) is a type of cliff, formed by the movement of a geologic fault or landslide, or by differential erosion of rock layers of differing hardness.

Most cliffs have some form of scree slope at their base. In arid areas or under high cliffs, they are generally exposed jumbles of fallen rock. In areas of higher moisture, a soil slope may obscure the talus. Many cliffs also feature tributary waterfalls or rock shelters. Sometimes a cliff peters out at the end of a ridge, with mushroom rocks or other types of rock columns remaining. Coastal erosion may lead to the formation of sea cliffs along a receding coastline.

The Ordnance Survey distinguishes between cliffs (continuous line along the top edge with projections down the face) and outcrops (continuous lines along lower edge).

The far southwestern aspect of Nanga Parbat's Rupal face, highest cliff (rock wall/mountain face) in the world. The steepest part of the face is 2 km to the northeast.

Etymology

Cliff comes from the Old English word clif of essentially the same meaning, cognate with Dutch, Low German, and Old Norse klif 'cliff'.[1] These may in turn all be from a Romance loanword into Primitive Germanic that has its origins in the Latin forms clivus / clevus ("slope" or "hillside").[2][3]

Large and famous cliffs

The following is an incomplete list of cliffs of the world.

Asia

Above Sea

Above Land