earth sciencesand geologysub-fields a landform or physical feature 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. Landform elements also include seascape and oceanic waterbody interface features such as bays, peninsulas, seas and so forth, including sub-surface terrain features such as submersed mountain ranges, volcanoes, and the great ocean basins under the thin skin of water, for the whole earth is the province and domain of geology.
Landforms are categorised by characteristic physical attributes such as elevation, slope, orientation,
stratification, rock exposure, and soil type.
Gross "physical features or landforms" include intuitive elements such as
berms, mounds, hills, ridges, cliffs, valleys, rivers, peninsulas and numerous other structural and size-scaled (i.e. Ponds vs. Lakes, hills vs. mountains) elements including various kinds of inland and oceanic waterbodiesand sub-surface features.
Hierarchy of classes
Oceans and continents exemplify the highest-order landforms. Landform elements are parts of a high-order landforms that can be further identified and systematically given a cohesive definition such as hill-tops, shoulders, saddles, foreslopes 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 [cite web
title=Conference paper: "Automated landform classification using DEMs"
author=Robert A. MacMillan, David H. McNabb, R. Keith Jones|date=September, 2000|] where the data (various kinds) has been gathered by modern satellites and
stereoscopicaerial 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. Topographyis the study of terrain, although the word is often used as a synonym for relief itself. When relief is described underwater, the term bathymetryis used. In cartography, many different techniques are used to describe relief, including contour lines.
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
morphometricproperties, 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 tectonicsto erosionand deposition, can generate and affect landforms. Biological factors can also influence landforms— for example, note the role of vegetationin the development of dunesystems 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
*volcanic craters (not impact
lava flow& lava plain
volcano, shield volcano, mud volcano& composite volcano(or stratovolcano, supervolcano)
* [http://www.deh.gov.au/settlements/industry/minerals/booklets/landform/ Landform Design]
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