Landforms are the natural physical features on the surface of the earth. Landforms comprise mountains, valleys, canyons, plateaus, and hills. They also include peninsulas bays and seas, along with submerged features such as volcanoes, mid-ocean ridges, and the great ocean basins. Landforms are shaped by the movement of the earth and by the actions of wind, water, ice, and fire. Some landforms are also shaped by the actions of human beings and animals such as channels.
The sizes and shapes of landforms vary across the earth. The world's highest elevation is Mount Everest in the Himalayan Range. It has a height of 8,850 meters. The lowest point is the Dead Sea
, which is 424 meters below sea level. The lowest point on the Earth's surface, including both land and sea, is believed to be in the Mariana trench in the Western Pacific Ocean. It extends from southeast of Guam to the east side of the Mariana Islands, at about 10,971 meters below sea level.
Major topographical features of the world :
Mountains are steep peaks and ridges that have been created through volcanism, tectonic forces or disturbances in the earth's crust. Mountains are found more commonly in oceans than on land. Some islands also form peaks of mountains which are underwater. 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. A plateau is formed due to folding and faulting of the earth's crust, volcanic activity, extrusion of lava and erosion by wind, glaciers, and water. 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 witness 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.
Bodies of Water
Oceans and Seas :
The Pacific Ocean encompasses the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea. The Atlantic Ocean encompasses 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. The Indian Ocean encompasses 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 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: September 21, 2020