What Are Geographical Features | GIS for LIfe (2023)

What Are Geographical Features

What Are Geographical Features | GIS for LIfe (1)

Geographic features are characteristic features of the Earth, whether natural or artificial. Natural geographical features are made of ecosystems and landforms. For instance, physical environmental factors or terrain types are natural geographic features. On the other hand, other engineered forms or human settlements are referred to as artificial geographical features.

Types of Artificial Geographical Features

Artificial geographic features include bridges, highways, railroads, airports, dams, buildings, and reservoirs. They are part of the anthroposphere because they are geographic features made by man.

Planet Earth is replete with diverse physical features ranging from deserts and oceans to mountains and plains.

First, let’s examine the tallest geographical features of the Earth: Mountains. A mountain is a landform that grows conspicuously above its surroundings, typically having a relatively confined summit area with steep slopes. It is quite rare for mountains to exist individually; in many cases, they occur in ranges or elongated chains. For instance, Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, is one of the mountains in the Himalayan Mountain chain. Mountains which make up about 20% of Earth’s landmass exist on all 7 continents.

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At the base of some mountains, there are a series of foothills or “piedmont”. They are gradual rises in height and are a transition between mountains and plains. Away from the mountains, there are separate hills that exist on their own. Hills, just like mountains, are raised areas of the earth’s surface, however, they are less steep and not as high as mountains. U.S. Geological Survey says that there is no official disparity between mountains and hills. The United States and the United Kingdom used to describe hills as summits below 1,000 feet. However, in the mid-twentieth century, both countries discarded the definition.

Another geographical feature is the plateau. It is an area of highland that is significantly raised above the surrounding area.

There are 2 major types of the plateau: Volcanic plateaus and dissected plateaus. A dissected plateau is formed due to upward movement in the Earth’s crust as a result of the gradual collision of tectonic plates. This gives rise to a volcanic plateau being formed from many little volcanic eruptions that over time accumulate slowly. Even though plateaus are higher than the surrounding terrain, they are different from mountain ranges as they are flat.

The mesa is another flat-topped elevation. It is an isolated, flat-topped hill or ridge which is bounded by steep escarpments from all sides and distinctly erects above a surrounding plain. Mesa consists of soft flat-lying sedimentary rocks insulated by durable layers of hard rock. These durable layers behave like a caprock which forms the flat summit.

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Valleys lie in between some of the elevated geographical features. A valley is a stretched depression of the surface of the earth, popularly formed by rivers and occurs between ranges of mountains and hills or on plains. Deep valleys formed by the tectonic plate movements are known as rift valleys, while very deep and narrow valleys of similar appearance are known as gorges.

A plain is another geographical feature that can be defined as any level area of the surface of the Earth which exhibits small local relief and gentle slopes. Plains vary largely in size, with the smallest one occupying up to 10 acres.

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Geographical Features

What Are Geographical Features | GIS for LIfe (2)

The lake is shared by the USA, Palestine, and Jordan. Badwater Basin is the deepest point in North America, at 86 m above sea level, one of the deepest points of the earth’s surface that is not covered by water or ice. The total surface area of the earth and water is more than 510 million km2 below sea level, 360 million kms2 of which are water (salty and liquid) and dry land, and the rest (29%) of the surface is dry land (rocks, stone, sand, mountains, deserts, rivers, lakes, and farmland).

The Great Slaves are the five longest rivers in the world: the Nile in Africa, the Amazon in South America, the Yangtze in China, the Mississippi in the United States, the Yenisei in Siberia in Russia, and by far the largest desert island with 142 million km2, followed by the Arctic in the northernmost part of the world. Sources: 3

One of the most variable geographical features known as the driest place on earth is the desert. Deserts are classified by the amount of precipitation that falls to less than 10 inches per year.Sources: 1

A river basin is an area drained by a river and its tributaries. The world’s largest river basin is the Amazon basin, which covers more than 6 million square kilometers and sends 55 million gallons of water into the Atlantic at the same time. Sources: 1

Waters are important water deposits that cover the earth. The term “water” usually refers to a large accumulation of water such as ocean, sea, or lake, but can also include smaller water basins such as ponds, puddles, and wetlands. The difference between lakes and ponds is complicated, but by scientific definition, the deeper it is, the greater it is. Sources: 2, 8

