Valley

Valley

Overview

In geology
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

, a valley or dale
Dale (origin)
A dale is an open valley. The name is used when describing the physical geography of an area. It is used most frequently in the Lowlands of Scotland and in the North of England, where the term "fell" commonly refers to the mountains or hills that flank the dale.The word dale comes from the Old...

is a depression
Depression (geology)
A depression in geology is a landform sunken or depressed below the surrounding area. Depressions may be formed by various mechanisms.Structural or tectonic related:...

 with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 valley may be called a canyon
Canyon
A canyon or gorge is a deep ravine between cliffs often carved from the landscape by a river. Rivers have a natural tendency to reach a baseline elevation, which is the same elevation as the body of water it will eventually drain into. This forms a canyon. Most canyons were formed by a process of...

 or gorge.

The terms U-shaped
U-shaped valley
A U-shaped valley also known as a glacial trough is one formed by the process of glaciation. It has a characteristic U-shape, with steep, straight sides, and a flat bottom. Glaciated valleys are formed when a glacier travels across and down a slope, carving the valley by the action of scouring...

 and V-shaped are descriptive terms of geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 to characterize the form of valleys. Most valleys belong to one of these two main types or a mixture of them, at least with respect of the cross section
Cross section (geometry)
In geometry, a cross-section is the intersection of a figure in 2-dimensional space with a line, or of a body in 3-dimensional space with a plane, etc...

 of the slopes or hillsides.

A valley in its broadest geographic sense is also known as a dale.
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In geology
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

, a valley or dale
Dale (origin)
A dale is an open valley. The name is used when describing the physical geography of an area. It is used most frequently in the Lowlands of Scotland and in the North of England, where the term "fell" commonly refers to the mountains or hills that flank the dale.The word dale comes from the Old...

is a depression
Depression (geology)
A depression in geology is a landform sunken or depressed below the surrounding area. Depressions may be formed by various mechanisms.Structural or tectonic related:...

 with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 valley may be called a canyon
Canyon
A canyon or gorge is a deep ravine between cliffs often carved from the landscape by a river. Rivers have a natural tendency to reach a baseline elevation, which is the same elevation as the body of water it will eventually drain into. This forms a canyon. Most canyons were formed by a process of...

 or gorge.

The terms U-shaped
U-shaped valley
A U-shaped valley also known as a glacial trough is one formed by the process of glaciation. It has a characteristic U-shape, with steep, straight sides, and a flat bottom. Glaciated valleys are formed when a glacier travels across and down a slope, carving the valley by the action of scouring...

 and V-shaped are descriptive terms of geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 to characterize the form of valleys. Most valleys belong to one of these two main types or a mixture of them, at least with respect of the cross section
Cross section (geometry)
In geometry, a cross-section is the intersection of a figure in 2-dimensional space with a line, or of a body in 3-dimensional space with a plane, etc...

 of the slopes or hillsides.

Name


A valley in its broadest geographic sense is also known as a dale. A valley through which a river runs may also be referred to as a vale. A small, secluded, and often wooded valley is known as a dell
Dell (landform)
In physical geography, a dell is a small wooded valley. Like "dale", the word "dell" is derived from the Old English word dæl.-See also:* Cirque* Combe * Coulee* Dells of the Wisconsin River...

or in Scotland as a glen. A wide, flat valley through which a river runs is known in Scotland as a strath. A mountain cove
Cove (Appalachian Mountains)
In the central and southern Appalachian Mountains of Eastern North America, a cove is a small valley between two ridge lines that is closed at one or both ends....

 is a small valley, closed at one or both ends, in the central or southern Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

 which sometimes results from the erosion of a geologic window
Cove (Appalachian Mountains)
In the central and southern Appalachian Mountains of Eastern North America, a cove is a small valley between two ridge lines that is closed at one or both ends....

