4 Different Types of Landforms (2022)

4 Different Types of Landforms (1)

The Earth is just a small part of the universe yet is home to majestic sights and wonders (e.g. the Grand Canyon) that no one ever has or ever will fully understand.

As of 2021, an estimated three to thirty million distinct species of animals live on Earth. In addition, an estimated world population of 7.9 billion people live among them.

But where on the Earth’s surface do these living creatures make their home, hunt down their prey, or hide from human beings?

From what constitutes a coastal landform to volcanic landforms, here is a detailed look at the facts and statistics that make the world’s diverse types of landforms that transform the Earth’s crust, not only unique, but fascinating, mysterious, and fun.

What is a Landform?

A landform is anatural or artificial surface featureof a planet’s solid surface that creates its terrain. Landforms can develop from tectonic plate movement taking place under the Earth’s surface, glacial erosion, erosion by water and wind, folding and faulting, and volcanic activity and lava flow. Landform development manifests after a prolonged period—even millions of years.

How Do Scientists Categorize Landforms?

4 Different Types of Landforms (2)

Landforms fall into various categories, and thereby smaller homogenous divisions, based on their distinctive physical features such as their:

•Locale (the location of the landform)

• Altitude (the height of the landform)

• Pitch (the grade or slope of the landform)

• Topography (the shape of the landform)

• Stratification (the sedimentary rock or soil layer of the landform)

Although the above landform features develop naturally (i.e. lava, erosion, water, etc.), landforms can also develop from the influence of biological heterogeneous factors like algae or vegetation.

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To figure out what type of landform an area of terrain might be, the above distinctive physical features of the surface need consideration.

Each type of landform falls into a different class of landforms, categorized by each one’s specific physical attributes.

Classes of Landforms

Depending on their characteristics, landforms can fall into one of thirteen distinct classes including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Aeolian Landforms: produced by wind activity.
  • Cryogenic Landforms: produced by repeated freezing and thawing, especially water.
  • Fluvial Landforms: produced by the erosional activity of water from rivers.
  • Impact Landforms: produced by collisions between astronomical objects and the Earth’s surface (such as when a meteor creates a crater in the ground).
  • Karst Landforms: produced by eroding and dissolving portions of soluble rock layers above or below the Earth’s surface.
  • Tectonic Landforms: produced by any of the relief features caused by the subsidence of the Earth’s surface or by ascending magmatic changes.
  • Weathering Landforms: produced by the breakdown of rock, soil, or minerals as a result of contact with a water body.

Read on to learn more about the four major types of landforms.

What are the Four Main Types of Landforms?

A landform can include canyons, deltas, deserts, a glacial landform, and islands. But the four major types of landforms include mountains, hills, plateaus, and plains.


4 Different Types of Landforms (3)

A mountain landform is a colossal, rocky highland with a pointed or rounded top and sloping steep sides and is the highest landform on earth. A series or chain of mountains close together is called a mountain range.

Formation of Mountain Landforms

Areas of the earth’s land surface that rise a minimum of 1,000 feet (300 meters) or more above the land surrounding it classify as a mountain according to most geologists. Most mountains form when plates—or pieces of the Earth’s crust—collide with each other during an event called plate tectonics.

The three primary types of mountains and how they form include mountains of accumulation (or mountains formed by volcanic eruptions such as from shield volcanoes or stratovolcanoes), folded mountains (or mountains formed by plate tectonics), and mountains of erosion (or mountains formed by inclement weather).

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Mountain Landform Animals

Did you know that mountain goats are not goats, but antelopes? They can climb higher than people and on the steep slope of a mountain because of their distinctive cloven hooves with two padded toes that can easily spread wide to increase their balance and significantly improve their grip.

The higher one travels on a mountain, the scarcer the oxygen, colder the temperature, and starker the sun, thereby substantially changing animal habitats. Environmental conditions cannot support plant life past the mountain’s tree line—or the point on a mountain where trees cease from growing. As a result, many animals make their home in lower altitudes; only a select and hardy few can live twelve months above the tree line.

