Study of the relief

Terrain relief or topographic relief

One of the most important objects of observation is the relief, that is, a set of unevenness of the earth's surface - lowlands, plateaus, mountain ranges, river valleys, ravines, gullies, etc. Having studied the relief of the area, you can get an idea of ​​its geological structure , the composition of rocks, the conditions of surface moisture and the occurrence of groundwater. The role of relief is also great in climate formation, the distribution of soils and vegetation. The relief, being a redistributor of heat and moisture, influences the climate of vast plains, mountainous areas, and within them creates local climates and microclimates. It is known that with a rise upward for every 100 m, the temperature decreases by an average of 0.5 °, and the amount of precipitation changes. The slopes facing the north and the slopes facing the south are heated differently; in mountain pits, cold air stagnates, sliding from the slopes of the adjacent ridges; at the end of the day, the air temperature in the valley is several degrees lower compared to its raised edges, etc.

The relief has an impact on various branches of human activity. The nature of the relief is taken into account when organizing the territory of state and collective farms, when locating agricultural land, building roads and planning cities, when draining and irrigating land.

Many natural landforms in long-lived areas have been changed by human economic activities, and some landforms are created by man. So, for example, in the Donbass and Kuzbass, everywhere there are embankments of excavated rocks that form waste heaps. All over the country, embankments of highways and railways, dams of reservoirs, excavation of quarries, development of peat bogs, etc. have been created. All this changes the character of the earth's surface.

Before going on a hike, a tourist needs to get an idea of ​​the topography of the area along which he has to go. To do this, you need to get acquainted with the geographical and local history literature, get expert advice. It is necessary to stock up on a large-scale topographic map, or at least make a copy of the territory of the future route from it. On the map, you should pay attention to the following details:

1) absolute elevation marks;

2) for mountainous areas - the direction of the main and side ridges, their height, slopes, the nature of the peaks, the presence of snowfields and glaciers;

3) the presence and nature of the river, ravine-ravine and lake network.

The map will also give an idea of ​​the degree of swampiness of the territory, the nature of its vegetation, it will allow to provide a number of details of the trip, including equipping with some instruments, for example, an aneroid barometer. With the help of the latter, the depth of the incision of the bottoms of river and mountain valleys, ravines and gullies is determined in relation to the surface of the watersheds; the height of mountain ranges, saddles, plateaus above the level of mountain valleys, depressions of various kinds, etc. In mountainous regions, the distribution of natural belts and the height of the snow line are determined by a barometer-altimeter.

In addition to the aneroid, the tourist needs to have an eclimeter to determine the angle of incidence of the slopes, and it is better to have an eclimeter built into the mountain compass, which is more portable and accurate enough. When measuring the angles of incidence of slopes, a mountain compass with an eclimeter or separately an eclimeter is placed on a stick or a shovel handle along the fall of the slope at its most characteristic parts. For greater accuracy (if time permits), such readings are repeated three times, after which the arithmetic mean is taken. To characterize the entire slope, it is better to take measurements in its upper part, in the middle and lower.

The dimensions of individual landforms are often determined by eye; if time permits, you can quickly and accurately do this with a tape measure and an eclimeter.

Before the hike and especially in the first days, it is recommended to pre-train the eye (determining the distances, heights and angles of slopes) and carefully check the scale of steps.

Let us dwell on some concepts and terms, the knowledge of which will allow the tourist to observe the relief in a shorter and more accurate manner.

Relief is a set of irregularities of the Earth's surface, characterized by different ages, development history, nature of occurrence, shape, etc. Terrain can be viewed as part of the landscape. It refers to the geographic features that control the ecosystem, climate, weather, and the essence of life on Earth. In simple terms: any shape on the surface of the earth is known as relief.

Topographic relief map of the Earth

The origin of the relief

The various landforms that we have today have arisen due to natural processes: erosion, wind, rain, weather conditions, ice, chemical action, etc. Natural processes and natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have created the various forms of the earth's surface that we see today. Water and wind erosion can wear out land and shape landforms such as valleys and canyons. Both processes take place over a long period of time, which sometimes takes millions of years.

It took about 6 million years for the Colorado River to cut through the Grand Canyon in the US state of Arizona. The Grand Canyon is 446 kilometers long.

The highest relief on Earth is Mount Everest in Nepal. Its peak is located at an altitude of 8,848 meters above sea level. It is part of the Himalayan mountain range, which is located in several countries in Asia.

The deepest relief on Earth (almost 11,000 m) is the Mariana Trench (Mariana Trench), which is located in the South Pacific Ocean.

Main landforms of the Earth's crust

Mountains, hills, plateaus and plains are the four main landforms. Minor landforms include outliers, canyons, valleys, basins, hollows, ridges, saddles, hollows, etc.

A mountain is a large relief that extends over the surrounding land in a limited area, usually in the form of a peak or mountain system. The mountain is usually steeper and higher than the hill. Mountains are formed through tectonic forces or volcanism. These forces can locally lift the Earth's surface. Mountains are slowly eroding due to the action of rivers, weather and glaciers. Several mountains are separate peaks, but most of them are found on huge mountain ranges.

The high mountains have a colder climate than sea level. Weather conditions strongly affect the ecosystems of mountains: for different heights, the difference in flora and fauna is inherent. Due to the less favorable terrain and climate, mountains are generally used less for agriculture and more for natural resource extraction and recreation such as mountaineering.

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