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Vocabulary words for the Science Unit on Landforms.


one of the main landmasses on Earth, such as Africa, Asia, or North America

convection current

a series of circular motions that occur in substances when heating and cooling happen together


Earth's center, made up of a liquid outer core and a solid inner core


the thin outer layer of Earth's surface


an area of land formed by sediment at the mouth of a river


the act or process by which wind or water sets down sediment


a mound of sand formed by the action of wind or water


a sudden shaking of the ground due to plate movement


the remains or traces of a plant or animal that turned to stone over time


the gradual wearing away of rock or soil by water, wind, or ice

igneous rock

rock formed by the hardening of hot, molten magma


a large body of accumulated ice and compacted snow that is found year round and that slowly moves downhill


a large area of land, such as a continent


a natural formation on Earth's surface, such as a valley, plateau, mountain, plain, hill, or glacier


an area of land, smaller than a continent, that is surrounded by water


the semi-solid layer of Earth that lies between the crust and the core


melted, liquid rock beneath Earth's surface


a ridge or raised area of land that prevents a river from overflowing


a large sheet of rock that makes up part of Earth's crust


a pile of soil and rocks scraped up and deposited by a glacier as it recedes

metamorphic rock

rock formed by exposing igneous or sedimentary rock to extreme heat and pressure


particles of dirt and rock that are carried by water, wind, or ice and deposited elsewhere

rock cycle

the series of changes that rock undergoes as it shifts between different forms

plate tectonics

the theory that the plates of Earth's crust move due to the movement of magma in Earth's mantle


the process of wearing away or otherwise changing Earth's surface from exposure to natural forces


a place in Earth's crust where gases, ash, and lava spew onto the surface

sedimentary rock

rock formed when sediment is compacted


The limit or border of an area or region


A person who makes maps

Contour interval

The distance in elevation between contour lines

Contour line

A line on a topographic map that connects points of
equal elevation


A fan-shaped (triangular) deposit of earth materials at a
mouth of a stream.


The process by which eroded earth materials settle out
in another place


A very heavy flow of water, which is greater than the normal
flow of water and goes over the stream's normal channel

Flood plain

Land that is covered by water during a flood, formed
from sediments deposited by a river


A representation, usually on a flat surface, of an area or the
features of an area


A representation of an object or process.


An explanation of symbols used on a map.


The angle or slant of a stream channel or land surface


Tiny bits of rock, shell, dead plants, or other materials
transported and deposited by wind, rain, or ice


Something built by people, like a building.


An object or picture that represents something else

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