Mountain landform animals include:

• Alpaca

• Beaver

• Bison

• Brown Bear

• Caribou

• Coyote

• Deer

• Nubien Ibex

• Jackal

• Snow Leopard

• Kiang

• Wolf

Mountain Landform Facts and Statistics

Not only do the Himalayas have thirty of the world’s highest mountains, but they began forming when the process of plate tectonics occurred over fifty-five million years ago.

Here is a list of fun facts and statistics about mountain landforms:

• Even though it looks like a floating glacier in the clouds, Mount Everest is actually the highest mountain on earth at 29,035 feet (or 5.5 miles) above sea level.

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• The planet, Mars, has ten of the tallest mountains in the solar system, including Olympus Mons which is 15.5 miles tall.

• Mountaineering became more popular post World War II due to the unique preparation and equipment the Europeans developed for their soldiers navigating the Alps during war.

• Before the technological age of today, geographers measured mountains through a process called triangulation, which consisted of measuring the mountain peak from various observation spots.

The mid-ocean ridge is the most expansive mountain chain on Earth and runs 40,390 miles–90% in the deep part of the ocean.

Examples of Mountain Landforms

Examples of mountain landforms around the world include, but are not limitedto:

• Aspen Mountain—Rocky Mountain Range/Colorado: 10,705 ft.

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• Mount Everest—Himalayan Mountain Range/Nepal/China: 29,029 ft.

• Mount Fuji—Fuji Volcanic Zone: 12,389 ft.


4 Different Types of Landforms (4)

Hills have many similarities with mountains, but they are not as steep nor as tall as their elevation typically falls under 3,000 feet. However, like mountains, hills have a higher elevation than their surrounding land and have sloping, steep sides.

Formation of Hill Landforms

Hill landforms can develop in a number of diverse ways. One way is by a melting glacier, and their tendency to dig up ground as they shift. Another way is via water currents and the dried-up water, which creates hills. Finally, hills can also form from erosion and deposits, as well as the wind and rain.

Hill Landform Animals

Many animals that live on hill landforms also live on mountain landforms. However, some other animals include:

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• Dhole

• Tapir

• Turkeys

• White-tailed Deer

• Variety of birds

Hill Landform Facts and Statistics

While a hill supplies an ideal place to get a pleasant view, sometimes the pleasant view can be found in the hills themselves. For example, Mount Rushmore makes its home in South Dakota’s Black Hills, while there are hills in the Philippines called the Chocolate Hills that look like Hershey’s kisses.

Examples of Hill Landforms

As hills are primarily categorized with an elevation no more than 3,000 feet, here is a list of three hills around the world and their elevations:

• Britton Hill—Florida, U.S./345 ft.

• Pen Hill—Somerset, England/1,001 ft.

• Cavanal Hill—Oklahoma, U.S./2,385 ft.


4 Different Types of Landforms (5)

Plateaus are incredibly unique landforms in that they are high plains, (also known as tablelands) or areas of highland consisting of flat terrains significantly raised above the surrounding area. There are two types of plateaus depending on how they formed—volcanic plateaus and dissecting plateaus.

Formation of Plateau Landforms

A variety of different processes can influence the development of plateaus such as the flow of volcanic magma, discharge of lava, and erosion caused by water and glaciers.

Volcanic plateaus form through volcanic eruption and lava while dissecting plateaus form when the Earth’s crust rises.

The raised, flat highlands of plateaus take millions of years to develop and can spread over hundreds or even thousands of kilometers.

Plateau Landform Animals

Animals found on plateau landforms are often indigenous to the terrain. Here is a brief list of animals found on plateau landforms:

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• Himalayan Marmot

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• Plateau Pika

• Siberian Roe Deer

• Tibetan Gazelle

• Tibetan Antelope

• Wild Yak

• Chinese Serow

• Himalayan Blue Sheep

• Chinese Mountain Cat

• Mountain Weasel

• Eurasian Badger

• Chinese Zokor

• Wild Boar

• Siberian Chipmunk

• Golden Snub-nosed Monkey

Plateau Landform Facts and Statistics

Did you know a plateau landform in South America inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World (UK)? The harsh environment of Monte Roraima, a sandstone plateau that sits on the border of Brazil and Venezuela, is home to one-third of the mountain’s indigenous plant species.

