Significant Environmental Conditions: Surficial Processes and Landforms
Perhaps the first feature noted when coming to an area is the configuration of the land surface, which is
often referred to with terms such as landforms, terrain, or topographic features. Hills, valleys, mountains,
plains, and other features catch our attention for various reasons.
We might be interested in possible
land uses, such as agriculture, home construction, siting of towns and cities, placement of transportation
corridors, recreation and tourism.
We might also be drawn to an area because it resembles places
already familiar to us, or we might be attracted to new and different landscapes.
Going beyond just the human perspective, landforms are consequential for all life forms.
effects on water reception and subsequent movements, soil development, microclimatic conditions,
primary and secondary productivity, ease or difficulty of animal movement and plant dispersal, impacts of
episodic events, e.g., winds, floods, fires.
Geomorphogenesis, the development of landforms, occurs as the result of one or more of these surficial
weathering (physical and chemical) of geologic materials, overland water movement,