What is the definition of a landform for kids?

A landform is a naturally-occurring feature on the Earth’s surface, usually with a recognizable shape like a valley or mountain. They range in size and can be small, like hills, or larger, like mountains.

They are geographical features found worldwide and affect a place’s ecosystem, climate, and weather.

It’s not just Earth where these features are found. Scientists have identified similar structures on different planets, including Mars and Venus!

How are landforms formed?

The landforms we see on Earth have been formed over many years through the movement of tectonic plates or the denudation process, including weathering and erosion.

Weather conditions and natural disasters like erupting volcanoes can also affect these features.

What are the different types of landforms?

Mountains – Breathtaking to look at, mountains are an exciting type of landform whose height can influence the weather conditions in the surrounding area. They’re popular among thrill-seekers looking to try adventure sports like climbing and skiing.

When several mountains are nearby, we call this a mountain range. Examples include the Andes and the Alps.

How are mountains made?

Mountains are made from elevated portions of the Earth’s crust. To qualify as a mountain, landforms must be 300 meters high.

Mountains are sometimes formed when pieces of the Earth’s crust smash together, also known as tectonic plates. This is how the Himalayan mountains were created. On the other hand, volcanic mountains are formed by molten rock erupting deep within the Earth.

Hills are a similar type of landform to mountains, except they’re generally considered to be smaller and less steep.

Valleys – A valley is a landform found between two hills or mountains. They can be U-shaped or V-shaped and sometimes have a river flowing through them. Valleys are often green and luscious, with fertile soil and vegetation.

How are valleys formed?

Valleys are created by water running down the side of mountains, wearing away the rock and soil until deep grooves are formed.

Plateaus – Plateaus are areas of high, flat land. They have steep sides like a mountain but are topped with a flat surface, like a table. They are found on every continent and take up a third of the Earth’s land!

There are two types of the plateau: dissected plateaus and volcanic plateaus. Like mountains, dissected plateaus are formed by tectonic plates, while volcanic plateaus result from repeated, small volcanic eruptions over time.

Plains – A plain is a vast area of flat land. Like plateaus, plains are found on all seven continents. One common plain type is grassland, an area mainly covered with grass. This isn’t the only primary type; some deserts and forests are plains.

Plains can be formed in many ways, including volcanic eruptions and the movement of rivers.

Did you know that cities tend to be built on plains? Flat surfaces make building roads, houses, and other buildings easier.

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