The sizes and shapes of landforms vary across the earth. The highest elevation in the world is the peak of Mount Everest (8,850 meters or 29,029 feet above sea level) in the Himalayan Range, and the lowest point is the Dead Sea (-424 meters or -1,391 feet below sea level). The lowest point on the Earth's surface including land and sea is thought to be in the Mariana trench in the Western Pacific Ocean, extending from southeast of Guam to the east side of the Mariana Islands, at about 10,971 meters or 35,994 feet below sea level.
Major topographical features of the world:
Mountains are steep peaks and ridges, created by tremendous forces in the earth over a long period of time. Mountains are found more commonly in oceans than on land; some islands are the peaks of mountains under the water. Mountains are formed by volcanic activity, erosion, and disturbances in the Earth's crust. Mountains are one of the most prominent of the Earth's landforms. Some of the world's greatest mountain ranges are the Rockies and the Appalachians in North America, the Andes in South America, the Atlas Mountains and Drakensberge Mountain Range in Africa, the Alps and the Carpathian Mountains in Europe, the Urals and Caucasus in Eurasia, the Himalayas, Elburz, Altay, Kunlun and the Zagros mountain ranges in Asia, and the Great Dividing Range in Australia. Some of the most prominent highlands are Guiana Highlands and the Brazilian Highlands in South America, the Ethiopian Highlands in Africa, and the Western and Eastern Ghats in India.
A plateau, also known as a tableland, is a landform characterized by flat land at a higher elevation in comparison to surrounding lands. Folding and faulting of the Earth's crust, volcanic activity, extrusion of lava and erosion by wind, glaciers, and water form plateaus. Some of the most famous plateaus of the world are the Mexican Plateau, Tibetan Plateau, Central Siberian Plateau, and the Kimberley Plateau in Australia.
Plains are broad, level stretches of land that have no significant changes in elevation. Plains are generally lower than the land around them and may be found along a coast or inland. Some major plains and river valleys on the earth's surface include the Great Plains and the Coastal Plain of North America, the Northern European Plains, the West Siberian Plain, the Indus Valley, the Gangetic Plain and the Brahmaputra Valley in India, the North China Plain, and the Nullarbor Plain in Australia.
A desert is a vast land area that is extremely dry with little or no vegetation. Some definitions of a desert also include areas that are too cold to support any vegetation such as frigid or polar areas. Deserts typically have a high amount of mineral resources. Some of the world's largest deserts include the Sahara, Kalahari and Namib deserts in Africa, the Arabian Desert, the Thar Desert, the Gobi Desert and the Takla Makan Desert in Asia, the Sonoran Desert in North America, the Atacama Desert in South America, and the Simpson Desert and the Great Sandy Desert in Australia.
Beside the above mention landforms valleys, lowlands, hills etc. are also other major physical features of the world.
Oceans and Seas: The Earth's oceans and seas include the Pacific Ocean, encompassing the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea; the Atlantic Ocean, encompassing the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Baffin Bay, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea; and the Indian Ocean encompassing the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Andaman Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, and the Great Australian Bight.
Rivers and Lakes: The main accessible sources of fresh water on the Earth's surface are the rivers and the lakes. Some of the most important rivers in the world include the Mississippi and the Missouri in North America, the Amazon and the Orinoco in South America, the Nile, Niger, Congo and the Zambezi in Africa, the Danube, Dniester, Dnieper, and the Volga in Europe, the Euphrates, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Hwang Ho, Yangtse Kiang, Amur, and the Mekong in Asia, and the Murray and Darling Rivers in Australia.
The prominent lakes and inland seas featured on the physical map of the world include the Great Lakes of the USA and Canada like Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, Lake Titicaca in South America, Lake Chad, Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi in Africa, the Black Sea in Europe, the Caspian Sea and Lake Baikal in Asia and Lake Eyre in Australia.
Last Updated on: January 16, 2013