Landforms Vocabulary

abyssal plain
The very flat, deep ocean floor.
alluvial fan
Fan-shaped deposit formed where a fast flowing stream slows at the exit of a canyon.
archipelago
A cluster to chain of islands.
barrier island
A long, narrow island parallel to the shore.
basin
Rock formation scooped out by erosion.
beaches
Areas along the shore where sand or gravel accumulates.
butte
Small isolated hill with steep vertical sides.
canyon
Deep valley between cliffs.
cape
An area of land that affects ocean currents.
compass rose
Figure on a map or nautical chart for displaying locations of north, south, east and west.
compass
Hand-held device with a magnetic needle used to find magnetic north.
continent
Land mass above sea level.
continental margin
Submerged, outer edge of the continent.
continental rise
Gently sloping accumulation of sediments that forms where the continental slope meets the ocean floor.
continental shelf
Very gently sloping portion of the continent covered by the ocean.
continental slope
Sloping, underwater edge of the continent.
delta
Often triangular shaped deposit of sediment at the mouth of a river.
elevation
Height of a feature measured relative to sea level.
glacier
Perennial mass of ice moving over land.
harbor
Body of water protected from wind and waves.
hill
Landform that extends beyond the surrounding terrain.
island
Land surrounded by water.
isthmus
Narrow strip of land connecting two larger bodies of land.
mesa
Elevated area of land with steep vertical sides and a flat top.
mid-ocean ridge
A large, continuous mountain range found in the middle of an ocean basin; marks a divergent plate boundary.
mountain
Large landform rising above surrounding area usually with a peak.
ocean basins
Areas covered by ocean water.
ocean
Major body of seawater
peninsula
Land nearly surrounded by water but still connected to a larger body of land.
plains
Low lying continental areas, can be inland or coastal.
plateaus
Flat lying, level elevated areas.
relief
Difference in height of landforms in a region.
river valleys
Areas formed as water erodes the landscape, often 'V' shaped.
seamount
Underwater, volcanic mountain more than 1000 meters tall.
sound
Large, wide and deep inlet connected to a larger body of water.
strait
Narrow channel of water between two navigable bodies of water.
topography
The Earth's surface contour including slope, elevation and aspect.
tributary
Stream or river that flows into a larger river.
volcano
Opening, or rupture, in a planet's surface or crust, which allows hot magma, ash and gases to escape from below the surface.

References: CK-12.org Earth Science and Wikipedia Glossary of geological terms