Read on and learn more about other interesting plateau landform facts and statistics.

• “Table Mountain” is South Africa’s more famous landmark and most photographed attraction and has millions of visitors every year who reach its top by cable car.

• The highest African plateau, found in Ethiopia—the Ethiopian Highlands—forms the largest continuous area of its altitude on the continent, thereby giving it its nickname: “The Roof of Africa.”

Examples of Plateau Landforms

“The Roof of the World,” the “Colorado Plateau,” and the “Polar Plateau” are just three of the world’s most famous plateau landforms on the Earth’s surface. Here is a brief summary of their location and approximate size.

• Tibetan Plateau (“The Roof of the World”)—Southwestern China/area of 970,000 square miles.

• Colorado Plateau—Colorado, U.S./area of 130,000 square miles.

• Antarctic Plateau (“Polar Plateau”)—Antarctica/area of 5.4 million square miles.


4 Different Types of Landforms (6)

Plains simply consist of large areas of flat, sweeping landmass. Often covered in grass and low in elevation, plains are one of the Earth’s four major landforms. This type of landform is the most suitable for civilization and agriculture purposes, such as farming, then plateaus, mountains, or hills.

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Many different types of plain landforms exist including erosional plains, depositional plains, lacustrine plains, and abyssal plains. But before land can identify as a plain landform, it must show the following attributes:

• It must be flat, broad, or slightly rolling land

• It must have low elevation compared to the surrounding land on the Earth’s surface

Formation of Plain Landforms

Plain landforms are postulated to have developed in a variety of ways. Sometimes they form from layers of sediment deposits in the area from hills and mountains by ice, water, wind, and erosion. Other times, plains develop when the lava from a volcano flows across the Earth’s surface.

Plain Landform Animals

Thousands upon thousands of species of animals live in plain landforms around the world.

In North America, these types of animals include such creatures as the fox, pronghorn, bison, black-footed ferrets, antelope, and grassland birds.

In Africa, zebras, elephants, lions, and rhinos roam the plains.

In Antarctica, emperor penguins, seals, birds, and sea lions call the tundra “home.”

Plain Landform Facts and Statistics

Plains exist on every continent and cover more than one-third of the world’s landmass.

Continue reading to dive in and discover more facts and statistics about plain landforms.

• The Native American word for plains is “savannah.”

• Plains surround the majority of the world’s rivers and smaller bodies of water. A coastal plain lies next to the ocean.

• In North America, some plain landforms may also be called “grasslands,” and are referred to as “prairies.” These plains typically have frigid winters and hot summers.

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• A tropical grassland plain is a “savannah,” and is typically warm all year long.

• “Tundra” are plains in the arctic.

Examples of Plain Landforms

As every continent has plain landforms, here are examples from each of them:

• North America: The Great Plains (U.S./Canada)

• South America: Pampas of South America (Uruguay/Argentina/Brazil)

• Europe: The Po River Plains (North Italy)

• Asia: The Eurasian Steppe (Hungary to China)

• Australia: The Central Lowlands (Australia)

• Antarctica: The Antarctic Tundra (Antarctica)

• Africa: The Bushveld (Africa)


What are 4 major types of landforms? ›

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.

What are landforms answer? ›

A landform is a naturally-formed feature on the Earth's surface, often with a recognizable shape like a valley or mountain. They range in size and can be small like hills or much larger like mountains.

What are 7 types of landforms? ›

Major types of landforms on earth include mountains, valleys, plateaus, glaciers, hills, loess, plains and desserts.

What is a landform example? ›

Landforms include hills, mountains, canyons, and valleys, as well as shoreline features such as bays, peninsulas, and seas, including submerged features such as mid-ocean ridges, volcanoes, and the great ocean basins.

