Major Landforms in Europe's Different Regions

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  • 0:00 What Is a Landform?
  • 0:50 Mountains, Valleys & Canyons
  • 2:15 Rivers & Lakes
  • 4:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

After watching this video, you will be able to describe Europe's most important landforms: it's biggest mountains, rivers, valleys, canyons, and lakes. A short quiz will follow.

What Is a Landform?

A landform is any natural feature of the earth's surface. Landforms can include things like mountains, valleys, canyons, lakes, rivers, coasts, and bays. You can describe lots of things about landforms: their elevation, orientation, slope, or soil type, among others. Topographical maps are used to show landforms because they can include mountains and valleys and also tend to show rivers.

In this lesson, we're going to discuss the landforms of Europe. Europe is a huge area of land, similar in size to the U.S. There are hundreds of mountains, rivers, valleys, and lakes, so we couldn't possibly talk about them all in a single lesson. Instead, today we're going to talk about the most important ones.

Mountains, Valleys, & Canyons of Europe

The mountains of Europe are focused on certain key areas. The biggest mountain range in Europe is the Alps, found where France, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany meet, but Turkey is also home to a lot of similarly tall mountains. And smaller mountains can be found in Northern Spain (the Pyrenees), Norway, and even in Greece, Italy, and the Balkans. The three tallest mountains in political Europe are Mount Ararat in Turkey (at 16,854 feet), Mont Blanc in the Alps between France and Italy (15,782 feet), and Monte Rosa in the Swiss Alps (15,203 feet). But all of these mountains are smaller than Mount Elbrus in Russia at 18,510 feet. Western Russia is geographically in Europe, even if most Europeans don't consider Russia to be part of Europe at all.

There are also many famous valleys in Europe, including the Loire Valley in France (famous for both its castles and for the wine the region produces); the Rhone Valley, also in France, which is home to the Matterhorn; and the many valleys of the Danube River in Germany and beyond. While Europe isn't really famous for its canyons, Montenegro is home to Europe's largest: the Tara River Canyon, which is 4,265 feet deep at its deepest point and has been suggested as a possible World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Rivers and Lakes of Europe

Europe's longest river is the Blue Danube, for which the famous song was written, and has a total length of 1,780 miles. It flows from Germany, through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Romania again, before flowing into the Black Sea.

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