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An escarpment is a steep slope or long cliff that forms as an effect of faulting or erosion and separates two relatively leveled areas having differing elevations. Usually escarpment is used interchangeably with scarp. Some sources differentiate the two terms, however, where escarpment refers to the margin between two landforms, while scarp is synonymous with a cliff or steep slope.[1][2] The surface of the steep slope is called a scarp face. This (escarpment) is a ridge which has a gentle (dip) slope on one side and a steep (scarp) slope on the other side.

Contents

1 Formation and description 2 Erosion
Erosion
of escarpments 3 Significant escarpments

3.1 Africa 3.2 Antarctica 3.3 Asia 3.4 Australia
Australia
and New Zealand 3.5 Europe 3.6 North America 3.7 South America

4 See also 5 References

Formation and description[edit] Scarps are generally formed by one of two processes: either by differential erosion of sedimentary rocks, or by vertical movement of the Earth's crust
Earth's crust
along a geologic fault. Most commonly, an escarpment is a transition from one series of sedimentary rocks to another series of a different age and composition. Escarpments are also frequently formed by faults. When a fault displaces the ground surface so that one side is higher than the other, a fault scarp is created. This can occur in dip-slip faults, or when a strike-slip fault brings a piece of high ground adjacent to an area of lower ground. More loosely, the term scarp describes the zone between coastal lowlands and continental plateaus which have a marked, abrupt change in elevation caused by coastal erosion at the base of the plateau.

Schematic cross section of a cuesta, dip slopes facing left, and harder rocklayers in darker colors than softer ones.

Earth is not the only planet where escarpments occur. They are believed to occur on other planets when the crust contracts, as a result of cooling. On other Solar System
Solar System
bodies such as Mercury, Mars, and the Moon, the Latin term rupes is used for an escarpment.

Shaded and colored image from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission—shows an elevation model of New Zealand's Alpine Fault running about 500 km (300 mi) long. The escarpment is flanked by a chain of hills squeezed between the fault and the mountains of New Zealand's Southern Alps. Northeast is towards the top.

Erosion
Erosion
of escarpments[edit] When sedimentary beds are tilted and exposed to the surface, erosion and weathering may occur. Escarpments erode gradually and over geological time. The mélange tendencies of escarpments results in varying contacts between a multitude of rock types. These different rock types weather at different speeds, according to Goldich dissolution series so different stages of deformation can often be seen in the layers where the escarpments have been exposed to the elements. These varying levels of erosion can lead to strange features forming in the exposed rock. Significant escarpments[edit] Africa[edit]

Elgeyo escarpment (Great Rift Valley) God's Window
God's Window
(South Africa) Great Escarpment, Southern Africa Bandiagara Escarpment
Bandiagara Escarpment
(Mali) Zambezi Escarpment (Zambia) East coast, (Madagascar)

Antarctica[edit]

Usas Escarpment

Asia[edit]

Vindhya Range
Vindhya Range
(India) Western Ghats
Western Ghats
(India) Tuwaiq
Tuwaiq
(Saudi Arabia) Wulian Feng
Wulian Feng
(China)

Australia
Australia
and New Zealand[edit]

Australia

Great Escarpment, Australia Darling Scarp Dorrigo Plateau Illawarra Escarpment Nullarbor Escarpment

New Zealand

The western slope of the Southern Alps (along the Alpine Fault) The Kaimai escarpment, above the Hauraki Plains The Paekakariki
Paekakariki
escarpment between Paekakariki
Paekakariki
and Pukerua Bay (with`State Highway One and the North Island Main Trunk).

Europe[edit]

England

Cotswold escarpment Chiltern escarpment North Downs South Downs A common placename denominating an escarpment in England is "edge" as in

Alderley Edge Edge Hill famous as the place of the first battle of the English Civil War. Kinver Edge The Lincoln Edge Stanage Edge Wenlock Edge

France

La Côte d'Or is famous for its wines and has given its name to a département, Côte-d'Or. Le Pays de Bray, a clay vale enclosed by chalk escarpments.

Sweden, Estonia and Russia

Baltic Klint Gotland–Saaremaa Klint South Småland-Sub-Cambrian escarpment[3]

Malta

Victoria Lines

Wales

Black Mountain
Mountain
(range) Black Mountains, Wales Pen y Fan

The Sierra Escarpment
Escarpment
in California.

North America[edit]

At the Florida
Florida
Escarpment, seen in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the sea bed drops precipitously from less than 300 to 3,000 m (1,000 to 10,000 ft) over a short distance.

Florida
Florida
Escarpment, Gulf of Mexico Sigsbee Escarpment, Gulf of Mexico Canada and the United States

Pembina Escarpment
Pembina Escarpment
(Manitoba, North Dakota) Niagara Escarpment
Niagara Escarpment
(Ontario, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin) Eardley Escarpment
Escarpment
(Mattawa Fault, Gatineau Park, Quebec) Onondaga (geological formation)
Onondaga (geological formation)
( Ontario
Ontario
and New York) Devil's Rock
Devil's Rock
(Lake Temiskaming, Ontario) Scarborough Bluffs
Scarborough Bluffs
(Toronto, Ontario)

United States

Devil's Slide (Northern California) Allegheny Front
Allegheny Front
(Pennsylvania-Maryland-West Virginia) Balcones Fault
Balcones Fault
(Texas) Bergen Hill
Bergen Hill
(New Jersey) Blue Ridge Escarpment
Blue Ridge Escarpment
(South Carolina-Georgia) Book Cliffs
Book Cliffs
(Utah-Colorado) Caprock Escarpment
Caprock Escarpment
(Texas) Catskill Escarpment
Catskill Escarpment
(New York) Cody Scarp
Cody Scarp
(Florida) Elkhorn Scarp (San Andreas Fault) Helderberg Escarpment
Helderberg Escarpment
(New York) Hell's Half Acre (central Wyoming) Highland Rim
Highland Rim
encircling the Nashville Basin
Nashville Basin
(actually a geologic dome) in Middle Tennessee Knobstone Escarpment (Southern Indiana) Mescalero Ridge
Mescalero Ridge
(New Mexico) Missouri Escarpment (North Dakota) Mogollon Rim
Mogollon Rim
(Arizona) Muldraugh Hill (Kentucky) Pine Ridge ( Nebraska
Nebraska
and South Dakota) Pottsville Escarpment (Kentucky-Tennessee; see Cumberland Plateau) Sierra Nevada range (eastern slope) in California Portage Escarpment
Portage Escarpment
(Ohio) Potrero Hills in Richmond, California

The Caribbean

Bahamas
Bahamas
Escarpment
Escarpment
(Bahamas)

South America[edit]

Brazil

Great Escarpment, Brazil

Serra do Mar
Serra do Mar
(São Paulo)

Serra da Mantiqueira
Serra da Mantiqueira
(São Paulo, Minas Gerais
Minas Gerais
and Rio de Janeiro)

See also[edit]

Cuesta Fall line List of scarps on Mercury Rupes

References[edit]

^ Easterbrook, D. J. (1999) Surface processes and landforms. (Second Ed). Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. ^ Summary: Escarpments, US Army Corps of Engineers. ^ Lidmar-Bergström (1988). "Denudation surfaces of a shield area in southern Sweden". Geografiska Annaler. 70 A (4): 337–350.  access-date= req

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