It is located on the edge of the sea or ocean, where rivers and lakes flow a little over the land. An area with little rainfall and sparse vegetation, such as the Sahara. The area where the mouth of a river is formed by deposits brought in by the river (for example in the Ganges Delta in India).Sources: 8, 10

Tributaries – Rivers that flow into larger rivers, for example, Missouri is a tributary of the Mississippi. Mouth – An area where freshwater from a river meets saltwater from the ocean (for example, in the Amazon estuary). Sources: 10


Mesa – A large land shape with flat peaks and steep slopes, such as the Tucumcari Mountains in New Mexico. Tundra – A flat, treeless area where the ground is frozen, for example Greenland tundra. Oasis – A desert area without water or vegetation, for example, the Siwa Oasis in Egypt.Sources: 10

Pond – A small body of water that surrounds the land, such as Walden Pond in Massachusetts. Peninsula – An area surrounded by water on three sides (for example, Italy).Sources: 10

A lagoon – Similar to a bay, a lagoon is a round saltwater bay, with some pleasant differences. As a watery geographical feature, lagoons can be very beautiful.Sources: 8

This means that the water is calm and a nice place for more fish to hang out. Surrounded by land and rocks, the bay can feel like a secret hideaway or a small place.Sources: 8

Today we will look at some of these features and see how they relate to each other and where you can find them. A geographical feature is a geographical formation or component of the planet that refers to a place, place, area, or region as shown on a map. Natural geographical features are abstract geographical features on Earth, while artificial geographical features (e.g.Sources: 1, 2

For example, continents, valleys, gorges, sand dunes, and mountains are considered landscapes. In addition, waters such as oceans and lakes and water-related landscapes such as bays and peninsulas are also landscapes. An ecosystem is a natural entity of plants, animals, microorganisms, and biotic factors in an area that acts as a non-living, physical, or abiotic factor in the environment. Sources: 2, 4

The study of geography deals with the location of places such as cities, states, and countries. Abstract geographical features include designated areas and cartographic features such as the equator. Parts of the continental United States are covered by geographical features. Sources: 2, 4, 7

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The study of geography concerns the characteristics of places such as places, rivers, mountains, and deserts. Geographical records show the changes in areas and landscapes that have occurred over time. In researching the geography of an area, scientists get to know the animals and plants that live there. Sources: 7

A place is a place with unmistakable characteristics that give it a sense and character that differs from other places. Students must understand how physical and human qualities give meaning to a place. You also need to understand how these characteristics vary from place to place and change over time.Sources: 0

By identifying geographical features close to participants’ “habitats that are associated with the integrity of the brain, we can think about how we can make targeted use of urban architecture to mitigate the typical urban impact on mental health. Sources: 6

It is rare that mountains occur naturally, and in most cases, they are found in long ranges or mountain ranges. Of the total of 535 Japanese areas, only mountainous mountains reach an altitude of 3,000 m (Takahasi 2004). The monsoon regions of Japan and Asia have abundant rainfall, and about 70% of the country is mountainous, with a number of mountainous areas separating the country from the main composite dynamic energy. Sources: 1, 5

Known as Chomolungma, the mountain with its snow and ice cover reaches a height of 8,848 m. The Hengduanshan Mountains are located at the interface between the Tibet Autonomous Region and the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan southeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau where they have an average altitude of 2,000 to 6,000 meters. The Taiwanese mountains stretch through the eastern part of the island of Taiwan with an average altitude of between 3,000 and 3,500 meters.Sources: 3, 9

The Tarim Basin is located in the southern part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and comprises the mountains Tianshan and Kunlunshan. It is China’s largest basin.

Cited Sources

(Video) The #Environment and the geographical features. Living planet unit 6.


What are 5 common geographic features? ›

They include land forms, bodies of water, climate, soils, natural vegetation, and animal life.

How is geography used in everyday life? ›

Geography can help us understand the planet's movement, changes, and systems. Topics that are relevant to today such as climate change, water availability, natural resources, and more are much easier understood by those who know geography well.

