Glossary of landforms

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Landforms are categorized by characteristic physical attributes such as their creating process, shape, elevation, slope, orientation, rock exposure, and soil type.

Landforms by process[edit]

Landforms organized by the processes that create them.

Aeolian landforms[edit]

Aeolian landform – Landforms produced by action of the winds are formed by the wind and include:

  • Dry lake – Basin or depression that formerly contained a standing surface water body
  • Sandhill – Type of ecological community or xeric wildfire-maintained ecosystem
  • Ventifact – Rock that has been eroded by wind-driven sand or ice crystals
  • Yardang – Streamlined aeolian landform

Coastal and oceanic landforms[edit]

Coastal and oceanic landforms include:

  • Abyssal fan – Underwater geological structures associated with large-scale sediment deposition
  • Abyssal plain – Flat area on the deep ocean floor
  • Archipelago – Collection of islands
  • Atoll – Ring-shaped coral reef
  • Arch – Natural rock formation where a rock arch forms
  • Ayre – Shingle beaches in Orkney and Shetland
  • Barrier bar
  • Barrier island – Coastal dune landform that forms by wave and tidal action parallel to the mainland coast
  • Bay – Recessed, coastal body of water connected to an ocean or lake
  • Baymouth bar – Sandbank that partially or completely closes access to a bay
  • Beach – Area of loose particles at the edge of the sea or other body of water
  • Raised beach – Emergent coastal landform
  • Beach cusps – Shoreline formations made up of various grades of sediment in an arc pattern
  • Beach ridge – Wave-swept or wave-deposited ridge running parallel to a shoreline
  • Bight – Shallowly concave bend or curve in a coastline, river, or other geographical feature
  • Blowhole – Hole at the top of a sea-cave which allows waves to force water or spray out of the hole
  • Channel – Type of landform in which part of a body of water is confined to a relatively narrow but long region
  • Cape – Large headland extending into a body of water, usually the sea
  • Calanque – Narrow, steep-walled inlet on the Mediterranean coast
  • Cliff – Tall, near vertical rock face
  • Coast – Area where land meets the sea or ocean
  • Continental shelf – Coastal and oceanic landform
  • Coral reef – Outcrop of rock in the sea formed by the growth and deposit of stony coral skeletons
  • Cove – Small sheltered bay or coastal inlet
  • Cuspate foreland – Geographical features found on coastlines and lakeshores
  • Dune system – Hill of loose sand built by aeolian processes or the flow of water
  • Estuary – Partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water
  • Firth – Scottish word used for various coastal inlets and straits
  • Fjard – Glacially formed, broad, shallow inlet
  • Fjord – Long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial activity
  • Geo – Inlet, a gully or a narrow and deep cleft in the face of a cliff
  • Gulf – Large inlet from the ocean into the landmass
  • Headland – Landform extending into a body of water, often with significant height and drop
  • Inlet – Indentation of a shoreline
  • Island – Any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water
  • Islet – Very small island
  • Isthmus – Narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas
  • Lagoon – Shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by a narrow landform
  • Machair – Fertile low-lying grassy plain
  • Marine terrace – Emergent coastal landform
  • Mid-ocean ridge – Basaltic underwater mountain system formed by plate tectonic spreading
  • Oceanic basin – Geologic basin under the sea
  • Oceanic plateau – Relatively flat submarine region that rises well above the level of the ambient seabed
  • Oceanic ridge – An underwater mountain system formed by plate tectonic spreading
  • Oceanic trench – Long and narrow depressions of the sea floor
  • Peninsula – Landform surrounded mostly, but not entirely by water
  • Ria – A coastal inlet formed by the partial submergence of an unglaciated river valley
  • River delta – Silt deposition landform at the mouth of a river
  • Salt marsh – Coastal ecosystem between land and open saltwater that is regularly flooded
  • Sea cave – Cave formed by the wave action of the sea and located along present or former coastlines
  • Seamount – Mountain rising from the ocean seafloor that does not reach to the water's surface
  • Seamount chains
  • Shoal – Natural submerged sandbank that rises from a body of water to near the surface
  • Shore – The fringe of land at the edge of a large body of water
  • Sound – A long, relatively wide body of water, connecting two larger bodies of water
  • Spit – Coastal bar or beach landform deposited by longshore drift
  • Strait – Naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water
  • Strandflat – Type of landform found in high-latitude areas
  • Stack – Geological landform consisting of a steep and often vertical column or columns of rock, and stump
  • Submarine canyon – Steep-sided valley cut into the seabed of the continental slope
  • Surge channel – Type of coastal landform
  • Tessellated pavement – Relatively flat rock surface that is subdivided into more or less regular shapes by fractures
  • Tidal marsh – Marsh subject to tidal change in water
  • Tide pool – Rocky pool on a seashore, separated from the sea at low tide, filled with seawater
  • Tombolo – Deposition landform in which an island is connected to the mainland by a sandy isthmus
  • Volcanic arc – Chain of volcanoes formed above a subducting plate
  • Wave-cut platform – Narrow flat area created by erosion

Cryogenic landforms[edit]

Erosion landforms[edit]

Landforms produced by erosion and weathering usually occur in coastal or fluvial environments, and many also appear under those headings.

