The sizes and shapes of landforms vary across the earth. The highest elevation in the world is the peak of Mount Everest (8, 850 meters or 29, 029 feet above sea level) in the Himalayan Range, and the lowest point is the Dead Sea (-424 meters or -1, 391 feet below sea level). The lowest point on the Earth's surface including land and sea is thought to be in the Mariana trench in the Western Pacific Ocean, extending from southeast of Guam to the east side of the Mariana Islands, at about 10, 971 meters or 35, 994 feet below sea level.
Major topographical features of the world:
Mountains are steep peaks and ridges, created by tremendous forces in the earth over a long period of time. Mountains are found more commonly in oceans than on land; some islands are the peaks of mountains under the water. Mountains are formed by volcanic activity, erosion, and disturbances in the Earth's crust. Mountains are one of the most prominent of the Earth's landforms. Some of the world's greatest mountain ranges are the Rockies and the Appalachians in North America, the Andes in South America, the Atlas Mountains and Drakensberge Mountain Range in Africa, the Alps and the Carpathian Mountains in Europe, the Urals and Caucasus in Eurasia, the Himalayas, Elburz, Altay, Kunlun and the Zagros mountain ranges in Asia, and the Great Dividing Range in Australia. Some of the most prominent highlands are Guiana Highlands and the Brazilian Highlands in South America, the Ethiopian Highlands in Africa, and the Western and Eastern Ghats in India.
A plateau, also known as a tableland, is a landform characterized by flat land at a higher elevation in comparison to surrounding lands. Folding and faulting of the Earth's crust, volcanic activity, extrusion of lava and erosion by wind, glaciers, and water form plateaus. Some of the most famous plateaus of the world are the Mexican Plateau, Tibetan Plateau, Central Siberian Plateau, and the Kimberley Plateau in Australia.
Plains are broad, level stretches of land that have no significant changes in elevation. Plains are generally lower than the land around them and may be found along a coast or inland. Some major plains and river valleys on the earth's surface include the Great Plains and the Coastal Plain of North America, the Northern European Plains, the West Siberian Plain, the Indus Valley, the Gangetic Plain and the Brahmaputra Valley in India, the North China Plain, and the Nullarbor Plain in Australia.
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