What are examples of geographical features? ›

Geographic features means mountains, canyons, gulches, streams, streambeds or channels whether flowing or dry, natural bridges, natural lakes, natural monuments, mesas, deserts, forests, springs, water holes, cliffs, chasms and other similar natural objects, places or things.

What are human features in geography? ›

Page 3. Human Features. Human geography relates only to the human environment; something that is built by humans and would not have existed in nature without humans. Features include anything from a house to a city, and all the related infrastructure such as roads, rail, canals etc.

Why is geography important in our life? ›

Geography helps us to explore and understand space and place - recognising the great differences in cultures, political systems, economies, landscapes and environments across the world, and exploring the links between them.

What are the 5 importance of geography? ›

Geography helps students to understand the physical world, such as land, air, water, and ecology. It also helps them to understand human environments, such as societies and communities. This also includes economics, social and cultural issues, and sometimes morals and ethics.

What is the effect of geographical factors on social life? ›

Geography is a big factor in determining our social life. Prevailing social life is greatly affected by geographical conditions or the natural physical environment. Geography affects people greatly; such as: If the land is more coastal, people are more likely to eat more sea food.

What are natural geographical features? ›

Natural geographic features include landforms and ecosystems. Landforms are terrain types and bodies of water. Ecosystems are natural units consisting of all plants, animals and micro-organisms (biotic factors) in an area functioning together with all of the non-living physical (abiotic) factors of the environment.

What are natural features for kids? ›

What are natural features? Natural features are part of the land, and many were in a place before people lived there. Plants, rocks, sand, soil, sea and streams are all natural. They are not made by people.

What are the natural features? ›

Natural features are unmodified components of landscapes, such as mountains, rivers, wetlands, hill country, plains, coastlines, rocky outcrops or bluffs/cliffs.

What are the 5 geographical terms? ›

The five themes of geography are location, place, human-environment interaction, movement, and region.

What are human features? ›

Human features - things that are made or built by humans. • Physical features - anything that is on the Earth naturally. • Bodies of water – an area of land that is covered by water.

Is a city a geographical feature? ›

Definition. Geographical Feature. Some named physical location on Earth, identified geographically such as a specific land area, city or geographical feature.

What are 5 examples of physical features? ›

Physical features include landforms, bodies of water, climate, natural vegetation and soil.

What are three examples of human features? ›

Things such as language, religion, political systems, economic systems, and population distribution are examples of human characteristics.

What are two main features of human geography? ›

The two main features of human geography are: 1) where and 2) why human activities are located. Both of these focus on the underlying terrain and the human societies.

What are the 3 types of geography for kids? ›

There are three main strands of geography:
  • Physical geography: nature and the effects it has on people and/or the environment.
  • Human geography: concerned with people.
  • Environmental geography: how people can harm or protect the environment.

What are 5 facts about geography? ›

Here are some incredible, geographic facts about this planet we call Earth.
  • Continents shift at about the same rate as your fingernails grow.
  • Mt. ...
  • Ninety percent of Earth's population lives in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • 4. California has more people than all of Canada. ...
  • Australia is wider than the moon.

Why is geography important for kids? ›

Learning geography allows you to identify and appreciate important clues of your nation's history, including the influence of landforms and climate on land use, the rise and fall of civilizations, and migration patterns, among other things.

How will geography help me in the future? ›

Geography helps us understand how past societies and environments developed, which provides the context for the present and helps us to plan for our future.

Why is geography important for the future? ›

Knowing geography is a key to nations, peoples, and individuals being able to develop a coherent understanding of the causes, meanings, and effects of the physical and human events that occur—and are likely to occur in the future—on Earth.

What is the most important type of geography? ›

IMPORTANCE  Physical geography is very important for understanding various things about countries and regions of the world.  It helps to determine the economics of a nation.

What are the top 10 reasons to study geography? ›

Reasons to study geography
  • Varied academic knowledge. ...
  • Shape the direction of your degree. ...
  • Highly desirable transferable skills. ...
  • Broad choice of future careers. ...
  • Gain practical experience with fieldwork. ...
  • Prepare for an international career. ...
  • Make a difference. ...
  • Postgraduate opportunities.
3 Jan 2021

What do geography actually do? ›

Human geographers study the spatial aspects of human activity –what people do, where, and why there– and its effects. Physical geographers describe, model, and predict the patterns of natural features and processes, such as climate, landforms, soil formation, and water flow.