  • Arête – Narrow ridge of rock which separates two valleys
  • Badlands – Type of heavily eroded terrain
  • Bornhardt – A large dome-shaped, steep-sided, bald rock
  • Butte – Isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top
  • Canyon – Deep ravine between cliffs
  • Cave – Natural underground space large enough for a human to enter
  • Cirque – An amphitheatre-like valley formed by glacial erosion
  • Cliff – Tall, near vertical rock face
  • Cryoplanation terrace – Formation of plains, terraces and pediments in periglacial environments
  • Cuesta – Hill or ridge with a gentle slope on one side and a steep slope on the other
  • Dissected plateau – Plateaux area that has been severely eroded so that the relief is sharp
  • Erg – Broad area of desert covered with wind-swept sand
  • Etchplain – Plain where the bedrock has been subject to considerable subsurface weathering
  • Exhumed river channel – Ridge of sandstone that remains when the softer flood plain mudstone is eroded away
  • Fjord – Long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial activity
  • Flared slope – Rock-wall with a smooth transition into a concavity at the foot zone
  • Flatiron – Steeply sloping triangular landform
  • Gulch – Deep V-shaped valley formed by erosion
  • Gully – Landform created by running water and/or mass movement eroding sharply into soil
  • Hogback – Long, narrow ridge
  • Hoodoo – Tall, thin spire of relatively soft rock usually topped by harder rock
  • Homoclinal ridge – Ridge with a moderate sloping backslope and steeper frontslope
  • Inselberg, also known as Monadnock – Isolated, steep rock hill on relatively flat terrain
  • Inverted relief – Landscape features that have reversed their elevation relative to other features
  • Lavaka – Type of gully, formed via groundwater sapping
  • Limestone pavement – Natural karst landform consisting of a flat, incised surface of exposed limestone
  • Mesa – Elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs
  • Mushroom rock – Naturally occurring rock whose shape resembles a mushroom
  • Natural arch – Natural rock formation where a rock arch forms
  • Paleoplain - A buried erosion plain; a particularly large and flat erosion surface
  • Pediment – Very gently sloping inclined bedrock surface
  • Pediplain – Extensive plain formed by the diposition of pediments
  • Peneplain – Low-relief plain formed by protracted erosion
  • Planation surface – Large-scale surface that is almost flat
  • Potrero – Long mesa that at one end slopes upward to higher terrain
  • Ridge – Chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elevated crest for some distance
  • Rôche moutonnée
  • List of rock formations – Wikipedia list article
  • Strike ridge – Ridge with a moderate sloping backslope and steeper frontslope
  • Structural bench – Long, relatively narrow land bounded by distinctly steeper slopes above and below
  • Structural terrace – A step-like landform
  • Tepui – Table-top mountain or mesa in the Guiana Highlands of South America
  • Tessellated pavement – Relatively flat rock surface that is subdivided into more or less regular shapes by fractures
  • Truncated spur – Ridge that descends towards a valley floor or coastline that is cut short
  • Tor – Large, free-standing rock outcrop on a gentle hill summit
  • Valley – Low area between hills, often with a river running through it
  • Wave-cut platform – Narrow flat area created by erosion
  • Wind gap – Topographic gap made by a former waterway

Fluvial landforms[edit]

Fluvial landforms include:

  • Ait – Islands found on the River Thames and its tributaries in England
  • Alluvial fan – Fan-shaped deposit of sediment
  • Anabranch – A section of a river or stream that diverts from the main channel and rejoins it downstream.
  • Arroyo – Dry creek or stream bed with flow after rain
  • Asymmetric valley – Valley that has steeper slopes on one side
  • Backswamp – Environment on a floodplain where deposits settle after a flood
  • Bar – Natural submerged sandbank that rises from a body of water to near the surface
  • Bayou – French term for a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying area
  • Bench – Long, relatively narrow land bounded by distinctly steeper slopes above and below
  • Braided channel – Network of river channels separated by small, and often temporary, islands
  • Canyon – Deep ravine between cliffs
  • Cave – Natural underground space large enough for a human to enter
  • Cliff – Tall, near vertical rock face
  • Cut bank – Outside bank of a water channel, which is continually undergoing erosion
  • Crevasse splay – Sediment deposited on a floodplain by a stream which breaks its levees
  • Confluence – Meeting of two or more bodies of flowing water
  • Drainage basin – Area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet
  • Drainage divide – Elevated terrain that separates neighbouring drainage basins
  • Endorheic basin – Closed drainage basin that allows no outflow
  • Entrenched meander
  • Epigenetic valley – Valley created by erosion and with little or no sympathy for bedrock structure
  • Esker – Long, winding ridge of stratified sand and gravel associated with former glaciers
  • Exhumed river channel – Ridge of sandstone that remains when the softer flood plain mudstone is eroded away
  • Floodplain – Land adjacent to a river which is flooded during periods of high discharge
  • Fluvial island – Exposed land within a river.
  • Fluvial terrace – Elongated terraces that flank the sides of floodplains and river valleys
  • Gorge – Deep ravine between cliffs
  • Gully – Landform created by running water and/or mass movement eroding sharply into soil
  • Levee – Ridge or wall to hold back water
  • Marsh – Wetland that is dominated by herbaceous rather than woody plant species
  • Meander – One of a series of curves in a channel of a matured stream
  • Misfit stream – River too large or too small to have eroded the valley or cave passage in which it flows
  • Narrows – Restricted land or water passage
  • Oxbow lake – U-shaped lake or pool
  • Point bar – Landform related to streams and rivers
  • Plunge pool – Depression at the base of a waterfall
  • Rapid
  • Riffle – Shallow landform in a flowing channel
  • River – Natural flowing watercourse
  • River delta – Silt deposition landform at the mouth of a river
  • River island – Exposed land within a river.
  • Rock-cut basin – Cylindrical depression cut into stream or river beds
  • Shut-in – Type of rock formation found in Ozarks streams
  • Thalweg – Line of lowest elevation in a watercourse or valley
  • Towhead – Exposed land within a river.
  • Shoal – Natural submerged sandbank that rises from a body of water to near the surface
  • Spring – A point at which water emenges from an aquifer to the surface
  • Strath – Large valley
  • Stream – Body of surface water flowing down a channel
  • Stream pool – Stretch of a river or stream in which the water is relatively deep and slow moving
  • Swamp – A forested wetland
  • Valley – Low area between hills, often with a river running through it
  • Vale – Low area between hills, often with a river running through it
  • Wadi – River valley, especially a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain
  • Waterfall – Natural river formation
  • Watershed – Area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet
  • Yazoo stream – Hydrologic term
  • V-shaped valley

Impact landforms[edit]

Landforms created by extraterrestrial impacts – Collision of two astronomical objects with measurable effects – include:

Lacustrine landforms[edit]

Lacustrine – associated with lakes – landforms include:

