Question description


Landforms occur in patterns across the surface of the globe, and these landform complexes often define geographic or landscape regions. One way of looking at landforms is through elevation changes. A contour map is a useful two-dimensional representation of the surface and the most common way we have of symbolizing the relief of the surface. However, a type of map called a “shaded relief” map provides a more intuitive grasp of elevation.

Another way to understand landform regions or landscapes is to use a map that displays information about the geology. In the study of landforms, an understanding to the subsurface geology is critical. Understanding a geologic map requires a rough understanding of geologic time. A geologic map has the following properties:

  • It recognizes similarities and differences among materials that make up the Earth’s crust and classifies them by type of rock or surficial deposit;
  • It places Earth materials into a specific environment or origin- for example, a volcano, river deposit, windblown dune, limestone reef, alteration at depth by heat or pressure;
  • It identifies rock formations of distinctive materials and ages that are the three-dimensional building blocks of the Earth’s crust; it further shows the relative position of one formation to another at the Earth’s surface;
  • It arranges rock formations of different ages into a time sequence from which the geologic history of the planet can be deciphered.

For this lab we will address the following questions: Can we use a map of elevation (and rock age) to identify large-scale patterns in the landscape? What are the physiographic characteristics of North America?

Data and Methods:

You will need to:

  1. Download the maps
    1. Thelin and Pike Relief Map
    2. King and Beikman 1974 Geologic Map
      1. You can also play around with the dynamic digital version
  2. Examine the maps in detail.
  3. Download and READ the materials that accompany the maps
    1. Thelin and Pike Relief Map
    2. King and Beikman 1974 Relief Map
  4. Finally (only after steps 1-3 are complete) Answer the questions. You will need to print an outline map to answer some of the questions. I have attached an outline map with this assignment. You may digitally edit the map instead of printing/scanning if you wish.


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