. A small valley surrounded by mountains or ridges
Ridge
A ridge is a geological feature consisting of a chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elevated crest for some distance. Ridges are usually termed hills or mountains as well, depending on size. There are several main types of ridges:...

 is sometimes known as a hollow. A deep, narrow valley is known as a coon (also spelled combe or coombe). Similar geological structures, such as canyon
Canyon
A canyon or gorge is a deep ravine between cliffs often carved from the landscape by a river. Rivers have a natural tendency to reach a baseline elevation, which is the same elevation as the body of water it will eventually drain into. This forms a canyon. Most canyons were formed by a process of...

s, ravine
Ravine
A ravine is a landform narrower than a canyon and is often the product of streamcutting erosion. Ravines are typically classified as larger in scale than gullies, although smaller than valleys. A ravine is generally a fluvial slope landform of relatively steep sides, on the order of twenty to...

s, gorges, gullies
Gully
A gully is a landform created by running water, eroding sharply into soil, typically on a hillside. Gullies resemble large ditches or small valleys, but are metres to tens of metres in depth and width...

, and kloofs, are not usually referred to as valleys.

River valleys

For a comprehensive list of world wide river valleys see: River valleys (category)

A valley formed by flowing water
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

, or river valley, is usually V-shaped. The exact shape will depend on the characteristics of the stream flowing through it. Rivers with steep gradients, as in mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

s, produce steep walls and a narrow bottom. Shallower slopes may produce broader and gentler valleys, but in the lowest stretch of a river, where it approaches its base level
Base level
The base level of a river or stream is the lowest point to which it can flow, often referred to as the 'mouth' of the river. For large rivers, sea level is usually the base level, but a large river or lake is likewise the base level for tributary streams...

, it begins to deposit sediment and the valley bottom becomes a floodplain
Floodplain
A floodplain, or flood plain, is a flat or nearly flat land adjacent a stream or river that stretches from the banks of its channel to the base of the enclosing valley walls and experiences flooding during periods of high discharge...

.

Some broad V examples are:
  • North America
    North America
    North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

    : Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
    Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
    thumb|upright|Black Canyon of the GunnisonBlack Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a United States National Park located in western Colorado, and managed by the National Park Service...

    , and others in Grand Canyon NP
    Grand Canyon National Park
    Grand Canyon National Park is the United States' 15th oldest national park and is located in Arizona. Within the park lies the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, considered to be one of the Wonders of the World. The park covers of unincorporated area in Coconino and Mohave counties.Most...

  • Europe
    Europe
    Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

    :
    • Austria: narrow passages of upper Inn valley (Inntal), affluents of Enns
      Enns River
      The Enns is a southern tributary of the Danube River, joining northward at Enns, Austria. The Enns River spans , in a flat-J-shape. It flows from its source near the towns of Gasthofalm and Flachau, generally eastward through Radstadt, Schladming, and Liezen, then turns north near Hieflau, to flow...

       a.s.o
    • Switzerland: Napf
      Napf
      Napf is a mountain on the border between the cantons of Berne and Lucerne. It is the summit of the Napfgebiet region, north of Bernese Alps.-Weather:...

       region, Zurich Oberland, Engadin
      Engadin
      The Engadin or Engadine is a long valley in the Swiss Alps located in the canton of Graubünden in southeast Switzerland. It follows the route of the Inn River from its headwaters at Maloja Pass running northeast until the Inn flows into Austria one hundred kilometers downstream...

    • Germany: affluents to the middle reaches of Rhine and Mosel
      Moselle River
      The Moselle is a river flowing through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. It is a left tributary of the Rhine, joining the Rhine at Koblenz. A small part of Belgium is also drained by the Mosel through the Our....



The original natural habitat of the human species was the large river valleys of the world, such as the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

, Tigris-Euphrates, Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

, Ganges, Amazon
Amazon River
The Amazon of South America is the second longest river in the world and by far the largest by waterflow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, etc. In prehistory
Prehistory
Prehistory is the span of time before recorded history. Prehistory can refer to the period of human existence before the availability of those written records with which recorded history begins. More broadly, it refers to all the time preceding human existence and the invention of writing...

, the rivers were used as a source of freshwater
Freshwater
Fresh water is naturally occurring water on the Earth's surface in ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, bogs, ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, and underground as groundwater in aquifers and underground streams. Fresh water is generally characterized by having low concentrations of dissolved salts and...

 and food (fish and game animals), as well as a place to wash and a sewer. The rivers carved the valleys. The valleys blocked the winds and shaded the inhabitants, creating cooler temperatures in the daytime, and warmer temperatures at night. The first civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

s grew from these river valley communities.