  • Beach – Area of loose particles at the edge of the sea or other body of water
  • Raised beach – Emergent coastal landform
  • Carolina bay
  • Dry lake – Basin or depression that formerly contained a standing surface water body
  • Endorheic basin – Closed drainage basin that allows no outflow
  • Lacustrine plain – Lakes filled by sediment
  • Lacustrine terraces – A step-like landform
  • Lake – Large body of relatively still water
  • Oasis – Fertile area in a desert environment
  • Oxbow lake – U-shaped lake or pool
  • Parallel Roads of Glen Roy – Nature reserve in the Highlands of Scotland with ancient shoreline terraces
  • Pond – Relatively small body of standing water
  • Proglacial lake – Lake formed by the action of ice
  • Salt pan, also known as salt flat – Flat expanse of ground covered with salt and other minerals

Mountain and glacial landforms[edit]

Mountain and glacial landform – Landform created by the action of glaciers – include:

  • Arête – Narrow ridge of rock which separates two valleys formed by glacial movement
  • Cirque – An amphitheatre-like valley formed by glacial erosion
  • Col – Lowest point on a mountain ridge between two peaks
  • Crevasse – A deep crack, or fracture, in an ice sheet or glacier
  • Corrie – An amphitheatre-like valley formed by glacial erosion or cwm
  • Cove (mountain) – Small valley in the Appalachian Mountains between two ridge lines
  • Dirt cone – Depositional glacial feature of ice or snow with an insulating layer of dirt
  • Drumlin – Geological feature formed by glacial ice acting on underlying unconsolidated till or ground moraine and drumlin field
  • Esker – Long, winding ridge of stratified sand and gravel associated with former glaciers
  • Fjord – Long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial activity
  • Fluvial terrace – Elongated terraces that flank the sides of floodplains and river valleys
  • Flyggberg – Isolated, steep rock hill on relatively flat terrain
  • Glacier – Persistent body of ice that is moving under its own weight
  • Glacier cave – Cave formed within the ice of a glacier
  • Glacier foreland – The region between the current leading edge of the glacier and the moraines of latest maximum
  • Hanging valley – A tributary valley that meets the main valley above the valley floor
  • Highland – Area of high elevation such as a mountainous region or elevated mountainous plateau
  • Hill – Landform that extends above the surrounding terrain
  • Inselberg, also known as monadnock – Isolated, steep rock hill on relatively flat terrain
  • Kame – Mound formed on a retreating glacier and deposited on land
  • Kame delta – Glacial melt water landform
  • Kettle – Depression/hole in an outwash plain formed by retreating glaciers or draining floodwaters
  • Moraine – Glacially formed accumulation of unconsolidated debris
    • Rogen moraine, also known as Ribbed moraines – Landform of ridges deposited by a glacier or ice sheet transverse to ice flow
  • Moulin – Shaft within a glacier or ice sheet which water enters from the surface
  • Mountain – Large and tall landform
  • Mountain pass – Route through a mountain range or over a ridge
  • Mountain range – Geographic area containing several geologically related mountains
  • Nunatak – Landform within an ice field or glacier
  • Proglacial lake – Lake formed by the action of ice
  • Pyramidal peak, also known as Glacial horn – Angular, sharply pointed mountainous peak
  • Outwash fan – Fan-shaped body of sediments deposited by braided streams from a melting glacier
  • Outwash plain – Plain formed from glacier sediment that was transported by meltwater.
  • Rift valley – Linear lowland created by a tectonic rift or fault
  • Rôche moutonnée
  • Sandur – Plain formed from glacier sediment that was transported by meltwater.
  • Side valley – Valley with a tributary to a larger river
  • Summit – Point on a surface with a higher elevation than all immediately adjacent points
  • Trim line – Clear line on the side of a valley marking the most recent highest extent of the glacier
  • Truncated spur – Ridge that descends towards a valley floor or coastline that is cut short
  • Tunnel valley – Glacial-formed geographic feature
  • Valley – Low area between hills, often with a river running through it
  • U-shaped valley – Valleys formed by glacial scouring

Slope landforms[edit]

Slope landforms include:

  • Bluff – Tall, near vertical rock face
  • Butte – Isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top
  • Canyon – Deep ravine between cliffs
  • Cliff – Tall, near vertical rock face
  • Col – Lowest point on a mountain ridge between two peaks
  • Cuesta – Hill or ridge with a gentle slope on one side and a steep slope on the other
  • Dale – Low area between hills, often with a river running through it
  • Defile – Narrow pass or gorge between mountains or hills
  • Dell – Small secluded hollow
  • Doab, also known as Interfluve – Land between two converging, or confluent, rivers
  • Draw
  • Escarpment, also known as scarp – Steep slope or cliff separating two relatively level regions
  • Flat (landform) – Relatively level surface of land within a region of greater relief
  • Glen – Name for valley commonly used in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man
  • Gully – Landform created by running water and/or mass movement eroding sharply into soil
  • Hill – Landform that extends above the surrounding terrain
  • Hillock, also known as Knoll – Small hill
  • Mesa – Elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs
  • Mountain pass – Route through a mountain range or over a ridge
  • Plain – Expanse of land which is mostly flat and treeless
  • Plateau – Highland area, usually of relatively flat terrain
  • Ravine – Small valley, often due to stream erosion
  • Ridge – Chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elevated crest for some distance
  • Rock shelter – Shallow cave-like opening at the base of a bluff or cliff
  • Saddle – Land connecting two high points
  • Scree – Broken rock fragments at base of cliff
  • Solifluction lobes and sheets
  • Strath – Large valley
  • Summit – Point on a surface with a higher elevation than all immediately adjacent points
  • Terrace – A step-like landform
  • Terracette – Small natural step-arranged soil ridges on hillsides
  • Vale
  • Valley – Low area between hills, often with a river running through it
  • Valley shoulder

Tectonic landforms[edit]

Landforms created by tectonic activity include:

