Factors and shape

The Earth’s crust is affected by tectonic movements that hit continents, close oceans, build mountains and make the Earth’s surface less uniform.
In fact there are regions with very high mountains, while others are characterized by deep depressions, like ocean trenches.
The creation of a mountain or creasing of the Earth’s surface is due to factors that act from inside the earth and are called endogenous agents. During the years, mountains and hills are eroded: slopes become less inclined while rock debris are deposited on the most depressed areas (sedimentary basins). This erosive action occurs continuously as a consequence of exogenous agents.
The shape and the characteristics of a landscape derive from its structure (rocks and minerals it consists of), the processes that shape the structure and the length of time a specific process takes to act on it. But it is necessary to consider the activities that men carried out on the territory, modifying its shape and characteristics and contributing to the creation of anthropic landscapes, “humanized”, to be distinguished from the natural ones. Anthropic landscapes, in fact, represent the historical result of human culture and activities on nature.

Special reports

From the Multimedia section


  • Mountains on the Earth

    The different landscapes that we analysed in the previous section are distributed...

  • Different plains

    In South America plains are different from North to South...

  • 16 May 2011

    Rock glaciers

    In the mountains, also in our Alps, in detrital screes...