How does geography influence culture? ›

Culture is largely shaped by geography, by the topographical features of the landscape, the climate, and the natural resources. Geography shapes how cultures interact with each other, what they need for food, shelter, and clothing, and how they choose to express themselves.

How is geography related to society? ›

Geographers explore both the physical properties of Earth's surface and the human societies spread across it. They also examine how human culture interacts with the natural environment and the way that locations and places can have an impact on people.

What is geographical influence? ›

- Geographic influences regard the effects which the natural features, population, industries of a region have upon a business. - They are based on the general and specific location and placement of a business.

How do geographical and historical factors make people life? ›

When we refer to geographical factors we refer to the location,climatic conditions, relief features of a particular area that again influences its culture. For instance, people residing in hills, mountains would have different eating, clothing habit as compared with people living in plains or near to sea.

Is a river a geographical feature? ›

Rivers, streams, canals, and other geographical features where water moves from one place to another are not always considered bodies of water, but they are included as geographical formations featuring water.

Is a forest a geographical feature? ›

The major geographic features we'll consider are oceans and seas, rivers and lakes, mountains, deserts, forests and jungles. Geographic features can be further classified as landforms or ecosystems.

What are the 3 main features of the earth? ›

Earth consists of land, air, water and life. The land contains mountains, valleys and flat areas.

What are features of the earth called? ›

Earth's natural features are in the form of its mountains, rivers, valleys etc. These natural shapes present on the surface of the earth are called land forms.

What physical features mean? ›

Your physical features are your height, weight, size, shape or another bodily characteristic. These also include facial features, hair, scarring and birthmarks. Physical features may also include include piercings, tattoos or body modifications.

What are natural geographic features? ›

A natural landscape is made up of a collection of landforms, such as mountains, hills, plains, and plateaus. Lakes, streams, soils (such as sand or clay), and natural vegetation are other features of natural landscapes. A desert landscape, for instance, usually indicates sandy soil and few deciduous trees.

What are the main features of Australia? ›

Australia's landscape is dominated by the Outback, a region of deserts and semi-arid land. The Outback is a result of the continent's large inland plains, its location along the dry Tropic of Capricorn, and its proximity to cool, dry, southerly winds.

What are natural features in geography? ›

Natural features are unmodified components of landscapes, such as mountains, rivers, wetlands, hill country, plains, coastlines, rocky outcrops or bluffs/cliffs. Here are some specific attributes that impact the value of a landscape or natural feature: Biophysical.

Is land a geographic feature? ›

Natural geographic features include landforms and ecosystems. Landforms are terrain types and bodies of water.

What are human made features? ›

Procedure: Step 1: Explain that a human-made feature is something people have built, such as a building, a bridge, or a road. Our school and our homes are all human-made features.

Is water a geographic feature? ›

Water bodies

Rivers, streams, canals, and other geographical features where water moves from one place to another are not always considered bodies of water, but they are included as geographical formations featuring water.

Why physical features are important? ›

Existing physical features exert important influences in shaping the development of any specific area. They are nature's contribution to the City's environment. Collectively, these features can determine the overall physical character of the community.

How old is Australia? ›

Australia is 117 years old

Other parts of what was known by the Europeans as New Holland were colonised separately or variously annexed to and separated from NSW.

Where is Australia for kids? ›

Located south of Asia, Australia lies between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Off the southeastern coast is the island of Tasmania. Along the northeastern coast is the world's largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef. The interior of the country is a vast, dry area where few people live.

What was Australia called before? ›

After Dutch navigators charted the northern, western and southern coasts of Australia during the 17th Century this newly found continent became known as 'New Holland'. It was the English explorer Matthew Flinders who made the suggestion of the name we use today.

Why are landforms important to living things? ›

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.

Is a jungle a geographic feature? ›

The major geographic features we'll consider are oceans and seas, rivers and lakes, mountains, deserts, forests and jungles. Geographic features can be further classified as landforms or ecosystems.

Is climate a geographic feature? ›

Answer and Explanation: Climate is not a geographic feature but it can be affected by geographic features. Climate has to do with what kind of weather prevails in a specific geographic area over time.


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