  • Asymmetric valley – Valley that has steeper slopes on one side
  • Dome – Geological deformation structure
  • Faceted spur – Ridge that descends towards a valley floor or coastline that is cut short
  • Fault scarp – Small vertical offset on the ground surface
  • Graben – Depressed block of planetary crust bordered by parallel normal faults
  • Horst – Raised fault block bounded by normal faults
  • Mid-ocean ridge – Basaltic underwater mountain system formed by plate tectonic spreading
  • Mud volcano – Landform created by the eruption of mud or slurries, water and gases
  • Oceanic trench – Long and narrow depressions of the sea floor
  • Pull-apart basin – Type of basin in geology
  • Rift valley – Linear lowland created by a tectonic rift or fault
  • Sand boil – Cone formed by the ejection of sand on a surface from a central point

Volcanic landforms[edit]

Volcanic landforms include:

  • Caldera – Cauldron-like volcanic feature formed by the emptying of a magma chamber
  • Cinder cone – Steep conical hill of loose pyroclastic fragments around a volcanic vent
  • Complex volcano – Landform of more than one related volcanic centre
  • Cryptodome – Roughly circular protrusion from slowly extruded viscous volcanic lava
  • Cryovolcano – Type of volcano that erupts volatiles such as water, ammonia or methane, instead of molten rock
  • Diatreme – Volcanic pipe formed by a gaseous explosion
  • Dike – A sheet of rock that is formed in a fracture of a pre-existing rock body
  • Fissure vent – Linear volcanic vent through which lava erupts
  • Geyser – Hydrothermal explosion of hot water
  • Guyot – Isolated, flat-topped underwater volcano mountain
  • Hornito – Conical structures built up by lava ejected through an opening in the crust of a lava flow
  • Kīpuka – Area of land surrounded by one or more younger lava flows
  • Lava – Molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption
  • Lava dome – Roughly circular protrusion from slowly extruded viscous volcanic lava
  • Lava coulee – Roughly circular protrusion from slowly extruded viscous volcanic lava
  • Lava field, also known as lava plain – One or more flows of lava over a flat area of land, covering all or most of the area
  • Lava lake – Molten lava contained in a volcanic crater
  • Lava spine – Vertical growth of solid volcanic lava
  • Lava tube – Natural conduit through which lava flows beneath the solid surface
  • Maar – Low-relief volcanic crater
  • Malpais – Rough and barren landscape of relict and largely uneroded lava fields
  • Mamelon – Rock formation created by eruption of relatively thick or stiff lava through a narrow vent
  • Mid-ocean ridge – Basaltic underwater mountain system formed by plate tectonic spreading
  • Pit crater – Depression formed by a sinking or collapse of the surface lying above a void or empty chamber
  • Pyroclastic shield – Shield volcano formed mostly of pyroclastic and highly explosive eruptions
  • Resurgent dome – Dome formed by swelling or rising of a caldera floor due to movement in the magma chamber beneath it
  • Rootless cone, also known as pseudocrater – Volcanic landform
  • Seamount – Mountain rising from the ocean seafloor that does not reach to the water's surface
  • Shield volcano – Low-profile volcano usually formed almost entirely of fluid lava flows
  • Stratovolcano – Type of conical volcano composed of layers of lava and tephra
  • Somma volcano – Volcanic caldera that has been partially filled by a new central cone
  • Spatter cone – Landform of ejecta from a volcanic vent piled up in a conical shape
  • Volcanic crater lake – Lake formed within a volcanic crater
  • Subglacial mound – Volcano formed when lava erupts beneath a thick glacier or ice sheet
  • Submarine volcano – Underwater vents or fissures in the Earth's surface from which magma can erupt
  • Supervolcano – Volcano that has erupted 1000 cubic km of lava in a single eruption
  • Tuff cone – Landform of ejecta from a volcanic vent piled up in a conical shape
  • Tuya – Flat-topped, steep-sided volcano formed when lava erupts through a thick glacier or ice sheet
  • Volcanic vent
  • Volcanic cone – Landform of ejecta from a volcanic vent piled up in a conical shape
  • Volcanic crater – Roughly circular depression in the ground caused by volcanic activity
  • Volcanic dam – Natural dam produced directly or indirectly by volcanism
  • Volcanic field – Area of Earth's crust prone to localized volcanic activity
  • Volcanic group – Collection of related volcanoes or volcanic landforms
  • Volcanic island – Island of volcanic origin
  • Volcanic plateau – Plateau produced by volcanic activity
  • Volcanic plug – Volcanic object created when magma hardens within a vent on an active volcano
  • Volcano – Rupture in the crust of a planet that allows lava, ash, and gases to escape from below the surface

Weathering landforms[edit]

Weathering landforms include:

  • Bornhardt – A large dome-shaped, steep-sided, bald rock
  • Etchplain – Plain where the bedrock has been subject to considerable subsurface weathering
  • Flared slope – Rock-wall with a smooth transition into a concavity at the foot zone
  • Flute
  • Honeycomb weathering – Form of cavernous weathering and subcategory of tafoni
  • Inselberg – Isolated, steep rock hill on relatively flat terrain
  • Karst – Topography from dissolved soluble rocks
  • Nubbin – Small hill of bedrock with rounded residual blocks
  • Panhole – Depression or basin eroded into flat or gently sloping cohesive rock (Weathering pit)
  • Tafoni – Small to large indentations in vertical to steeply sloping granular rock
  • Tor – Large, free-standing rock outcrop on a gentle hill summit

Landforms by shape[edit]

Positive landforms[edit]

