In geography, what is a physical feature?

Landforms, bodies of water, terrains, and ecosystems are examples of naturally occurring geographic physical elements on the planet Earth’s topography. Geographic characteristics, in addition to physical features, can be man-made or artificial, and include manufactured features and human settlements. Cartographic features are a third type of geographical feature. It includes elements that aren’t real or technically possible, but are widely acknowledged and designated for study, navigation, and reference purposes.

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Landforms are natural characteristics that make up the Earth’s landscape. Mountains, plains, plateaus, and hills are the four major landforms. There are, however, numerous minor ones, such as canyons, valleys, caverns, and buttes. The tallest landform on Earth is Nepal’s Mt. Everest. Its height is 29,035 feet.

National Geographic claims this. At approximately 7 miles below sea level, the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean is the world’s deepest landform.

Watery Bodies

Water bodies are also physical elements of geography and are classified as landforms. They actually round the globe more than land does. Water covers over 71 percent of the Earth’s surface.

The United States Geological Survey says so. This category includes oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, canals, and glaciers. Salt or freshwater bodies of water can be any size and shape as long as they are permanent fixtures on the topography. The Pacific Ocean is the world’s largest body of water, containing about half of the world’s water and nearly twice the size of the Atlantic Ocean.


Physical features include terrains, which are expanses of land that make up a distinct geographical location, usually defined by its features. A terrain can be horizontal or vertical, and its features can influence the weather, climate, and water flow. Desserts, canyons, woodlands, marshes, tundras, hills, and mountains are examples of terrain types.


Ecosystems can also be considered geographical characteristics. An ecosystem is a collection of elements such as animals, plants, creatures, weather, landscapes, landforms, bodies of water, and topography.

An ecosystem is described by National Geographic as a “bubble of life,” yet ecosystems can contain both living and nonliving elements. A coral reef, a rainforest, a prairie, grassland, or tundra are examples of ecosystems.

Engineered characteristics

Many geographical features are natural, but some are man-made. Roads, airports, dams, buildings, bridges, and trains are examples of engineered features.

Settlements of Humans

Artificial geographical features include settlements, or communities where a group of people dwell. Neighborhoods, towns, villages, cities, counties, townships, parishes, and census designated places are examples of this.

Features of Cartography

While cartographic features are not physical features, they are an important aspect of geography research. Despite the fact that you can’t touch them and that they don’t actually exist, they’re used on maps and in navigation, and they’re widely recognised. The equator, as well as the lines of latitude and longitude, are examples of this type of structure.

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