How are landforms formed Class 6? ›

The rivers flow down the slopes of mountains and erode them. They carry forward the eroded material. Then they deposit their load consisting of stones, sand and silt along their courses and in their valleys. It is from these deposits that plains are formed.

How landforms are formed? ›

Landforms are formed by both endogenic and exogenic forces. Endogenic forces: Sudden forces like earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides. Exogenic forces: Erosional and depositional landforms formed because of agents like water, wind, sea waves and glaciers.

How is a delta formed Class 6? ›

Hint: A river delta is a landform that is generated when sediment that is carried by a river is deposited as the river reaches slower-moving or stagnant water. This happens where a river enters an ocean, lake, reservoir, sea, estuary, or some other river that is unable to carry away the supplied sediment.

Where are glaciers found Class 6? ›

Glacier are found in the Mountains, Extensive glaciers are found in Antarctica, Argentina, Chile, Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Iceland. Mountain glaciers are widespread, especially in the Andes, the Himalayas, the Rocky Mountains, the Caucasus, Scandinavian mountains, and the Alps. Was this answer helpful?

What are the major landforms Class 6? ›

Mountains, hills, plateaus and plains are the four major types of land-forms. A mountain is any natural elevation of the earth surface.

What are landforms for Class 3? ›

A landform is a natural feature of the surface of Earth. Common landforms are mountains, plateaus, and valleys.

What are land forms for Class 1? ›

Mountains, islands, and plains are all types of landforms. A landform is a natural physical feature on the Earth's surface.

Where are landforms found Class 7? ›

They are formed mostly by the rivers and its tributaries. The rivers flow down the slopes of mountains and erode them. They carry down/forward the eroded material (stones, sand, etc.). They then deposit these materials along their courses or in the valleys.

What are landforms Grade 2? ›

The different major landforms are mountains, hills, valleys, plateaus, plains and deserts.

Is river a landform? ›

Processes of erosion, transport and deposition work together to create river landforms. These landforms vary depending on the course of the river.

Are trees landforms? ›

Trees are not landforms. They are life forms. Landforms are nonliving parts of the environment like hills, rivers, & canyons.

Is a lake a landform? ›

A landform is a naturally occurring feature on the surface of the Earth. The four major types of landforms are mountains, hills, plateaus, and plains. Rivers, lakes, buttes, canyons, basins, and valleys are also considered landforms.

Why are landforms important? ›

Landforms play a critical role in the life of all people. They affect where people choose to live, the foods they can grow, a region's cultural history, societal development, architectural choices and building development. They even influence where military sites work best to defend a region.

What are plains Grade 6? ›

Plains. They are vast stretches of flat land. They are mostly formed by rivers and their tributaries. Plains are usually fertile lands.

Why is it important to protect mountains? ›

Mountains provide for the freshwater needs of more than half of humanity, and are, in effect, the water towers of the world. The world's mountains encompass some of the most spectacular landscapes, a great diversity of species and habitat types, and distinctive human communities.

What is erosion class 7th? ›

Erosion is the wearing away of the landscape by different agents like water, wind and ice. The eroded material is carried away or transported by water, wind, etc. and eventually deposited. This process of erosion and deposition create different landforms on the surface of the earth. Work of a River.

What is internal and external process Class 6? ›

Landforms are formed by two major processes; internal process and external process. Internal process: the upliftment and the sinking of the earth's surface. External process: The erosion of earth and then the deposition results in the formation of landforms.

Why are mountains important? ›

Mountains are the world's “water towers,” providing 60-80% of all freshwater resources for our planet. At least half of the world's population depends on mountain ecosystem services to survive – not only water but also food and clean energy.

Which of these landforms is useful for deep sea research? ›

Answer b: Trenches, abyssal plains, etc are useful for deep sea research. On the ocean-bed, there are some landforms which are deep, narrow and steep. They are called marine deeps or trenches. Generally, the shallower ones are called marine deeps while deeper ones and extending for longer distance are called trenches.