Vale


In geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

, a vale is a wide river valley, usually with a particularly wide flood plain or flat valley bottom. Vales commonly occur between the escarpment
Escarpment
An escarpment is a steep slope or long cliff that occurs from erosion or faulting and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations.-Description and variants:...

 slopes of pairs of chalk downs, where the chalk dome has been eroded
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

, exposing less resistant
Geological resistance
Geological resistance is a measure of how well minerals resist erosive factors, and is primarily based on hardness, chemical reactivity and cohesion. The more hardness, less reactivity and more cohesion a mineral has, the less susceptible it will be to erosion...

 underlying rock, usually clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

.

Glacial valleys


A valley carved by glacier
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

s, or glacial valley, is normally U-shaped. The valley becomes visible upon the recession of the glacier that forms it. When the ice recedes or thaws, the valley remains, often littered with small boulders that were transported within the ice. Floor gradient does not affect the valley's shape, it is the glacier's size that does. Continuously flowing glaciers – especially in the ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

 – and large-sized glaciers carve wide, deep incised valleys.

Examples of U-shaped valleys are found in every mountainous region that has experienced glaciation, usually during the Pleistocene
Pleistocene
The Pleistocene is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP that spans the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek and ....

 ice ages
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

.
Most present U-shaped valleys started as V-shaped before glaciation. The glaciers carved it out wider and deeper, simultaneously changing the shape. This proceeds through the glacial erosion processes of glaciation and abrasion
Abrasion (geology)
Abrasion is the mechanical scraping of a rock surface by friction between rocks and moving particles during their transport by wind, glacier, waves, gravity, running water or erosion. After friction, the moving particles dislodge loose and weak debris from the side of the rock...

, which results in large rocky material (glacial till) being carried in the glacier. A material called boulder clay is deposited on the floor of the valley. As the ice melts and retreats, the valley is left with very steep sides and a wide, flat floor. A river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 or stream
Stream
A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, "crick", gill , kill, lick, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, run or...

 may remain in the valley. This replaces the original stream or river and is known as a misfit stream
Misfit stream
A misfit stream is a stream that is far too small to have eroded the valley which the stream occupies. The shape of the valley may also be inconsistent with a typical valley that has been eroded by water. Generally it is reasonable to expect a valley to be in proportion with the stream that...

 because it is smaller than one would expect given the size of its valley.

Other interesting glacially carved valleys include:
  • Yosemite Valley
    Yosemite Valley
    Yosemite Valley is a glacial valley in Yosemite National Park in the western Sierra Nevada mountains of California, carved out by the Merced River. The valley is about long and up to a mile deep, surrounded by high granite summits such as Half Dome and El Capitan, and densely forested with pines...

     (USA)
  • Side valley
    Side valley
    The terms side valley and tributary valley refer to valleys whose brook or river is confluent to a greater one.Upstream, the valleys can be classified in an increasing order which is equivalent to the usual orographic order: the tributaries are ordered from those nearest to the source of the river...

    s of the Austrian river Salzach
    Salzach
    The Salzach is a river in Austria and Germany. It is a right tributary of the Inn and is 225 kilometres in length.The river's name is derived from the German word Salz, meaning "salt". Until the 19th century shipping of salt down the river was an important part of the local economy...

     for their parallel directions and hanging mouths.
  • Some Scottish glens full with bushes and flowers.
  • That of the St. Mary River in Glacier National Park in Montana
    Montana
    Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

    , USA.

Transition forms and valley shoulders



Depending on the topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

, the rock types and the climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

, a lot of transitional forms between V-, U- and plain valleys exist. Their bottoms can be broad or narrow, but characteristic is also the type of valley shoulder. The broader a mountain valley, the lower its shoulders are located in most cases. An important exception are canyons where the shoulder almost is near the top of the valley's slope. In the Alps – e.g. the Tyrolean
Tyrol (state)
Tyrol is a state or Bundesland, located in the west of Austria. It comprises the Austrian part of the historical region of Tyrol.The state is split into two parts–called North Tyrol and East Tyrol–by a -wide strip of land where the state of Salzburg borders directly on the Italian province of...

