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valleys

Valleys: Natural Depressions
Image: National Geographic/Larry Fellows, Arizona Geological Survey

Valleys: Natural Depressions

Spectacular valleys exist all over the world. Moving water, glaciers, or plate tectonics erode and shift the land to sculpt these natural troughs. Depending on the forces that shape them, valleys can be V-shaped, U-shaped, steep and narrow, or shallow and broad.

Explore different kinds of valleys and how each is created.

National Geographic
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Death Valley’s Moving Rocks

Death Valley’s Moving Rocks

Nearly 200 rocks slowly creep across Death Valley in California, some reaching speeds of 4 mph. Geologist Paula Messina has been studying this phenomenon for 16 years. Find out what she's learned. More...

Video
National Geographic
Forming a V-Shaped Valley

Forming a V-Shaped Valley

Over time, sediment and debris in rivers can break down a riverbed. This erosion cuts deeper and deeper, eventually forming a V-shaped valley. Watch the process in this interactive feature. More...

Interactive
Absorb Chemistry
A Glacier Carves a U-Shaped Valley

A Glacier Carves a U-Shaped Valley

Glaciers and streams sculpt the land in different ways. Running water cuts winding curves and V-shaped valleys. Glaciers often carve nearly straight valleys with U-shaped cross-sections. Find out how these natural processes happen. More...

Article
National Park Service
Formation of Yosemite Valley

Formation of Yosemite Valley

The evolution of Yosemite Valley, a glacial valley in the western Sierra Nevada mountains, spans millions of years. Discover how geologic processes created this world-famous landform. More...

Article
Yosemite Online
Glacial Troughs

Glacial Troughs

As glaciers and rivers carve the land, they may create other interesting landforms: hanging valleys, waterfalls, or interlocking spurs. Find out more, including what a ribbon lake is. More...

Article
BBC
Hanging Valley

Hanging Valley

A hanging valley is a shallow valley, often carved by a small tributary glacier, that joins a larger valley. Explore this landform, and see real-life examples in Montana and New Zealand. More...

Article
University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
Rift Valley

Rift Valley

Unlike river and glacial valleys, rift valleys are created by plate tectonics. The deepest continental rift valley on Earth is in Russia. Take a look at other famous rifts and a slideshow. More...

Article
National Geographic
Valleys: Photo Gallery

Valleys: Photo Gallery

Take in these spectacular photos of valleys around the world, from Iceland to China to Borneo. See how valleys can hold lakes, rivers, rice paddies, vineyards, deserts, and wildlife-filled savannahs. More...

Images
National Geographic

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