  • Bornhardt – A large dome-shaped, steep-sided, bald rock
  • Cinder cone – Steep conical hill of loose pyroclastic fragments around a volcanic vent
  • Cryptodome
  • Dome – Geological deformation structure
  • Drumlin – Geological feature formed by glacial ice acting on underlying unconsolidated till or ground moraine
  • Granite dome – Rounded hills of bare granite formed by exfoliation
  • Hillock – Small hill
  • Inselberg – Isolated, steep rock hill on relatively flat terrain
  • Lava dome – Roughly circular protrusion from slowly extruded viscous volcanic lava
  • Lava spine – Vertical growth of solid volcanic lava
  • Mesa – Elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs
  • Mogote – Steep-sided residual hill of limestone, marble, or dolomite on a flat plain
  • Nubbin – Small hill of bedrock with rounded residual blocks
  • Tor – Large, free-standing rock outcrop on a gentle hill summit
  • Tower karst
  • Tuya – Flat-topped, steep-sided volcano formed when lava erupts through a thick glacier or ice sheet
  • Palsa – A low, often oval, frost heave occurring in polar and subpolar climates
  • Pingo – Mound of earth-covered ice
  • Pyroclastic shield – Shield volcano formed mostly of pyroclastic and highly explosive eruptions
  • Resurgent dome – Dome formed by swelling or rising of a caldera floor due to movement in the magma chamber beneath it
  • Seamount – Mountain rising from the ocean seafloor that does not reach to the water's surface
  • Shield volcano – Low-profile volcano usually formed almost entirely of fluid lava flows
  • Stratocone
  • Stratovolcano – Type of conical volcano composed of layers of lava and tephra
  • Volcanic cone – Landform of ejecta from a volcanic vent piled up in a conical shape
  • Volcanic island

Depressions[edit]

  • Caldera – Cauldron-like volcanic feature formed by the emptying of a magma chamber
  • Cave – Natural underground space large enough for a human to enter
  • Cenote – Natural pit or sinkhole that exposes groundwater underneath
  • Cirque – An amphitheatre-like valley formed by glacial erosion
  • Crevasse – A deep crack, or fracture, in an ice sheet or glacier
  • Deflation hollow
  • Doline – Geologically-formed topological depression
  • Gnamma
  • Graben – Depressed block of planetary crust bordered by parallel normal faults
  • Honeycomb weathering – Form of cavernous weathering and subcategory of tafoni
  • Impact crater – Circular depression on a solid astronomical body formed by a smaller object's impact
  • Joint valley
  • Kettle – Depression/hole in an outwash plain formed by retreating glaciers or draining floodwaters
  • Lagoon – Shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by a narrow landform
  • Lake – Large body of relatively still water
  • Lava lake – Molten lava contained in a volcanic crater
  • Maar – Low-relief volcanic crater
  • Nivation hollow – Geomorphic processes associated with snow patches
  • Oxbow lake – U-shaped lake or pool
  • Panhole – Depression or basin eroded into flat or gently sloping cohesive rock
  • Plunge pool – Depression at the base of a waterfall
  • Pond – Relatively small body of standing water
  • Pull-apart basin – Type of basin in geology
  • Quarry – A place from which a geological material has been excavated from the ground
  • Rift – Part of a volcano where a set of linear cracks form
  • Sea cave – Cave formed by the wave action of the sea and located along present or former coastlines
  • Sinkhole – Geologically-formed topological depression
  • Tafoni – Small to large indentations in vertical to steeply sloping granular rock
  • Thermokarst – Irregular land surface of marshy hollows and small hummocks formed as permafrost thaws
  • Volcanic crater – Roughly circular depression in the ground caused by volcanic activity
  • Volcanic dam – Natural dam produced directly or indirectly by volcanism

Flat landforms[edit]

  • Abyssal fan – Underwater geological structures associated with large-scale sediment deposition
  • Abyssal plain – Flat area on the deep ocean floor
  • Bench – Long, relatively narrow land bounded by distinctly steeper slopes above and below
  • Butte – Isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top
  • Continental shelf – Coastal and oceanic landform
  • Cryoplanation terrace – Formation of plains, terraces and pediments in periglacial environments
  • Dissected plateau – Plateaux area that has been severely eroded so that the relief is sharp
  • Etchplain – Plain where the bedrock has been subject to considerable subsurface weathering
  • Floodplain – Land adjacent to a river which is flooded during periods of high discharge
  • Fluvial terrace – Elongated terraces that flank the sides of floodplains and river valleys
  • Inselberg plain – Isolated, steep rock hill on relatively flat terrain
  • Lacustrine terrace – A step-like landform
  • Lava field, also known as lava plain – One or more flows of lava over a flat area of land, covering all or most of the area
  • Oceanic basin – Geologic basin under the sea
  • Oceanic plateau – Relatively flat submarine region that rises well above the level of the ambient seabed
  • Outwash fan – Fan-shaped body of sediments deposited by braided streams from a melting glacier
  • Outwash plain – Plain formed from glacier sediment that was transported by meltwater.
  • Paleoplain - A buried erosion plain; a particularly large and flat erosion surface
  • Pediplain – Extensive plain formed by the diposition of pediments
  • Peneplain – Low-relief plain formed by protracted erosion
  • Plain – Expanse of land which is mostly flat and treeless
  • Planation surface – Large-scale surface that is almost flat
  • Plateau – Highland area, usually of relatively flat terrain
  • Polje – Type of large flat plain found in karstic geological regions
  • Raised beach, also known as Marine terrace – Emergent coastal landform
  • River delta – Silt deposition landform at the mouth of a river
  • Salt marsh – Coastal ecosystem between land and open saltwater that is regularly flooded
  • Salt pan – Flat expanse of ground covered with salt and other minerals
  • Sandur – Plain formed from glacier sediment that was transported by meltwater.
  • Strandflat – Type of landform found in high-latitude areas
  • Strath – Large valley
  • Swamp – A forested wetland
  • Table – Raised landforms that have a flat top
  • Tidal marsh – Marsh subject to tidal change in water
  • Tepui – Table-top mountain or mesa in the Guiana Highlands of South America
  • Volcanic plateau – Plateau produced by volcanic activity
  • Wave-cut platform – Narrow flat area created by erosion

Landforms, alphabetic[edit]