 Inn
Inn River
The Inn is a river in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. It is a right tributary of the Danube and is approximately 500km long. The highest point of its drainage basin is the summit of Piz Bernina, at 4,049 metres.- Geography :...

 valley – the shoulders are quite low (100–200 meters above the bottom). Many village
Village
A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet with the population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand , Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighbourhoods, such as the West Village in Manhattan, New...

s are located here (esp. at the sunny side) because the climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 is very mild: even in winter when the valley's floor is completely filled with fog, these villages are in sunshine
Sunlight
Sunlight, in the broad sense, is the total frequency spectrum of electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. On Earth, sunlight is filtered through the Earth's atmosphere, and solar radiation is obvious as daylight when the Sun is above the horizon.When the direct solar radiation is not blocked...

.

In some stress-tectonic regions of the Rockies
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

 or the Alps (e.g. Salzburg
Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

) the side valley
Side valley
The terms side valley and tributary valley refer to valleys whose brook or river is confluent to a greater one.Upstream, the valleys can be classified in an increasing order which is equivalent to the usual orographic order: the tributaries are ordered from those nearest to the source of the river...

s are parallel to each other, and additionally they are hanging. The brooks flow into the river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 in form of deep canyons or waterfall
Waterfall
A waterfall is a place where flowing water rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a steep region or a cliff.-Formation:Waterfalls are commonly formed when a river is young. At these times the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens...

s. Usually this fact is the result of a violent erosion of the former valley shoulders. A special genesis we find also at arête
Arete
Areté is the term meaning "virtue" or "excellence", from Greek ἈρετήArete may also be used:*as a given name of persons or things:**Queen Arete , a character in Homer's Odyssey.***197 Arete, an asteroid....

s and glacial cirques
Cirque (landform)
thumb|250 px|Two cirques with semi-permanent snowpatches in [[Abisko National Park]], [[Sweden]].A cirque or corrie is an amphitheatre-like valley head, formed at the head of a valley glacier by erosion...

, at every Scottish glen, or a northern fjord
Fjord
Geologically, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created in a valley carved by glacial activity.-Formation:A fjord is formed when a glacier cuts a U-shaped valley by abrasion of the surrounding bedrock. Glacial melting is accompanied by rebound of Earth's crust as the ice...

.

Hanging valleys


A hanging valley is a tributary
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 valley with the floor at a higher relief than the main channel into which it flows. They are most commonly associated with U-shaped valleys when a tributary glacier
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

 flows into a glacier of larger volume. The main glacier erodes a deep U-shaped valley with nearly vertical sides while the tributary glacier, with a smaller volume of ice, makes a shallower U-shaped valley. Since the surfaces of the glaciers were originally at the same elevation
Elevation
The elevation of a geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface ....

, the shallower valley appears to be ‘hanging’ above the main valley. Often, waterfall
Waterfall
A waterfall is a place where flowing water rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a steep region or a cliff.-Formation:Waterfalls are commonly formed when a river is young. At these times the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens...

s form at or near the outlet of the upper valley.
Hanging valleys are also the product of varying rates of erosion of the main valley and the tributary valleys. The varying rates of erosion are assosiated with the valleys rock composition of the adjecent rocks in the different valley locations. The tributary valleys are eroded and deepend by glaciers at a slower rate than that of the main valley floor. Thus the difference in the two valleys depth increases over time. The tributary valleys that were composed of more resistant rock then hangs over the main valley.

Valley floors


Usually the bottom of a main valley is broad – independent of the U or V shape. It typically ranges from about one to ten kilometers in width and is commonly filled with mountain sediment
Sediment
Sediment is naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of fluids such as wind, water, or ice, and/or by the force of gravity acting on the particle itself....

s. The shape of the floor can be rather horizontal
Horizontal plane
In geometry, physics, astronomy, geography, and related sciences, a plane is said to be horizontal at a given point if it is perpendicular to the gradient of the gravity field at that point— in other words, if apparent gravity makes a plumb bob hang perpendicular to the plane at that point.In...

