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Landform Vocabulary
1. landform – a physical feature on Earth’s Surface
2. erosion – the process of natural forces moving soil and small
rocks from one place to another
3. deposition – the process of adding sand or soil to a new
4. weathering – the process of breaking down rock
5. map – a picture that shows the features and details of an
6. aerial photo – a picture taken from the air or above the
7. model – a smaller version of something
8. sediment – small pieces of earth material
9. acid rain – water in the air reacts with certain chemicals to
form acids that fall to earth in rain, causing chemical weathering
10. meander – a looping change of direction in a river or stream
11. run-off – rain that lands on top of a mountain, travels down
the mountain to lower ground, moving over and over through rock
and soil, and joins larger bodies of water or forms streams
12. slope – the degree of change in elevation over a length of
13. earthquake – waves of energy released by movements of
rock beneath the earth’s surface
14. fault – an area along which rocks move suddenly, causing
15. glacier – a large mass of ice and snow that moves slowly on
land carving new features and depositing sediment
16. flood – when a river or stream overflows its banks and
covers land

Revised 8-25-08

17. landslide – a large movement of soil and other materials

down a slope that is caused by gravity
18. deforestation – the clearing of forest lands
19. dam – a barrier built to contain the flow of water
20. ice caps – thick sheets of ice that cover areas around the
North and South poles
21. abrasion – the grinding away of rock by other rock or sand
22. groundwater – water that collects underground
23. crust – earth’s outer layer on which living things are found
24. bedrock – the layer of rock beneath the subsoil
25. dune – a pile of sand formed by water or wind
26. crater – a hollow pit that forms when objects from space
hit a moon’s or planet’s surface
27. beach – the place at the edge of an ocean where waves
erode rocks and cliffs, and deposit sediment
28. hill – a raised and rounded piece of land that is not as high
as the mountains
29. gulf – a large area of ocean partly surrounded by land
30. peninsula – a “finger” of land that is surrounded by water on
3 sides
31. valley – a long depression in Earth’s surface that usually
contains a river
32. tributary – a river or stream that does not reach the ocean
33. delta – a low flat piece of land at or near the mouth of a
34. flood plain – flat land near a river formed by deposition
during floods

Revised 8-25-08

35. mountain – high uplifted area with steep slopes and round or
pointed tops
36. canyon – a “V” shaped valley that has been eroded by a river
37. plateau – flat uplifted area
38. valley – a low area between hills and mountains, often where
a river flows
39. plain – nearly level area that has been eroded or where
material has been deposited
40. floodplain – the land that gets covered by water during a

Revised 8-25-08