How to Use a Map

Page 7

 

Terrain Features

 

In addition to the major terrain features previously mentioned, there are a few minor terrain features. Minor terrain features can be considered as part of a major terrain feature. In other words, the irregularities of the terrain of a major terrain feature are minor terrain features.

 

The Finger (or Spur) is a minor terrain feature that "juts out" from high ground. It can be defined as having high ground on one side and low ground on three sides. The contour lines form large "U's" that point downhill. You will notice that the U's of the finger are the same U's we talked about when we discussed determining uphill and downhill directions using contour lines.

 

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A Draw is a minor terrain feature that also starts at high ground, but is carved into the side of the hill by water and erosion. The draw can be defined as having high ground on three sides and low ground on one side. The draw runs downhill in between two fingers. The contour lines form "V's" that point uphill. Once again, notice that the V's of the draw are the same V's we talked about when discussing determining uphill and downhill using contour lines.

 

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A depression is a minor terrain feature that has high ground on all four sides. The contour lines of a depression make a small circle the shape of the depression, but the difference between a depression and a hilltop, is that the small circle of the depression will have small tick marks pointing toward the center of the circle, showing that this is "down" into the depression.

 

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The cliff is a minor terrain feature that has many contour lines very close together. We already know that the distance between contour lines indicates vertical distance (change in elevation), so many contour lines together shows a sharp vertical decline. In some cases, several contour lines may merge into a single line, indicating a sheer, vertical drop (escarpment).

 

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