, similar to a flat cylinder
Cylinder (geometry)
A cylinder is one of the most basic curvilinear geometric shapes, the surface formed by the points at a fixed distance from a given line segment, the axis of the cylinder. The solid enclosed by this surface and by two planes perpendicular to the axis is also called a cylinder...

, or terraced.

Side valley
Side valley
The terms side valley and tributary valley refer to valleys whose brook or river is confluent to a greater one.Upstream, the valleys can be classified in an increasing order which is equivalent to the usual orographic order: the tributaries are ordered from those nearest to the source of the river...

s are rather V than U-shaped; near the mouth waterfalls are possible if it is a hanging valley. The location of the village
Village
A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet with the population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand , Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighbourhoods, such as the West Village in Manhattan, New...

s depends on the across-valley profile, on climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 and local traditions, and on the danger of avalanche
Avalanche
An avalanche is a sudden rapid flow of snow down a slope, occurring when either natural triggers or human activity causes a critical escalating transition from the slow equilibrium evolution of the snow pack. Typically occurring in mountainous terrain, an avalanche can mix air and water with the...

s or landslide
Landslide
A landslide or landslip is a geological phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement, such as rockfalls, deep failure of slopes and shallow debris flows, which can occur in offshore, coastal and onshore environments...

s. Predominant are places on terraces or alluvial fan
Alluvial fan
An alluvial fan is a fan-shaped deposit formed where a fast flowing stream flattens, slows, and spreads typically at the exit of a canyon onto a flatter plain. A convergence of neighboring alluvial fans into a single apron of deposits against a slope is called a bajada, or compound alluvial...

s if they exist.

Historic siting of villages within the mainstem
Mainstem (hydrology)
In relation to hydrology, a main stem is "the primary downstream segment of a river, as contrasted to its tributaries". Another common term for the main stem, the final large channel of a riverine system, is the trunk. Water enters the main stem from the river's drainage basin, the land area...

 valleys, however, have chiefly considered the potential of flood
Flood
A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land. The EU Floods directive defines a flood as a temporary covering by water of land not normally covered by water...

ing.

Hollows



A hollow is a small valley or dry stream bed
Stream bed
A stream bed is the channel bottom of a stream, river or creek; the physical confine of the normal water flow. The lateral confines or channel margins, during all but flood stage, are known as the stream banks or river banks. In fact, a flood occurs when a stream overflows its banks and flows onto...

. This term is commonly used in New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

, Appalachia
Appalachia
Appalachia is a term used to describe a cultural region in the eastern United States that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York state to northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. While the Appalachian Mountains stretch from Belle Isle in Canada to Cheaha Mountain in the U.S...

, Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 and Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 to describe such geographic features, in Appalachia it may be pronounced as "Holler". Hollows may be formed by river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 valleys such as Mansfield Hollow or they may be relatively dry clefts with a notch-like characteristic in that they have a height of land and consequent water divide
Water divide
A drainage divide, water divide, divide or watershed is the line separating neighbouring drainage basins...

 in their bases.

Famous valleys





  • Aburra Valley
    Aburrá Valley
    Aburrá Valley , is the natural basin of the Medellín River and one of the most populous valleys of Colombia in its Andean Region with near 3 million inhabitants. The valley is located on the Central Range, over the Antioquian Mountain just between the Magdalean and Cauca valleys from east to west...

     (Colombia)
  • Barossa Valley
    Barossa Valley
    The Barossa Valley is a major wine-producing region and tourist destination of South Australia, located 60 km northeast of Adelaide. It is the valley formed by the North Para River, and the Barossa Valley Way is the main road through the valley, connecting the main towns on the valley floor of...

     (Australia)
  • Cauca Valley
    Cauca River
    The Cauca River is a river in Colombia that lies between the Occidental and Central cordilleras. Born in southwestern Colombia near the city of Popayán, it joins the Magdalena River near Pinillos in Bolívar Department, and the combined river eventually flows out into the Caribbean Sea. It has a...

