Hammond, Edwin H. Formerly, Department of Geography, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Distribution and varieties
- Surface Characteristics
- Features associated with stream erosion
- Features produced by solution
- Features associated with stream deposition
- Lake plains and coastal plains
- Features due to continental glaciation
- Features reflecting wind action
- Interrupted Plains
- Plains with hills or mountains
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The relatively smooth sections of the continental surfaces, occupied largely by gentle rather than steep slopes and exhibiting only small local differences in elevation. Because of their smoothness, plains lands, if other conditions are favorable, are especially amenable to many human activities. Thus it is not surprising that the majority of the world's principal agricultural regions, close-meshed transportation networks, and concentrations of population are found on plains. Large parts of the Earth's plains, however, are hindered for human use by dryness, shortness of frost-free season, infertile soils, or poor drainage. Because of the absence of major differences in elevation or exposure or of obstacles to the free movement of air masses, extensive plains usually exhibit broad uniformity or gradual transition of climatic characteristics.
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