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How are landforms formed?

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Landforms are formed by movements of the earth, such as earthquakes, weathering, erosions and deposits. Many landforms are created by more than one of these processes. These are called polygenetic landforms.

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Structural landforms are created through plate tectonics. When the earth shifts, landforms such as fold mountains, volcanoes and rift valleys can occur. Volcanoes are an example of a landform that can go on to produce other landforms, such as craters, calderas and lava domes.

Landforms can also occur through the process of weathering, which is the process by which sediments and rocks are broken down into soil or grains such as sand. Limestone landforms and periglacial landforms are two examples of weathering landforms.

Erosional landforms such as river valleys and coastal cliffs are formed when forces such as wind and water wear away surfaces. Erosion often takes a significant amount of time, but its effects are easily measured by examining geological evidence such as rock layers.

Depositional landforms are formed when minerals and other substances are deposited over time. In some cases, these landforms become sedimentary rocks after the deposits are altered by forces such as chemicals, heat and pressure. Examples of depositional landforms include deltas, flood plains and beaches.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How are landforms made?

    A:

    Landforms are made by erosion, mineral deposits, earthquakes and other movements over the earth and weathering, according to The Encyclopedia of Earth. Landforms that are made by several processes are called polygenetic landforms.

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  • Q:

    How are islands formed?

    A:

    Islands form in several ways. The most common events that lead to island formation are volcanic activity and continental drift. Islands also form due to erosion, buildup of sediment and coral that grows enough to penetrate the surface of the water.

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  • Q:

    How are floodplains formed?

    A:

    The Center for Earth and Environmental Science describes that floodplains are formed as rivers erode their own banks. Floodplains are the flat lands that lie adjacent to a river; they encompass the area that floods when the river's water level rises. As the river flows, it washes material downstream. When a flood occurs, this material is resuspended in the water and added to the floodplain.

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  • Q:

    How are cliffs formed?

    A:

    Cliffs form through tectonic activity, water movement, weathering, erosion and glacier activity. Earthquakes and landslides also form cliffs. Cliffs tend to form on coasts, in mountainous areas, along rivers or as the walls of canyons.

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