Flats Landforms

flats landforms

Flats Landforms Have 2 Main Characteristics:

  1. Relatively flat area of land
  2. Floodplain or former floodplain

Example of a Flats Landform:

Minto Flats State Game Refuge near Fairbanks, Alaska
The flats picture above is a former Floodplain

What is a Flats Landform?

Flats, used in plural form, refer to a relatively flat area of land with more prominent landforms that surround it. A flat, when used in singular form, refers to a dry lake or lake bed such as a salt flat or mud flat.

How are Flats Formed?

Flats are a floodplain or former floodplain, formed by repeated flooding that distributes sediment evenly over the land.

How Large are Flats?

Flats as part of a floodplain can be a few square miles, or cover hundreds of square miles.

Where Can Flats Be Found?

Flats as part of a floodplain can be found near a river. As part of a former floodplain, flats can sometimes be found at higher elevations.

Famous Flats

• Minto Flats State Game Refuge near Fairbanks, Alaska
• Allapattah Flats Wildlife Management Area, Martin County, Florida
• Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, Colorado
• Cape Flats, Capetown, South Africa

About 35 miles west of Fairbanks, Alaska, the Minto Flats State Game Refuge is a portion of floodplain for the Tanana River. Other rivers provide water for wetlands in the area that support a variety of wildlife, draining into the Tanana River.

The area provides food and resources for the Athabaskan Indians as one of their traditional hunting grounds. The Allapattah Flats Wildlife Management Area of Florida includes many wetland areas as part of the floodplain for the St. John’s River of Martin County. Many kinds of waterfowl that include rare and endangered species inhabit the area as well as white-tailed deer and other wildlife.

The St. John’s River area suffered much from population growth and overdevelopment and restorations efforts have increased in recent years. The Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge of Colorado is the former site of a nuclear weapons production facility 16 miles northwest of Denver.

The area was badly contaminated from plutonium fires and radiation leaking into the air and ground. A cleanup of the area took place on the ground’s surface, while below ground the area remains heavily contaminated and is closed to the public. Southeast of the Capetown business district, Cape Flats lies close to the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. The flats are a low lying area that may have been below sea level only a few thousand years ago.

Flats definition:

A floodplain or former floodplain that is relatively flat, surrounded by more prominent landforms

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