Landforms

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Nearly 3.8 billion years ago, temperatures on Earth cooled below 100 degrees Celsius for the first time, allowing water, which existed on the planet in gaseous form, to condense into rain and collect on the planet's surface, according to the American Museum of Natural History. This water collected in low-lying areas, eventually becoming a primitive ocean.

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  • What makes a continent?

    Q: What makes a continent?

    A: A continent is a large land mass on Earth that is distinguished by a separation from other land by water or by a distinct cultural difference. Earth has a total of seven continents: North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and Antarctica.
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  • Where does the River Thames start and end?

    Q: Where does the River Thames start and end?

    A: The River Thames originates in a meadow in the Cotswold Hills in Gloucestershire and travels 215 miles through England before emptying into the North Sea near Essex.
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  • What is the difference between a canyon and a gorge?

    Q: What is the difference between a canyon and a gorge?

    A: A gorge is a much smaller, narrower version of a canyon. A gorge is similar to a ravine, while a canyon is similar to a valley. Gorges are located between mountains or hills and often have small streams at their bottoms.
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  • What are the windward and leeward sides of a mountain?

    Q: What are the windward and leeward sides of a mountain?

    A: The windward side of a mountain faces the wind while the leeward side faces away from the prevailing wind. The climate on different sides of the mountain can vary greatly.
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  • What is a group of mountains called?

    Q: What is a group of mountains called?

    A: A group of mountains is known as a mountain range. A group of ranges that share a common origin and form are a mountain system. A group of systems are a mountain chain. A group of ranges, systems and chains are known as a mountain belt or a cordillera.
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  • What is a ring-shaped coral island called?

    Q: What is a ring-shaped coral island called?

    A: A ring-shaped coral island is called an atoll. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, an atoll is made up of sections of coral reef that form a closed shape around a central lagoon.
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  • How did oceans form?

    Q: How did oceans form?

    A: Nearly 3.8 billion years ago, temperatures on Earth cooled below 100 degrees Celsius for the first time, allowing water, which existed on the planet in gaseous form, to condense into rain and collect on the planet's surface, according to the American Museum of Natural History. This water collected in low-lying areas, eventually becoming a primitive ocean.
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  • What do Mount Etna in Sicily and Mount St. Helens in the U.S. have in common?

    Q: What do Mount Etna in Sicily and Mount St. Helens in the U.S. have in common?

    A: Both Mount Etna and Mount St. Helens are active stratovolcanoes, also known as composite volcanoes. In addition, both have experienced major activity in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
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  • What are the Appalachian Highlands?

    Q: What are the Appalachian Highlands?

    A: The Appalachian Highlands are a mountain range in Eastern North America. They run from Canada to regions of Georgia and through Alabama.
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  • How are islands formed?

    Q: How are islands formed?

    A: Islands form in several ways. The most common events that lead to island formation are volcanic activity and continental drift. Islands also form due to erosion, buildup of sediment and coral that grows enough to penetrate the surface of the water.
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  • What are examples of peninsulas?

    Q: What are examples of peninsulas?

    A: Peninsulas are found all around the world; in the United States, two prominent examples are the Upper Peninsula in Michigan and the Delmarva Peninsula in Maryland. Peninsulas are chunks of land that are surrounded on three sides by water and joined to larger bodies of land by a neck, called an isthmus. Peninsulas occur primarily along ocean coastlines, although they appear along large river borders too.
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  • Why are deserts so dry?

    Q: Why are deserts so dry?

    A: Deserts are dry because the air above them is lacking moisture. This is caused by rain shadows, moisture sources being too far away, cold ocean currents nearby or the Earth's circulation patterns.
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  • What state is Mount McKinley in?

    Q: What state is Mount McKinley in?

    A: Mount McKinley is the tallest mountain in North America, and it is located in Alaska. It is found in the Denali National Park and Reserve, which is approximately 6 million acres of wild land.
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  • How do parabolic dunes form?

    Q: How do parabolic dunes form?

    A: As with all dunes, parabolic dunes are primarily shaped by the wind. Parabolic dunes tend to proliferate in places where wind blows predominantly in one direction and the movement of sand is restrained by vegetation.
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  • What causes metamorphic rocks to form?

    Q: What causes metamorphic rocks to form?

    A: Metamorphic rocks form when igneous or sedimentary rocks are subjected to extreme heat, pressure or chemical reactions. These forces alter the composition of the rocks, leading to changes in the rocks' density, appearance and structure.
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  • What are some facts about coastal plains?

    Q: What are some facts about coastal plains?

    A: Coastal plains are flat, low-lying pieces of land that feature a body of water on one side and some type of landform on the other. According to National Geographic, a coastal plain can form either as a continental shelf or when water currents carry sedimentary materials that build up over time.
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  • How old is Mount Vesuvius?

    Q: How old is Mount Vesuvius?

    A: Mount Vesuvius is approximately 17,000 years old. It formed upon the site of a previous volcano. Vesuvius has a long history of eruptions, beginning with the first known eruption in 5960 B.C.
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  • What is a plateau?

    Q: What is a plateau?

    A: A plateau refers either to a piece of land that is level and located above nearby land, or the term can refer to a situation that is relatively unchanged for a period of time. In the case of an unchanged situation, the word has either a negative or a positive connotation, depending on whether change is advantageous.
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  • What is the Tonga Trench?

    Q: What is the Tonga Trench?

    A: The Tonga Trench is a submarine trench located in the floor of the South Pacific Ocean. It forms the eastern boundary of the Tonga Ridge. It's 35,702 feet deep at its deepest point and has an average depth of 20,000 feet. It's about 50 miles wide and 850 miles in length. The Tonga Trench and Tonga Ridge form the northern half of the Tonga-Kermadec Arc.
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  • What is an example of a raised flat area?

    Q: What is an example of a raised flat area?

    A: An example of a raised flat area is a plateau. A plateau is a large flat region of land higher than the other areas of land surrounding it.
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  • How do volcanoes form landforms?

    Q: How do volcanoes form landforms?

    A: Volcanoes form landforms when the lava that flows out of the peak solidifies into rock. Magma is molten rock from the Earth's mantle pushed up by the action of plate tectonics. When the magma flows or explodes out of the top of the volcano, it is called lava. Over geological timescales, this lava keeps piling on top of successive strata of cooled rock, making several different kinds of landforms.
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