     (Colombia)
  • Danube Valley (Eastern Europe)
  • Death Valley
    Death Valley
    Death Valley is a desert valley located in Eastern California. Situated within the Mojave Desert, it features the lowest, driest, and hottest locations in North America. Badwater, a basin located in Death Valley, is the specific location of the lowest elevation in North America at 282 feet below...

     (California), (USA)
  • Fraser Canyon
    Fraser Canyon
    The Fraser Canyon is an 84 km landform of the Fraser River where it descends rapidly through narrow rock gorges in the Coast Mountains en route from the Interior Plateau of British Columbia to the Fraser Valley...

     (British Columbia), (Canada)
  • Fraser Valley
    Fraser Valley
    The Fraser Valley is the section of the Fraser River basin in southwestern British Columbia downstream of the Fraser Canyon. The term is sometimes used to refer to the Fraser Canyon and stretches upstream from there, but in general British Columbian usage of the term refers to the stretch of the...

     (British Columbia), (Canada)
  • Glen Coe
    Glen Coe
    Glen Coe is a glen in the Highlands of Scotland. It lies in the southern part of the Lochaber committee area of Highland Council, and was formerly part of the county of Argyll. It is often considered one of the most spectacular and beautiful places in Scotland, and is a part of the designated...

     (Scotland)
  • Grand Canyon
    Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the United States in the state of Arizona. It is largely contained within the Grand Canyon National Park, the 15th national park in the United States...

     (Arizona), (USA)
  • Great Glen
    Great Glen
    The Great Glen , also known as Glen Albyn or Glen More is a series of glens in Scotland running 100 kilometres from Inverness on the Moray Firth, to Fort William at the head of Loch Linnhe.The Great Glen follows a large geological fault known as the Great Glen Fault...

     (Scotland)
  • Great Rift Valley
    Great Rift Valley
    The Great Rift Valley is a name given in the late 19th century by British explorer John Walter Gregory to the continuous geographic trench, approximately in length, that runs from northern Syria in Southwest Asia to central Mozambique in South East Africa...

     (from Jordan
    Jordan
    Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

     to Southern Africa
    Southern Africa
    Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. Within the region are numerous territories, including the Republic of South Africa ; nowadays, the simpler term South Africa is generally reserved for the country in English.-UN...

    )
  • Hell's Gate (British Columbia), (Canada)
  • Hunter Valley
    Hunter Valley
    The Hunter Region, more commonly known as the Hunter Valley, is a region of New South Wales, Australia, extending from approximately to north of Sydney with an approximate population of 645,395 people. Most of the population of the Hunter Region lives within of the coast, with 55% of the entire...

     (Australia)
  • Hutt Valley (New Zealand)
  • Indus Valley (Pakistan)
  • Iron Gate
    Iron Gate (Danube)
    The Iron Gates The gorge lies between Romania in the north and Serbia in the south. At this point, the river separates the southern Carpathian Mountains from the northwestern foothills of the Balkan Mountains. The Romanian, Hungarian, Slovakian, Turkish, German and Bulgarian names literally mean...

     (Romania/Serbia)
  • Las Vegas Valley (Nevada), (USA)
  • Little Cottonwood Creek Valley (Utah), (USA)
  • Loire Valley
    Loire Valley
    The Loire Valley , spanning , is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France. Its area comprises approximately . It is referred to as the Cradle of the French Language, and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards, and artichoke, asparagus, and...

     with its famous castle
    Castle
    A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

    s (France)
  • Nant Ffrancon (Wales)
  • Napa Valley
    Napa County, California
    Napa County is a county located north of the San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. state of California. It is coterminous with the Napa, California, Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2010 the population is 136,484. The county seat is Napa....

     (California), (USA)
  • Nile Valley (Egypt/Sudan/Ethiopia/Uganda), (Northeast Africa)
  • Okanagan Valley (British Columbia), (Canada)
  • Ottawa Valley
    Ottawa Valley
    The Ottawa Valley is the valley along the boundary between Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec along the Ottawa River. The valley is the transition between the Saint Lawrence Lowlands and the Canadian Shield...

