Every person has natural physical features – eyes, nose, ears, skin and many more. These features make each person unique. Our Earth has natural features too!! We are not talking about earth having nose, eyes and ears here ;). Earth’s natural features are in the form of its mountains, rivers, valleys etc. These natural shapes present on the surface of the earth are called land forms. These are mainly formed by the movement of tectonic plates inside the earth or by processes like weathering and erosion on the surface of the earth.
There are many different kinds of landforms on earth. Let us explore the common ones.
Mountains – They are a place on earth’s surface where the land has ‘risen above’. This means that it is much higher and taller than the surroundings. They usually form a peak. Are mountains and hills different? Yes. While we often use hills and mountains interchangeably, hills are usually not as tall and big as mountains. Mount Everest is the Earth’s highest mountain.
Ridges – A ridge is a series of mountains.
Valleys – The plunging places in between the mountains where rivers run are called valleys. Kashmir Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in the world. People often live in the valleys because they are very fertile. Extremely deep valleys with very steep sides are known as a canyon. Ever heard about famous ‘Grand Canyon’? It is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the United States, in the state of Arizona.
Volcanoes – They are kind of mountains with holes at their mouth from which lava and ash come out. Tamu Masif, world’s largest underwater volcano was only discovered on Sept. 5, 2013.
Plateau – They are large, flat chunks of land at a raised height than the surrounding land. Tibet in China is on a huge plateau.
Plains – A vast flat area of land is a plain.
Earth is made up of almost 70% water. Clearly there are many landforms that are either surrounded by or created by or filled up with water. Can you guess these landforms? Easiest guess would be rivers, lakes and islands. Let us talk about those another time. We have just touched the tip of the iceberg. Scratching your head. The phrase usually means that there is so much more left to explore.
Umm, by the way, did I tell you that iceberg is also a landform!! ;)