What is continental relief?

What Does continental relief Mean

Accidents and shapes that modify a flat surface make up its relief . It can be depressions or elevations that alter the appearance. Mountains, canyons, mountains and valleys, in this sense, form the relief of our planet.

The land relief , therefore, includes those changes that can be seen on the surface of the planet, either at the surface level or on the underwater bed. It can differentiate between the emerged relief (which develops above sea level) and the oceanic relief (which is submerged).

The notion of continental relief is linked to the forms that exist on the continents (that is, the emerged surface) and in the submerged area closest to them (known as the continental shelf ). This definition shows us that the continental relief can also be classified as emerged relief and that it is part of what we understand as terrestrial relief .
Because the continents occupy about 30% of the Earth , the continental relief develops in that percentage of the planet. It includes all the mountains, plateaus, valleys, depressions, and plains found in Antarctica , America , Europe , Africa, and Asia .
The continental relief can be understood as the areas of the lithosphere that are not covered by the ocean. From the Pampean plain to the Andes mountain range , passing through the Alps and the Sahara desert , the continental relief stands out in all parts of the planet.
If we analyze the continental relief taking into account its magnitude, we can distinguish between two large groups: the macro-forms and the smaller ones . Let's see below the corresponding to the first:
* Ancient shields and massifs : they were formed in the Precambrian period , the most extensive stage in the history of our planet. These are the oldest landforms, and erosion and internal forces have acted on them with great intensity for a long time, giving them "new life", restoring their youth;
* Sedimentary plains and basins : these landforms are lands that usually do not exceed 200 meters and have few geographical features. In Latin America the sedimentary ones are predominant, that is to say, those plains that have been born on top of large basins on which sediments have been deposited for several hundred years;

* mountain ranges that were formed recently : these are alignments of mountains that have risen in the last million years, a period that for the Earth can be considered "recent". Some examples of this type of continental relief macroform are the Andes mountains , the Alpine mountains and the Himalayas. Since they have not suffered erosion for as long as other forms, the mountain ranges formed at this time are the highest in the world.
Among the minor forms of relief are the following:
* alluvial (or fluvial) terraces : they are small sedimentary platforms or tables that were built in a river valley due to the river sediments that remain on the sides of the channel, where its slope (and therefore its capacity to drag) decreases;
* Dejection cones : they are also known by the name of alluvial fans , and they are formations that resemble terraces formed at the point where a stream connects with a plain. The sediments dragged by the former are deposited as a kind of fan and do not usually form a single channel, but several, and they open in the floods of greater intensity ;
* Overlapping cones : in the Valley of Death, in North America, there is a clear example of dejection cones that have been superimposed. Various streams converge there, opening up when they reach the bottom of the valley, a phenomenon known as "river coalescence."

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