Geography 101: Landforms and Formation

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Mountain Formation

  • Types of Mountain Formation:
    • Folding: compression of Earth's crust, resulting in folded mountains (e.g. Himalayas)
    • Volcanic: volcanic activity creates mountains (e.g. Mount St. Helens)
    • Block: movement of large blocks of Earth's crust, resulting in block mountains (e.g. Sierra Nevada)
    • Dome: uplift of Earth's crust, resulting in dome-shaped mountains (e.g. Appalachian Mountains)
  • Factors Influencing Mountain Formation:
    • Plate tectonics: movement of tectonic plates
    • Geologic processes: weathering, erosion, and deposition

Plate Tectonics

  • Theory: Earth's crust is broken into large plates that move relative to each other
  • Types of Plate Boundaries:
    • Divergent: plates moving apart (e.g. Mid-Atlantic Ridge)
    • Convergent: plates moving towards each other (e.g. Himalayan orogeny)
    • Transform: plates sliding past each other (e.g. San Andreas Fault)
  • Effects of Plate Tectonics:
    • Earthquakes: movement of tectonic plates
    • Volcanic activity: movement of tectonic plates
    • Mountain formation: movement of tectonic plates

Volcanic Landforms

  • Types of Volcanoes:
    • Shield: gently sloping, large volcanoes (e.g. Hawaiian Islands)
    • Composite: tall, conical volcanoes (e.g. Mount Fuji)
    • Cinder: small, steep-sided volcanoes (e.g. Mount Vesuvius)
  • Volcanic Features:
    • Craters: depressions formed by volcanic activity
    • Lava flows: molten rock flowing from volcanoes
    • Volcanic fields: areas of multiple volcanoes

Desert Landscapes

  • Characteristics of Deserts:
    • Low rainfall: less than 25 cm/year
    • High temperatures: extreme heat and cold
    • Limited vegetation: sparse plant life
  • Desert Features:
    • Dunes: sand ridges formed by wind
    • Oases: isolated areas of vegetation and water
    • Canyons: deep valleys formed by erosion

Coastal Features

  • Types of Coasts:
    • Emerging: coastal areas rising due to tectonic activity
    • Submergent: coastal areas sinking due to tectonic activity
    • Volcanic: coastal areas formed by volcanic activity
  • Coastal Features:
    • Beaches: areas of sand and pebbles
    • Cliffs: steep slopes formed by erosion
    • Headlands: rocky outcrops formed by erosion

Test your knowledge of different landforms and their formation processes, including mountains, volcanoes, deserts, and coastal features. From plate tectonics to volcanic landforms, see how well you understand the geological processes that shape our planet.

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