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Homole Ravine, Pieniny, Poland Wawoz homole2.jpg
Homole Ravine, Pieniny, Poland

A ravine is a landform that is narrower than a canyon and is often the product of streambank erosion. [1] Ravines are typically classified as larger in scale than gullies, although smaller than valleys. [1] Ravines may also be called a cleuch, dell, ghout (Nevis), gill or ghyll, glen, gorge, kloof (South Africa), and chine (Isle of Wight)


A ravine is generally a fluvial slope landform of relatively steep (cross-sectional) sides, on the order of twenty to seventy percent in gradient. Ravines may or may not have active streams flowing along the downslope channel which originally formed them; moreover, often they are characterized by intermittent streams, since their geographic scale may not be sufficiently large to support a perennial watercourse. [2]

Notable ravines

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Valley Low area between hills, often with a river running through it

A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will typically contain a river or stream running from one end to the other. Most valleys are formed by erosion of the land surface by rivers or streams over a very long period of time. Some valleys are formed through erosion by glacial ice. These glaciers may remain present in valleys in high mountain or polar areas. At lower latitudes and altitudes, these glacially formed valleys may have been created or enlarged during ice ages but now are ice-free and occupied by streams or rivers. In desert areas, valleys may be entirely dry or carry a watercourse only rarely. In areas of limestone bedrock, dry valleys may also result from drainage taking place underground rather than at the surface. Rift valleys arise principally from earth movements, rather than erosion. Many different types of valley are described by geographers, using terms that may be global in use or else applied only locally.

Moraine Glacially formed accumulation of unconsolidated debris

A moraine is any accumulation of unconsolidated debris, sometimes referred to as glacial till, that occurs in both currently and formerly glaciated regions, and that has been previously carried along by a glacier or ice sheet. It may consist of partly rounded particles ranging in size from boulders down to gravel and sand, in a groundmass of finely-divided clayey material sometimes called glacial flour. Lateral moraines are those formed at the side of the ice flow, and terminal moraines were formed at the foot, marking the maximum advance of the glacier. Other types of moraine include ground moraines and medial moraines.

Canyon Deep ravine between cliffs

A canyon, or gorge, is a deep cleft between escarpments or cliffs resulting from weathering and the erosive activity of a river over geologic time scales. Rivers have a natural tendency to cut through underlying surfaces, eventually wearing away rock layers as sediments are removed downstream. A river bed will gradually reach a baseline elevation, which is the same elevation as the body of water into which the river drains. The processes of weathering and erosion will form canyons when the river's headwaters and estuary are at significantly different elevations, particularly through regions where softer rock layers are intermingled with harder layers more resistant to weathering.

Landform Feature of the solid surface of a planetary body

A landform is a natural or anthropogenic land feature on the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body. Landforms together make up a given terrain, and their arrangement in the landscape is known as topography. Landforms include hills, mountains, canyons, and valleys, as well as shoreline features such as bays, peninsulas, and seas, including submerged features such as mid-ocean ridges, volcanoes, and the great ocean basins.

Fluvial processes Processes associated with rivers and streams

In geography and geology, fluvial processes are associated with rivers and streams and the deposits and landforms created by them. When the stream or rivers are associated with glaciers, ice sheets, or ice caps, the term glaciofluvial or fluvioglacial is used.

Landforms are categorized by characteristic physical attributes such as their creating process, shape, elevation, slope, orientation, rock exposure, and soil type.

Butte Isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top

In geomorphology, a butte is an isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top; buttes are smaller landforms than mesas, plateaus, and tablelands. The word butte comes from a French word meaning knoll ; its use is prevalent in the Western United States, including the southwest where mesa is used for the larger landform. Due to their distinctive shapes, buttes are frequently landmarks in plains and mountainous areas. To differentiate the two landforms, geographers use the rule of thumb that a mesa has a top that is wider than its height, while a butte has a top that is narrower than its height.

Wadi River valley, especially a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain

Wadi, alternatively wād, North African Arabic Oued, is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some instances, it may refer to a wet (ephemeral) riverbed that contains water only when heavy rain occurs.

