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List of All Landforms

Landforms and Definitions List
List of Landforms

By David Olmstead

Alluvial fan:  land formation that occurs when sedimentary materials such as rocks, gravel, and silt, are deposited onto land as a result of decreasing or stopped water flow from a river or stream source.

Altitude (elevation): the height above sea level

Anabranch: a flowing part of the river that is separated, usually by an island, and rejoins back down stream.

Archipelago: a group of many islands.

Arête:  a group sharp ridges of rocks on mountain tops usually caused by melting glaciers.

Arroyo: a creek that is sometimes dry during the year from not having a constant water source such as rain.

Badlands: barren, battered and eroded land from water and shaped with the help of wearing and wind-driven sand and rain.

Barchan: is a sand dune that crescent-shape that faces the wind.  The convex shape is formed by the constant blow of wind in one direction.

Barrier Island: an island or group of island, usually in the ocean, that protects the nearby mainland coast from erosion.

Basin: An area of land largely enclosed by higher land.

Bay: part of a body of salt water that reaches into the land; usually smaller than a gulf

Bayou: A slow moving body of water in a low lying area, usually near the coast, with swamp or marshland in some portions of the shoreline.

Beach: A sloping shoreline consisting of sand, gravel, soil or other sediment.

Beach Cusps:  Beach formation in the form of an arc with a cusp or point at each end

Beach Ridge: Elevated formation of sand or other beach material running parallel to a shoreline

Bight: A curve like a bay landform that that has less curve than a bay.

branch (tributary)
a river or stream that flows into a larger river or stream

Blowhole: a hole connected to a cave that is attached to a water system that builds up pressure through waves, current or wind.  When the pressure is great enough, water is release, usually in a spouting manner.

Blowout: A depression or a major loss in vegetation in the ground where the wind has blown away sand or topsoil.

a man-made waterway connecting two bodies of water and is designed to shorten travel time or irrigate

narrow valley with steep sides; usually created by erosion

a curved or hooked piece of land extending into a body of water

a narrow deep waterway connecting two larger bodies of water; the deepest part of the waterway.

the pattern of weather conditions (temperature, precipitation) over a long period of time

a high, steep slope of rock or soil

land along the sea or ocean

one of the seven largest bodies of land on earth

continental shelf
plateau of land surface into the ocean but underwater

the flow of a stream of water

a wall built across a stream or river to hold back water

land built up by deposits of sand and silt at the mouth of some rivers

dry, barren region usually sandy and without trees, little rainfall or practical use of land unless irrigated

the highest ridge of land separating river basins

the direction of a river’s flow; toward the mouth of the river

a fracture in the rocks along which there has been movement

a narrow inlet of the sea between high banks or cliffs created by glaciers

a large tract of land covered with trees and underbrush; extensive wooded area

the place where a stream or tributary joins a river

a large body of slow moving ice which alters the land around it through displacement

part of a sea or ocean that reaches into land; usually larger than a bay

a sheltered area of water where ships may anchor safely

half of the earth usually referred to as eastern or western; northern or southern

an area of hills, plateaus, and mountains

a raised part of the earth’s surface with sloping sides; old mountain which because of erosion has become rounder and shorter

a large mass of floating ice that has broken off from a glacier, most of this is underwater

a small part of a body of water that reaches into a coast

an are of land completely surrounded by water

narrow strip of land with water on both sides connecting two larger pieces of land

a large body of water surrounded by land

imaginary lines on a globe or map used to measure distance from the equator; parallel lines running east and west

imaginary lines on a globe or map used to measure distance from the Prime Meridian; lines running from pole to pole.

an area of low and usually level land

a land formation having a relatively flat top and steep rock walls

high, rocky land, usually with steep sides and a pointed or rounded top, higher than a hill

mountain range
a long chain of mountains; a row of connected mountains

mouth (of a river)
place where a river empties into a larger body of water; the end of a river

Natural Arch
rock that forms together with a natural rock bridge usually caused by erosion.

a fertile place in the desert where there is water and some vegetation

largest body of salt water; these cover 3/4 of the earth’s surface.

piece of land that extends into a body of water and is surrounded on three sides by water

a broad, flat or gently rolling area; usually low in elevation

flat highland area with one steep face; elevated plain

man-made place along the coastline where ships can load and unload cargo; not a natural harbor

a large plains region with tall grass

a part of a river, generally shallow, where the currents move swiftly over rocks

a ridge of rock or sand at or near the surface of the water

a lake where water is collected and stored for future use

a large stream of water flowing through the land into a lake, ocean, or other body of water

a large body of water, usually salt water, partly or completely surrounded by land

a wide channel connecting two bodies of water or an inlet between the mainland and islands

source (of a river)
the place where a river or stream begins

a narrow waterway connecting two larger bodies of water

Sandbar:  an area of sand or sentiment that has been collecting and rises above or just below the water.

an area of land that is always soaked with water; low, wet land that supports grass and trees

the regular rising and falling of the water of the oceans and waters connected to the ocean

the direction toward a river’s source; opposite to the rivers’ flow

low land between hills or mountains

a cone shaped mountain formed out of rock or ash thrown up from inside the earth, frequently with an opening or depression at the top

place where running water makes a sheer drop, usually over a cliff