We divide our planet into three sections: (a) the surface of the earth that we inhabit which is atop the crust and comprising of land and water, (b) the earth’s interior which comprises of the inner core, outer core and mantle, and (c) the atmosphere which can be split into troposphere, stratosphere, ionosphere and exosphere. The surface of the earth is three parts water and one part land. The latter is what landform is all about.
Any kind of structure or formation that is solid, made of dirt including soil and rock, is called a landform. In other words, any kind of natural structure of land anywhere in the world would be a landform. Man has the ability to make artificial structures made of rock or stone but that would not qualify as landform.
Creation of Landforms
The first landform was obviously an outcome of the formation of the planet. The chaotic explosions of matter followed by cooling and the repeat of the cycle eventually lead to the formation of a solid structure. As the earth’s core, mantle and crust formed, we had the surface of the earth. Over millions of years, volcanic eruptions, changing weather conditions, wind erosion, rain, formation of ice and thereafter snowfall, various chemical reactions and movement of the tectonic plates on which land or the surface of the earth rests have lead to the myriad creation of landforms.
Types of Landform
There are many types of landform. As you may be aware, the earth’s surface is not the same everywhere. There are hills and mountains, valleys and plains, deserts and ocean floors. There are sandy areas and rocky terrains, green forests and barren lands where nothing grows. Landform influences the climate, agriculture, natural vegetation including flora and fauna, wildlife and also how humans would live in a particular place. Landform plays an integral role in the larger ecology that we live in.
The most common types of landform are plains, hills, mountains, plateaus, valleys and deserts.
• Plain is just flat land. It could be at the sea level or elevated.
• Hill is an elevated landform. There will be a marked slope.
• Mountain is a large hill. It has an altitude much higher and elevation much steeper than a hill.
• A plateau is a hill or mountain with a flat top, instead of a peak that mountains have.
• Valley is a low lying area between two hills or two mountains. It can also be between two plateaus.
• Desert is a vast landform, sandy or snowy, usually dry without any rainfall and void of fertile soil.