  • Abîme – Geographical term referring to vertical shaft in caves
  • Abyssal fan – Underwater geological structures associated with large-scale sediment deposition
  • Abyssal plain – Flat area on the deep ocean floor
  • Ait – Islands found on the River Thames and its tributaries in England
  • Alluvial fan – Fan-shaped deposit of sediment
  • Anabranch – A section of a river or stream that diverts from the main channel and rejoins it downstream.
  • Arch – Natural rock formation where a rock arch forms
  • Archipelago – Collection of islands
  • Arête – Narrow ridge of rock which separates two valleys
  • Arroyo – Dry creek or stream bed with flow after rain
  • Atoll – Ring-shaped coral reef
  • Ayre – Shingle beaches in Orkney and Shetland
  • Badlands – Type of heavily eroded terrain
  • Bar – Natural submerged sandbank that rises from a body of water to near the surface
  • Barchan – Crescent-shaped dune
  • Barrier bar – Natural submerged sandbank that rises from a body of water to near the surface
  • Barrier island – Coastal dune landform that forms by wave and tidal action parallel to the mainland coast
  • Bay – Recessed, coastal body of water connected to an ocean or lake
  • Baymouth bar – Sandbank that partially or completely closes access to a bay
  • Bayou – French term for a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying area
  • Beach – Area of loose particles at the edge of the sea or other body of water
  • Beach cusps – Shoreline formations made up of various grades of sediment in an arc pattern
  • Beach ridge – Wave-swept or wave-deposited ridge running parallel to a shoreline
  • Bench – Long, relatively narrow land bounded by distinctly steeper slopes above and below
  • Bight – Shallowly concave bend or curve in a coastline, river, or other geographical feature
  • Blowhole – Hole at the top of a sea-cave which allows waves to force water or spray out of the hole
  • Blowout – Depressions in a sand dune ecosystem caused by the removal of sediments by wind
  • Bluff – Tall, near vertical rock face
  • Bornhardt – A large dome-shaped, steep-sided, bald rock
  • Braided channel – Network of river channels separated by small, and often temporary, islands
  • Butte – Isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top
  • Calanque – Narrow, steep-walled inlet on the Mediterranean coast
  • Caldera – Cauldron-like volcanic feature formed by the emptying of a magma chamber
  • Canyon – Deep ravine between cliffs
  • Cape – Large headland extending into a body of water, usually the sea
  • Carolina bay
  • Cave – Natural underground space large enough for a human to enter
  • Cenote – Natural pit or sinkhole that exposes groundwater underneath
  • Channel – Type of landform in which part of a body of water is confined to a relatively narrow but long region
  • Cirque – An amphitheatre-like valley formed by glacial erosion
  • Corrie – An amphitheatre-like valley formed by glacial erosion or cwm
  • Cliff – Tall, near vertical rock face
  • Coast – Area where land meets the sea or ocean
  • Col – Lowest point on a mountain ridge between two peaks
  • Complex crater – Large impact craters with uplifted centres
  • Complex volcano – Landform of more than one related volcanic centre
  • Confluence – Meeting of two or more bodies of flowing water
  • Continental shelf – Coastal and oceanic landform
  • Coral reef – Outcrop of rock in the sea formed by the growth and deposit of stony coral skeletons
  • Cove – Small sheltered bay or coastal inlet
  • Cove (mountain) – Small valley in the Appalachian Mountains between two ridge lines
  • Crevasse splay – Sediment deposited on a floodplain by a stream which breaks its levees
  • Crevasse – A deep crack, or fracture, in an ice sheet or glacier
  • Cryovolcano – Type of volcano that erupts volatiles such as water, ammonia or methane, instead of molten rock
  • Cuesta – Hill or ridge with a gentle slope on one side and a steep slope on the other
  • Cuspate foreland – Geographical features found on coastlines and lakeshores
  • Cut bank – Outside bank of a water channel, which is continually undergoing erosion
  • Dale – Low area between hills, often with a river running through it
  • Defile – Narrow pass or gorge between mountains or hills
  • Dell – Small secluded hollow
  • Delta, River – Silt deposition landform at the mouth of a river
  • Desert pavement – Type of desert earth surface
  • Diatreme – Volcanic pipe formed by a gaseous explosion
  • Dike – A sheet of rock that is formed in a fracture of a pre-existing rock body
  • Dirt cone – Depositional glacial feature of ice or snow with an insulating layer of dirt
  • Dissected plateau – Plateaux area that has been severely eroded so that the relief is sharp
  • Doab – Land between two converging, or confluent, rivers
  • Doline – Geologically-formed topological depression
  • Dome – Geological deformation structure
  • Drainage basin – Area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet
  • Drainage divide – Elevated terrain that separates neighbouring drainage basins
  • Draw
  • Dreikanter – Type of rock
  • Drumlin – Geological feature formed by glacial ice acting on underlying unconsolidated till or ground moraine
  • Dry lake – Basin or depression that formerly contained a standing surface water body
  • Dune – Hill of loose sand built by aeolian processes or the flow of water
  • Dune system – Hill of loose sand built by aeolian processes or the flow of water
  • Ejecta blanket – Symmetrical apron of ejecta that surrounds an impact crater
  • Endorheic basin – Closed drainage basin that allows no outflow
  • Erg – Broad area of desert covered with wind-swept sand
  • Escarpment – Steep slope or cliff separating two relatively level regions (scarp)
  • Esker – Long, winding ridge of stratified sand and gravel associated with former glaciers
  • Estuary – Partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water
  • Exhumed river channel – Ridge of sandstone that remains when the softer flood plain mudstone is eroded away
  • Faceted spur – Ridge that descends towards a valley floor or coastline that is cut short
  • Fault scarp – Small vertical offset on the ground surface
  • Firth – Scottish word used for various coastal inlets and straits
  • Fissure vent – Linear volcanic vent through which lava erupts
  • Fjard – Glacially formed, broad, shallow inlet
  • Fjord – Long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial activity
  • Flat – Relatively level surface of land within a region of greater relief
  • Flatiron – Steeply sloping triangular landform
  • Floodplain – Land adjacent to a river which is flooded during periods of high discharge
