Observing the Earth’s surface

Atmosphere and hydrosphere get in contact with rocks and minerals on the Earth’s surface, where rocks spontaneously adapt to the conditions of our planet. The Earth’s surface is continuously evolving and modifying in time to create different landscapes. The elements that characterize a landscape are various and range from soil conformation (grasslands and mountains) to water bodies (lakes, rivers and waterfalls), animals (fauna) vegetation (flora), climate and man’s works (cities, roads, castles and many infrastructures). A natural landscape, without any human intervention, is often the result of two opposite forces, a battle that has been going on for thousands of years, between the geological processes that occur inside the Earth (the movement of earth plates, volcanic activity, the processes that lead to the creation of new mountains) and the processes that occur externally to the Earth’s surface (erosion and water transport of material, changes due to particular climate conditions and many others).

Special reports

  • 7 January 2010

    Alps and Appennines

    The term orogeny was born from the Greek words...

    13 May 2013

    Small steps, great footprints

    Have you ever wondered how much space is taken up by an apple or a steak?...

    5 September 2007

    The Mediterranean sea

    The warm blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea...

  • 10 November 2011


    When studying landslide phenomena, it is opportune to distinguish...

    2 October 2011

    The hydrogeological risk

    On the sides of watercourses are plains...

    28 August 2020

    The Earth seen from above: signs of fires

    This image was taken by the ASTER sensor installed on the NASA TERRA satellite platform. The image was taken on…

  • 15 July 2020

    Earth viewed from above

    Remote satellite sensing: what it is and what it is used for In the scientific field, the images produced by…

    30 April 2019

    Urban woods

    When walking along a tree-lined avenue in a crowded and traffic-congested city, wrapped up in our daily commitments, we do…

    12 April 2019

    Easter with extinct friends

    Easter Island is shaped like a triangle with three extinct volcanoes placed at the vertices, and has a total area…

From the Multimedia section

  • earth




    More info on landscapes

  • earth

    Venezuelan forest



    The compass

  • earth

    Landscapes: factors that shapes



    The history of the Earth in one day 1



  • 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...