     (Ontario/Quebec), (Canada)
  • Palo Duro Canyon
    Palo Duro Canyon
    Palo Duro Canyon is a canyon system of the Caprock Escarpment located in the Texas Panhandle near the city of Amarillo, Texas, United States. As the second largest canyon in the United States, it is roughly long and has an average width of , but reaches a width of at places. Its depth is around...

     (Texas), (USA)
  • Panjshir Valley
    Panjshir Valley
    The Panjshir Province is a valley in north-central Afghanistan, 150 km north of Kabul, near the Hindu Kush mountain range. Located in the Panjshir Province it is divided by the Panjshir River...

     (Afghanistan)
  • Upper Rhine Valley
    Rhine Valley
    The Rhine Valley is a glacial alpine valley, formed by the Alpine Rhine , i.e. the section of the Rhine River between the confluence of the Anterior Rhine and Posterior Rhine at Reichenau and its mouth at Lake Constance....

    , an old graben
    Graben
    In geology, a graben is a depressed block of land bordered by parallel faults. Graben is German for ditch. Graben is used for both the singular and plural....

     system. (France)
  • Rhone Valley from the Matterhorn
    Matterhorn
    The Matterhorn , Monte Cervino or Mont Cervin , is a mountain in the Pennine Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy. Its summit is 4,478 metres high, making it one of the highest peaks in the Alps. The four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points...

     to Grenoble and Lyon
    Lyon
    Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

     (France)
  • Rio Grande Valley
    Rio Grande Valley
    The Rio Grande Valley or the Lower Rio Grande Valley, informally called The Valley, is an area located in the southernmost tip of South Texas...

     (Texas), (USA)
  • Saint Lawrence Valley
    Saint Lawrence River
    The Saint Lawrence is a large river flowing approximately from southwest to northeast in the middle latitudes of North America, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It is the primary drainage conveyor of the Great Lakes Basin...

    , the most densely populated region of Canada. (Ontario/Quebec/New York) (Canada, USA)
  • San Fernando Valley
    San Fernando Valley
    The San Fernando Valley is an urbanized valley located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area of southern California, United States, defined by the dramatic mountains of the Transverse Ranges circling it...

     (California), (USA)
  • Shenandoah Valley
    Shenandoah Valley
    The Shenandoah Valley is both a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians , to the north by the Potomac River...

     (Virginia/West Virginia), (USA)
  • Silicon Valley
    Silicon Valley
    Silicon Valley is a term which refers to the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California in the United States. The region is home to many of the world's largest technology corporations...

    , (California), (USA)
  • Sonoma Valley
    Sonoma Valley
    Sonoma Valley is the birthplace of the California wine industry and often called The Valley of the Moon. Sonoma Valley is home to some of the earliest vineyards and wineries in the state, some of which survived the phylloxera epidemic of the 1870s and the impact of Prohibition...

    , (California), (USA)
  • South Wales Valleys
    South Wales Valleys
    The South Wales Valleys are a number of industrialised valleys in South Wales, stretching from eastern Carmarthenshire in the west to western Monmouthshire in the east and from the Heads of the Valleys in the north to the lower-lying, pastoral country of the Vale of Glamorgan and the coastal plain...

     (Wales)
  • Valley of flowers
    Valley of Flowers
    Valley of Flowers National Park is an Indian national park, nestled high in West Himalaya, is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. It is located in Uttarakhand state. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the...

     (India)
  • Valley of the Kings
    Valley of the Kings
    The Valley of the Kings , less often called the Valley of the Gates of the Kings , is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom .The valley stands on the west bank of...

     (Egypt)
  • Valley of Mexico
    Valley of Mexico
    The Valley of Mexico is a highlands plateau in central Mexico roughly coterminous with the present-day Distrito Federal and the eastern half of the State of Mexico. Surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, the Valley of Mexico was a centre for several pre-Columbian civilizations, including...

     (Mexico), also known as "El Valle de México", see Mexico City
    Mexico City
    Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

  • Valley of the Sun (Arizona), (USA)
  • Willamette Valley
    Willamette Valley
    The Willamette Valley is the most populated region in the state of Oregon of the United States. Located in the state's northwest, the region is surrounded by tall mountain ranges to the east, west and south and the valley's floor is broad, flat and fertile because of Ice Age conditions...