  • Fluvial island – Exposed land within a river.
  • Fluvial terrace – Elongated terraces that flank the sides of floodplains and river valleys
  • Foiba – Type of deep natural sinkhole
  • Geo – Inlet, a gully or a narrow and deep cleft in the face of a cliff
  • Geyser – Hydrothermal explosion of hot water
  • Glacial horn – Angular, sharply pointed mountainous peak
  • Glacier cave – Cave formed within the ice of a glacier
  • Glacier foreland – The region between the current leading edge of the glacier and the moraines of latest maximum
  • Glacier – Persistent body of ice that is moving under its own weight
  • Parallel Roads of Glen Roy – Nature reserve in the Highlands of Scotland with ancient shoreline terraces
  • Glen – Name for valley commonly used in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man
  • Gorge – Deep ravine between cliffs
  • Graben – Depressed block of planetary crust bordered by parallel normal faults
  • Gulch – Deep V-shaped valley formed by erosion
  • Gulf
  • Gully – Landform created by running water and/or mass movement eroding sharply into soil
  • Guyot – Isolated, flat-topped underwater volcano mountain
  • Hanging valley – A tributary valley that meets the main valley above the valley floor
  • Headland – Landform extending into a body of water, often with significant height and drop
  • Hill – Landform that extends above the surrounding terrain
  • Hogback – Long, narrow ridge
  • Homoclinal ridge – Ridge with a moderate sloping backslope and steeper frontslope
  • Hoodoo – Tall, thin spire of relatively soft rock usually topped by harder rock
  • Horst – Raised fault block bounded by normal faults
  • Impact crater – Circular depression on a solid astronomical body formed by a smaller object's impact
  • Inlet – Indentation of a shoreline
  • Interfluve – Land between two converging, or confluent, rivers
  • Inverted relief – Landscape features that have reversed their elevation relative to other features
  • Island – Any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water
  • Islet – Very small island
  • Isthmus – Narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas
  • Kame delta – Glacial melt water landform
  • Kame – Mound formed on a retreating glacier and deposited on land
  • Karst – Topography from dissolved soluble rocks
  • Karst fenster
  • Karst valley – Topography from dissolved soluble rocks
  • Kettle – Depression/hole in an outwash plain formed by retreating glaciers or draining floodwaters
  • Kīpuka – Area of land surrounded by one or more younger lava flows
  • Knoll – Small hill
  • Lacustrine plain – Lakes filled by sediment
  • Lagoon – Shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by a narrow landform
  • Lake – Large body of relatively still water
  • Lava dome – Roughly circular protrusion from slowly extruded viscous volcanic lava
  • Lava – Molten rock expelled by a volcano during an eruption
  • Lava lake – Molten lava contained in a volcanic crater
  • Lava field, also known as lava plain – One or more flows of lava over a flat area of land, covering all or most of the area
  • Lava spine – Vertical growth of solid volcanic lava
  • Lava tube – Natural conduit through which lava flows beneath the solid surface
  • Lavaka – Type of gully, formed via groundwater sapping
  • Levee – Ridge or wall to hold back water, natural
  • Limestone pavement – Natural karst landform consisting of a flat, incised surface of exposed limestone
  • Loess – Sediment of accumulated wind-blown dust
  • Lacustrine terraces – A step-like landform
  • Maar – Low-relief volcanic crater
  • Machair – Fertile low-lying grassy plain
  • Malpaís – Rough and barren landscape of relict and largely uneroded lava fields
  • Mamelon – Rock formation created by eruption of relatively thick or stiff lava through a narrow vent
  • Marine terrace – Emergent coastal landform
  • Marsh – Wetland that is dominated by herbaceous rather than woody plant species
  • Massif – Section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures
  • Meander – One of a series of curves in a channel of a matured stream
  • Mesa – Elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs
  • Mid-ocean ridge – Basaltic underwater mountain system formed by plate tectonic spreading
  • Mogote – Steep-sided residual hill of limestone, marble, or dolomite on a flat plain
  • Monadnock – Isolated, steep rock hill on relatively flat terrain
  • Moraine – Glacially formed accumulation of unconsolidated debris
  • Moulin – Shaft within a glacier or ice sheet which water enters from the surface
  • Mountain – Large and tall landform
  • Mountain pass – Route through a mountain range or over a ridge
  • Mountain range – Geographic area containing several geologically related mountains
  • Mud volcano – Landform created by the eruption of mud or slurries, water and gases
  • Mushroom rock – Naturally occurring rock whose shape resembles a mushroom
  • Natural arch – Natural rock formation where a rock arch forms
  • Nunatak – Landform within an ice field or glacier
  • Oasis – Fertile area in a desert environment
  • Oceanic basin – Geologic basin under the sea
  • Oceanic plateau – Relatively flat submarine region that rises well above the level of the ambient seabed
  • Oceanic ridge – An underwater mountain system formed by plate tectonic spreading
  • Oceanic trench – Long and narrow depressions of the sea floor
  • Outwash fan – Fan-shaped body of sediments deposited by braided streams from a melting glacier
  • Outwash plain – Plain formed from glacier sediment that was transported by meltwater.
  • Oxbow lake – U-shaped lake or pool
  • Paleoplain - A buried erosion plain; a particularly large and flat erosion surface
  • Pediment – Very gently sloping inclined bedrock surface
  • Pediplain – Extensive plain formed by the diposition of pediments
  • Peneplain – Low-relief plain formed by protracted erosion
  • Peninsula – Landform surrounded mostly, but not entirely by water
  • Pingo – Mound of earth-covered ice
  • Pit crater – Depression formed by a sinking or collapse of the surface lying above a void or empty chamber
  • Plain – Expanse of land which is mostly flat and treeless
  • Plateau – Highland area, usually of relatively flat terrain
  • Playa lake
  • Plunge pool – Depression at the base of a waterfall
  • Point bar – Landform related to streams and rivers
  • Polje – Type of large flat plain found in karstic geological regions
  • Pond – Relatively small body of standing water
  • Potrero – Long mesa that at one end slopes upward to higher terrain
  • Proglacial lake – Lake formed by the action of ice
  • Pseudocrater
  • Pull-apart basin – Type of basin in geology
