AskDefine | Define landform

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Any geological feature such as a mountain or valley

Extensive Definition

A landform comprises a geomorphological unit, and is largely defined by its surface form and location in the landscape, as part of the terrain, and as such, is typically an element of topography. Landforms are categorised by features such as elevation, slope, orientation, stratification, rock exposure, and soil type. They include berms, mounds, hills, cliffs, valleys, rivers and numerous other elements.
Oceans and continents exemplify the highest-order landforms. Landform elements are parts of a high-order landforms that can be further identified, such as hill-tops, shoulders and backslopes.
Some generic landform elements are: pits, peaks, channels, ridges, passes, pools, plains; these can be often extracted from a digital elevation model using some automated techniques where the data (various kinds) has been gathered by modern satellites and stereoscopic aerial surveillance cameras. Until recently, compiling the data found in such data sets required time consuming and expensive techniques of "Boots on the ground" at many man-hours. Terrain (or relief) is the third or vertical dimension of land surface. When relief is described underwater, the term bathymetry is used. Topography is a further synonym, and is often illustrated in the form of a contour map.
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 homogenous morphometric 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 to erosion and deposition, can generate and affect landforms. Biological factors can also influence landforms— for example, note the role of vegetation in the development of dune systems and salt marshes, and the work of corals and algae in the formation of coral reefs.
Landforms do not include man-made features, such as canals, ports and many harbors; and geographic features, such as deserts, forests, grasslands, and impact craters.
Many of the terms are not restricted to refer to features of the planet Earth, and can be used to describe surface features of other planets and similar objects in the Universe.

List of landforms

redirectstohere Landform element

Erosion landforms

Landforms produced by erosion and weathering usually occur in coastal or fluvial environments, and many appear under those headings. Some other erosion landforms that do not fall into those categories include:

Deposition landform

Landforms produced by deposition of load or sediment (usually coastal or fluvial).

See also


External links

landform in Catalan: Accident geogràfic
landform in Czech: Povrchový tvar
landform in Danish: Landskabsform
landform in German: Gelände (Kartografie)
landform in Spanish: Accidente geográfico
landform in French: Modelé (géologie)
landform in Indonesian: Bentang alam
landform in Malay (macrolanguage): Darat
landform in Dutch: Landvorm
landform in Japanese: 地形
landform in Norwegian: Landform
landform in Polish: Formy ukształtowania terenu
landform in Portuguese: Acidente geográfico
landform in Simple English: Landform
landform in Slovenian: Zemeljsko površje
landform in Tagalog: Anyong lupa
landform in Thai: ธรณีสัณฐาน
landform in Chinese: 地形
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