What is the difference between delta and estuary Class 9? ›

Estuary is an area where salt water of sea mixes with fresh water of rivers. Delta is a low triangular area of alluvial deposits where a river divides before entering a larger body of water.

What is a meander Class 9? ›

(d) Meandering and Meanders - The phenomenon of bending (winding) of a river in its lower course into small U-shaped loops is called as 'Meandering'. Winding sections or loops of a river that swing from side-to-side as it flows over a level tract normally along its lower course are known as 'Meanders'.

What is an estuary class 9? ›

The estuary is an area where saltwater of sea mixes with fresh water of rivers. It is formed by a tidal bore.

Why are the river plains thickly populated Class 6 geography? ›

It is very easy to make a transport network in the plains. People get flat land for building houses and for cultivation. The soil of river plains is fertile. Hence people live here and cultivate the land for their living.

How are block mountains formed Class 7? ›

Block Mountains are formed when two tectonic plates move away from each other causing cracks on the surface of the Earth. This forces a slab of land to break off and is forced upwards. Thus, block mountains are formed by vertical displacement of land.

What are block mountains for Class 7? ›

Block mountains are created due to faulting caused by rifting that is when large areas are broken and displaced vertically. Rifting is motored by endogenetic forces coming from within the earth. The uplifted blocks are termed as horsts, and the lowered blocks are called graben.

What are the major landforms Class 6? ›

Answer: The major landforms are mountains, plateaus and plains.
  • Mountains. They are natural elevation of the earth surface. They are higher than the surrounding area. ...
  • Plateaus. They are usually flat-topped table land and are higher than the surrounding area. ...
  • Plains. They are vast stretches of flat land.
2 Oct 2019

What are 5 facts about landforms? ›

Facts about Hills

Hills are lower in height than mountains, but they are higher than the surrounding areas. A number of hills together form a 'range of hills'. Hills are usually covered with grass. The climate in the hills is more pleasant than the climate in high snow covered mountains.

What are the four types of mountains and how are they formed? ›

Mountains are divided into four main types: upwarped, volcanic, fault-block, and folded (complex). Upwarped mountains form from pressure under the earth's crust pushing upward into a peak. Volcanic mountains are formed from eruptions of hot magma from the earth's core.

What are landforms on a map? ›

Explain that a landform map shows the locations of landforms in a place. These maps often use color to show mountains, hills, plateaus, plains, and more. They also show major bodies of water.

What is erosion class 7th? ›

Erosion is the wearing away of the landscape by different agents like water, wind and ice. The eroded material is carried away or transported by water, wind, etc. and eventually deposited. This process of erosion and deposition create different landforms on the surface of the earth. Work of a River.

How are mountains useful to 5 points? ›

(d) Mountains are useful to man in various ways: Mountains are a storehouse of water. Water from the mountains is also used for irrigation and generation of hydro-electricity. The river valleys and terraces are ideal for the cultivation of crops.

Why are plains thickly populated Class 5? ›

People get flat land for building houses and for cultivation. The soil of river plains is fertile. Hence people live here and cultivate the land for their living. Q.

How was land formed? ›

The crust, which currently forms the Earth's land, was created when the molten outer layer of the planet Earth cooled to form a solid mass as the accumulated water vapour began to act in the atmosphere.

What is a landform Class 5? ›

Ans. Landforms are natural made formations or physical features on the Earth's surface that often form the borders between countries,states or provinces. The five different landforms are: Mountains, hills ,valleys ,plateaus and plains.

What are land forms for Class 1? ›

Mountains, islands, and plains are all types of landforms. A landform is a natural physical feature on the Earth's surface.

How are mountains formed Class 6? ›

When sediments deposited on a seabed are subjected to compression, they are gradually squeezed and folded, after which they form huge chains of mountains called fold mountains. Sometimes, because of compressional forces the, horizontal layers of rocks break down into several pieces called blocks.

What are the four types of plateaus? ›

Diastrophic Plateaus
  • Intermontane plateaus.
  • Mountain border plateaus.
  • Domed plateaus,
  • Volcanic plateaus.
  • Erosional plateaus.
2 Apr 2016


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