  • Quarry – A place from which a geological material has been excavated from the ground
  • Raised beach – Emergent coastal landform
  • Rapid
  • Ravine – Small valley, often due to stream erosion
  • Ria – A coastal inlet formed by the partial submergence of an unglaciated river valley
  • Ridge – Chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elevated crest for some distance
  • Riffle – Shallow landform in a flowing channel
  • Rift valley – Linear lowland created by a tectonic rift or fault
  • River – Natural flowing watercourse
  • River delta – Silt deposition landform at the mouth of a river
  • River island – Exposed land within a river.
  • Rôche moutonnée
  • Rogen moraine – Landform of ridges deposited by a glacier or ice sheet transverse to ice flow
  • Rock formations – Wikipedia list article
  • Rock shelter – Shallow cave-like opening at the base of a bluff or cliff
  • Rock-cut basin – Cylindrical depression cut into stream or river beds
  • Saddle – Land connecting two high points
  • Salt marsh – Coastal ecosystem between land and open saltwater that is regularly flooded
  • Salt pan – Flat expanse of ground covered with salt and other minerals (salt flat)
  • Sand boil, also known as sand volcano – Cone formed by the ejection of sand on a surface from a central point
  • Sandhill – Type of ecological community or xeric wildfire-maintained ecosystem
  • Sandur – Plain formed from glacier sediment that was transported by meltwater.
  • Scowle – Type of landscape feature
  • Scree – Broken rock fragments at base of cliff
  • Sea cave – Cave formed by the wave action of the sea and located along present or former coastlines
  • Seamount – Mountain rising from the ocean seafloor that does not reach to the water's surface
  • Shield volcano – Low-profile volcano usually formed almost entirely of fluid lava flows
  • Shoal – Natural submerged sandbank that rises from a body of water to near the surface
  • Shore – The fringe of land at the edge of a large body of water
  • Shut-in – Type of rock formation found in Ozarks streams
  • Side valley – Valley with a tributary to a larger river
  • Sinkhole – Geologically-formed topological depression
  • Sound – A long, relatively wide body of water, connecting two larger bodies of water
  • Spit – Coastal bar or beach landform deposited by longshore drift
  • Spring – A point at which water emenges from an aquifer to the surface
  • Stack – Geological landform consisting of a steep and often vertical column or columns of rock and stump
  • Strait – Naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water
  • Strandflat – Type of landform found in high-latitude areas
  • Strath – Large valley
  • Stratovolcano – Type of conical volcano composed of layers of lava and tephra
  • Stream pool – Stretch of a river or stream in which the water is relatively deep and slow moving
  • Stream – Body of surface water flowing down a channel
  • Strike ridge – Ridge with a moderate sloping backslope and steeper frontslope
  • Structural bench – Long, relatively narrow land bounded by distinctly steeper slopes above and below
  • Structural terrace – A step-like landform
  • Subglacial mound – Volcano formed when lava erupts beneath a thick glacier or ice sheet
  • Submarine canyon – Steep-sided valley cut into the seabed of the continental slope
  • Submarine volcano – Underwater vents or fissures in the Earth's surface from which magma can erupt
  • Summit – Point on a surface with a higher elevation than all immediately adjacent points
  • Supervolcano – Volcano that has erupted 1000 cubic km of lava in a single eruption
  • Surge channel – Type of coastal landform
  • Swamp – A forested wetland
  • Tepui – Table-top mountain or mesa in the Guiana Highlands of South America
  • Terrace – A step-like landform
  • Terracette – Small natural step-arranged soil ridges on hillsides
  • Tessellated pavement – Relatively flat rock surface that is subdivided into more or less regular shapes by fractures
  • Thalweg – Line of lowest elevation in a watercourse or valley
  • Tidal marsh – Marsh subject to tidal change in water
  • Tide pool – Rocky pool on a seashore, separated from the sea at low tide, filled with seawater
  • Tombolo – Deposition landform in which an island is connected to the mainland by a sandy isthmus
  • Tor – Large, free-standing rock outcrop on a gentle hill summit
  • Tower karst – Topography from dissolved soluble rocks
  • Towhead – Exposed land within a river.
  • Trim line – Clear line on the side of a valley marking the most recent highest extent of the glacier
  • Truncated spur – Ridge that descends towards a valley floor or coastline that is cut short
  • Tunnel valley – Glacial-formed geographic feature
  • Turlough – Type of seasonal or periodic lake found in limestone areas of Ireland
  • Tuya – Flat-topped, steep-sided volcano formed when lava erupts through a thick glacier or ice sheet
  • U-shaped valley – Valleys formed by glacial scouring
  • Uvala – Toponym for a closed karst depression
  • Vale
  • Valley – Low area between hills, often with a river running through it
  • Valley shoulder
  • Ventifact – Rock that has been eroded by wind-driven sand or ice crystals
  • Volcanic arc – Chain of volcanoes formed above a subducting plate
  • Volcanic cone – Landform of ejecta from a volcanic vent piled up in a conical shape
  • Volcanic crater – Roughly circular depression in the ground caused by volcanic activity
  • Volcanic crater lake – Lake formed within a volcanic crater
  • Volcanic dam – Natural dam produced directly or indirectly by volcanism
  • Volcanic field – Area of Earth's crust prone to localized volcanic activity
  • Volcanic group – Collection of related volcanoes or volcanic landforms
  • Volcanic island – Island of volcanic origin
  • Volcanic plateau – Plateau produced by volcanic activity
  • Volcanic plug – Volcanic object created when magma hardens within a vent on an active volcano
  • Volcanic vent
  • Volcano – Rupture in the crust of a planet that allows lava, ash, and gases to escape from below the surface
  • Wadi – River valley, especially a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain
  • Waterfall – Natural river formation
  • Watershed – Area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet
  • Wave-cut platform – Narrow flat area created by erosion
  • Wetland – Land area that is permanently or seasonally saturated with water
  • Yardang – Streamlined aeolian landform

Further reading[edit]

Hargitai H., Kereszturi Á. (eds): Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms. Springer. https://link.springer.com/referencework/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3

See also[edit]