    , (Oregon), USA)
  • Jordan Rift Valley
    Jordan Rift Valley
    The Jordan Rift Valley is an elongated depression located in modern-day Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. This geographic region includes the Jordan River, Jordan Valley, Hula Valley, Lake Tiberias and the Dead Sea, the lowest land elevation on Earth...

     (Israel), (Jorden)

Rift valleys


Rift valleys, such as the Great Rift Valley
Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley is a name given in the late 19th century by British explorer John Walter Gregory to the continuous geographic trench, approximately in length, that runs from northern Syria in Southwest Asia to central Mozambique in South East Africa...

, are formed by the expansion of the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's crust due to tectonic
Plate tectonics
Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere...

 activity beneath the Earth's surface.

See also


  • Canyon
    Canyon
    A canyon or gorge is a deep ravine between cliffs often carved from the landscape by a river. Rivers have a natural tendency to reach a baseline elevation, which is the same elevation as the body of water it will eventually drain into. This forms a canyon. Most canyons were formed by a process of...

    , Grass valley
    Grass valley
    A grass valley is a meadow located within a forested and relatively small drainage basin such as a headwater. Grass valleys are common in North America, where they are created and maintained principally by the work of beavers. Rarely, they are associated with cienegas.The words vega and valle...

    , Stream channel
    Stream channel
    Stream channel is the physical confine of a stream consisting of a bed and stream banks.Stream channels exist in a variety of geometries. The stream channel development is controlled by both water and sediment movement. There is a difference between low gradient streams and high gradient streams...

    , Gully
    Gully
    A gully is a landform created by running water, eroding sharply into soil, typically on a hillside. Gullies resemble large ditches or small valleys, but are metres to tens of metres in depth and width...

  • Cliff
    Cliff
    In geography and geology, a cliff is a significant vertical, or near vertical, rock exposure. Cliffs are formed as erosion landforms due to the processes of erosion and weathering that produce them. Cliffs are common on coasts, in mountainous areas, escarpments and along rivers. Cliffs are usually...

    , Glacial landforms
    Glacial landforms
    Glacial landforms are those created by the action of glaciers. Most of today's glacial landforms were created by the movement of large ice sheets during the Quaternary glaciations...

    , Side valley
    Side valley
    The terms side valley and tributary valley refer to valleys whose brook or river is confluent to a greater one.Upstream, the valleys can be classified in an increasing order which is equivalent to the usual orographic order: the tributaries are ordered from those nearest to the source of the river...

  • Geography
    Geography
    Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

    , Geomorphology
    Geomorphology
    Geomorphology is the scientific study of landforms and the processes that shape them...

    , Geodynamics
    Geodynamics
    Geodynamics is a subfield of geophysics dealing with dynamics of the Earth. It applies physics, chemistry and mathematics to the understanding of how mantle convection leads to plate tectonics and geologic phenomena such as seafloor spreading, mountain building, volcanoes, earthquakes, faulting and...

    , Glaciology
    Glaciology
    Glaciology Glaciology Glaciology (from Middle French dialect (Franco-Provençal): glace, "ice"; or Latin: glacies, "frost, ice"; and Greek: λόγος, logos, "speech" lit...

  • Landform
    Landform
    A landform or physical feature in the earth sciences and geology sub-fields, comprises a geomorphological unit, and is largely defined by its surface form and location in the landscape, as part of the terrain, and as such, is typically an element of topography...

  • Geological features of the solar system
    Geological features of the solar system
    Recommendation- Geology of solar terrestrial planetsThis is a directory of lists of geological features on other planets, moons and asteroids :- Mercury :* List of craters on Mercury...


External links




Extraterrestrial valleys

  • ESA image: Vallis Alpes
    Vallis Alpes
    Vallis Alpes is a lunar valley feature that bisects the Montes Alpes range. It extends 166 km from the Mare Imbrium basin, trending east-northeast to the edge of the Mare Frigoris. The valley is narrow at both ends and widens to a maximum width of about 10 km along the middle stretch...

    , bisecting the Lunar Alps
  • Valles Marineris and Ophir Chasma, bilingual website (English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

     and German
    German language
    German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

    )