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ENCYCLOPEDIC ENTRY
ENCYCLOPEDIC ENTRY

Landform

Landform

A landform is a feature on Earth's surface that is part of the terrain. Mountains, hills, plateaus, and plains are the four major types of landforms.

Grades

4 - 12+

Subjects

Earth Science, Geography, Geology, Physical Geography

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Morgan Stanley

A landform is a feature on Earth's surface that is part of the terrain. Mountains, hills, plateaus, and plains are the four major types of landforms. Minor landforms include buttes, canyons, valleys, and basins.

Tectonic plate movement under Earth can create landforms by pushing up mountains and hills. Erosion by water and wind can wear down land and create landforms like valleys and canyons. Both processes happen over a long period of time, sometimes millions of years.

It took 6 million years, in fact, for the Colorado River to carve out the Grand Canyon in the U.S. state of Arizona. The Grand Canyon is 446 kilometers (277 miles) long.

The highest landform on Earth is a mountain: Mount Everest in Nepal. It measures 8,850 meters (29,035 feet) above sea level. It is part of the Himalaya range that runs across several countries in Asia.

Landforms can exist under water in the form of mountain ranges and basins under the sea. The Mariana Trench, the deepest landform on Earth, is in the South Pacific.

Fast Fact

And It's Getting Deeper
At the Grand Canyons deepest point, it is over a mile (1.83 kilometers) from its top to its floor.

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Writers
Kim Rutledge
Melissa McDaniel
Santani Teng
Hilary Hall
Tara Ramroop
Erin Sprout
Jeff Hunt
Diane Boudreau
Hilary Costa
Illustrators
Mary Crooks, National Geographic Society
Tim Gunther
Editors
Jeannie Evers, Emdash Editing, Emdash Editing
Kara West
Educator Reviewer
Nancy Wynne
Producer
National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

July 15, 2022

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