Escarpment Landforms Have 2 Main Characteristics:

  1. The edge of an elevated portion of land
  2. Long cliff or steep slope

Example of an Escarpment Landform:

Appalachian Escarpment, eastern USA

The escarpment picture above is of a Niagra cliff in New York.

What is an Escarpment Landform?

A long cliff or steep slope forming the edge of an elevated portion of land is called an escarpment.

How are Escarpments Formed?

Faults can occur between two areas of land, as a result of geological forces that may raise one area above the other. At the fault line, the raise portion of land may form a cliff or other steep formation along its edge. An escarpment can also be formed by erosion of a soft rock layer by the action of waves along a shoreline or flooding of inland areas. Where more than one layer of rock is exposed, soft rock formations that lay below a hard rock layer may erode to form an escarpment.

How Large is an Escarpment?

An escarpment is much longer than the height of the formation. It can be from a few dozen feet long to hundreds of miles in length.

Where Can an Escarpment Be Found?

Escarpments can be found where fault lines occur, forming an elevated portion of land on one side. They can also be found overlooking a body of water, or a plain or valley that held a body of water in the past.

Famous Escarpments

• Appalachian Escarpment, eastern USA
• Jebel Tuwaiq, Arabian Peninsula
• Great Escarpment, Australia
• North Downs, Surrey and Kent, UK

The Appalachian Escarpment is the eastern edge of the Appalachian Plateau that stretches from New York State all the way to Alabama. Due to much erosion of the plateau, it looks more like a mountain range when viewed from the coastal plain. Jebel Tuwaiq is a 500 mile long escarpment in the central Arabian Peninsula and is part of a cuesta formation.

The eastern side is a gradual slope, while the western edge forms an escarpment, a cliff averaging 370 feet in height. The Great Escarpment in Australia lies east of the Great Dividing Range and runs north and south through most of the eastern portion of Australia. The escarpment forms the eastern edge of a plateau that begins at the Great Dividing Range. Erosion and geological forces have both played a part in its formation, beginning about 80 million years ago.

In the counties of Kent and Surrey of southeast England in an area that is known for its natural beauty lay the North Downs. A steep escarpment overlooks the coast at more than 600 feet above sea level.

Escarpment definition:

The edge of an elevated portion of land, forming a long cliff or other steep formation

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