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Landforms and Landscapes

A landscape is part of the Earth’s landform. It consists of a variety of geographical features that may be characteristic of that area in particular.

There are many different types of landscapes, including mountain landscapes (which feature mountains created by tectonic plates), coastal landscapes where a land area comes into correct contact with the sea, and riverine landscapes where there is a water system that flows through it such as a creek, stream or river. Desert landscapes have a specific definition, that is, that only 250 mm or less rain falls onto the area per year. Karst landscapes are formed when easily dissolvable bedrock, or the rock directly a land surface such as limestone, is worn away by water that is slightly acidic. Finally, human landscapes are artificial landscapes created by humans, such as city skylines and schools.

While a landscape covers a certain area featuring similar characteristics, a landform is a specific feature in a landscape. Example of landforms in a mountain landscape include mountain ranges, mountains, ridges, glaciers and volcanos.

Many natural and human landscapes are formed and transformed by many different processes, including geomorphic, hydrological, and atmospheric processes. You are about to explore four of the geomorphic processes that form and transform the Earth: tectonic activity, erosion, deposition and weathering. To understand these processes, you first need to know about the world beneath your feet.

You may be used to thinking of the Earth as a solid ball like a giant shot-put, but in fact this is far from reality. The Earth is more like a giant peach with a skin that is very thin and a core at the centre surrounded by it’s soft flesh. Scientists believe that the Earth is made up of four layers.

The outer layer of the Earth’s surface, which is the crust, is broken into large pieces called tectonic plates. These plates are around 100 kilometers thick and fit together like enormous pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Currents in the red-hot molten material under these tectonic plates cause them to move about.

In some places, these tectonic places are being pushed into one another. This is called converging, and it creates mountains.

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