Geomorphology is the study of landforms, their processes, form and sediments at the surface of the. Landforms are produced by erosion or deposition agents such as by air, water and ice, as rock and sediment are worn away and transported and deposited to different localities. The different climatic environments produce different types of landforms.
The formation and degradation of landforms on the surface of the earth are a continuous process. It is due to the continuous influence of external and internal forces. Stresses and chemical action on earth materials due to both internal and external forces and bringing about changes in the configuration of the surface of the earth are known as geomorphic processes.
- The main force behind endogenic geomorphic processes is the energy originating within the earth. Within the Earth, energy is generally generated by the processes such as radioactivity, rotational and tidal friction and primordial heat from the origin of the earth. This energy due to geothermal gradients and heat flow induces diastrophism and volcanism in the lithosphere.
- Endogenic movements are of two type. They are:
- Sudden Movements
- Diastrophic Movements
- Sudden movements are earthquakes and volcanoes. This Sudden movements can cause destruction over the surface of the earth.
- Diastrophic movements are slow and are refers to deformation of the Earth’s crust, by folding and faulting. Slow Movements bring about changes in the Earth’s crust gradually taking hundreds or thousands of years which is generally much longer than a human life span.
- These movements act on the earth s crust either vertically or horizontally. Diastrophic forces include all the processes that move, elevate or build portions of the earth’s crust. Diastrophism includes:
- Orogenic processes: It involves mountain building through severe folding and affecting long and narrow belts of the earth’s crust.
- Epeirogenic processes: It involves uplift or warping of large parts of the earth’s crust.
- Exogenic forces are those forces originated within the earth’s or in earth’s exterior. Major Exogenic forces are water, air, waves, glaciers etc. The actions of exogenic forces result in degradation of elevations and aggradation of depressions, on the earth’s surface.
- All the exogenic geomorphic processes are covered under a general term called denudation. The word ‘denude’ means to strip off or to uncover. Weathering, mass wasting, erosion and transportation are included in denudation
- The phenomenon of wearing down of relief variations of the surface of the earth through erosion is known as gradation.