Gully Landform created by running water and/or mass movement eroding sharply into soil

A gully is a landform created by running water, mass movement, or commonly a combination of both eroding sharply into soil or other relatively erodible material, typically on a hillside or in river floodplains or terraces. Gullies resemble large ditches or small valleys, but are metres to tens of metres in depth and width and are characterised by a distinct 'headscarp' or 'headwall' and progress by headward erosion. Gullies are commonly related to intermittent or ephemeral water flow usually associated with localised intense or protracted rainfall events, or snowmelt. Gullies can be formed and accelerated by cultivation practices on hillslopes in farmland, and they can develop rapidly in rangelands from existing natural erosion forms subject to vegetative cover removal and livestock activity.

Body of water Any significant accumulation of water, generally on a planets surface

A body of water or waterbody is any significant accumulation of water on the surface of Earth or another planet. The term most often refers to oceans, seas, and lakes, but it includes smaller pools of water such as ponds, wetlands, or more rarely, puddles. A body of water does not have to be still or contained; rivers, streams, canals, and other geographical features where water moves from one place to another are also considered bodies of water.

Coulee Type of valley or drainage zone

Coulee, or coulée is a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley or drainage zone. The word coulee comes from the Canadian French coulée, from French couler 'to flow'.

Glacial landform Landform created by the action of glaciers

Glacial landforms are landforms created by the action of glaciers. Most of today's glacial landforms were created by the movement of large ice sheets during the Quaternary glaciations. Some areas, like Fennoscandia and the southern Andes, have extensive occurrences of glacial landforms; other areas, such as the Sahara, display rare and very old fossil glacial landforms.

Arroyo (creek) Dry creek or stream bed with flow after rain

An arroyo, also called a wash, is a dry creek, stream bed or gulch that temporarily or seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain. Flash floods are common in arroyos following thunderstorms.

Gulch Deep V-shaped valley formed by erosion

In xeric lands, a gulch is a deep V-shaped valley formed by erosion. It may contain a small stream or dry creek bed and is usually larger in size than a gully. Sudden intense rainfall upstream may produce flash floods in the bed of the gulch.

Fataga Village in Canary Islands, Spain

Fataga is a village in the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana on the island of Gran Canaria.

Dell (landform) Small secluded hollow

In physical geography, a dell is a small secluded hollow, grassy, park-like, usually partially-wooded valley. The word "dell" comes from the Old English word dell, which is related to the Old English word dæl, modern 'dale'. Dells in literature are often portrayed as pleasant safe havens. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with dingle, although this specifically refers to deep ravines or hollows that are embowered with trees. The terms have also been combined to form examples of tautological placenames in Dingle Dell, Kent, and Dingle Dell Reserve, Auckland.

Fluvio refers to things related to rivers and glacial refers to something that is of ice. Fluvio-glacial refers to the meltwater created when a glacier melts. Fluvio-glacial processes can occur on the surface and within the glacier. The deposits that happen within the glacier are revealed after the entire glacier melts or partially retreats. Fluvio-glacial landforms and erosional surfaces include: outwash plains, kames, kame terraces, kettle holes, eskers, varves, and proglacial lakes.

Fluvioglacial landforms are those that result from the associated erosion and deposition of sediments caused by glacial meltwater. These landforms may also be referred to as glaciofluvial in nature. Glaciers contain suspended sediment loads, much of which is initially picked up from the underlying landmass. Landforms are shaped by glacial erosion through processes such as glacial quarrying, abrasion, and meltwater. Glacial meltwater contributes to the erosion of bedrock through both mechanical and chemical processes.

Defile (geography) Narrow pass or gorge between mountains or hills

In geography, a defile is a narrow pass or gorge between mountains or hills. The term originates from a military description of a route through which troops can march only in a narrow column or with a narrow front. On emerging from a defile into open country, soldiers are said to "debouch".

Guayadeque ravine

The Guayadeque ravine, in Spanish Barranco de Guayadeque, is a ravine-type valley located on the Spanish municipalities of Ingenio and Agüimes, in the province of Las Palmas on Grand Canary island, off the coast of Morocco.


  1. 1 2 Definition of "ravine" at Merriam-Webster
  2. Christopher G. Morris; Academic Press (1992). Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology. Gulf Professional Publishing. pp. 1802–. ISBN   978-0-12-200400-1 . Retrieved 1 October 2012.