Topographical features

Definitions of generic terms applied to topographical features

ANCHORAGE
Sheltered area of water suitable for anchoring.....cf. Harbour.

ARCH
Descriptive term applied to a natural rock feature.

BANK
(i) Ground, often sloping, forming the margin of a water feature.
(ii) Gently sloping ground.
(iii) Raised shelf or ground in a sea, lake or river usually covered by water.....cf. Sandbank.

BASIN
(i) Extensive depression in the earth's crust...cf. hollow.
(ii) Tract of land drained by a river system.
(iii) Area of water protected by land from severe wave action.

BAR
(i) Bank of sand, mud or shingle formed in shallow water across the mouth of a river or the entrance to a bay or harbour.......cf. shoal.
(ii) Submerged ridge of bed-rock in a water feature....cf. rock, reef.

BATTERY
Prominent shelf, platform or flat-topped hill associated with an escarpment or cliff....cf. mesa.

BAY
Indentation into the land occupied by water, generally with an opening greater than its depth of penetration....Syn. Bight....cf. Cove.

BEACH
Gently sloping shore composed of sand or shingle.

BEND
Curved portion of a watercourse, road or railway track.

BIGHT
Syn. Bay.

BLOWHOLE
Opening in the sea-shore through which air and possibly water are forced by wave action. BLUFF Cliff, headland or mountain summit with a bold and almost perpendicular front.

BOG
An area of soft, wet, spongy ground consisting chiefly of decayed or decaying vegetable matter......cf. Marsh, Swamp.

BONNET
Syn. Cap.

BOTTOM
Alluvial flat.

BRIDGE
(i) Elevated connecting link between two mountain areas.......cf. Col, Saddle.
(ii) Syn. Arch.

BONNETT
Syn. Cap.

BOTTOM
Alluvia flat.

BRIDGE
(i) Elevated connecting link between two mountain areas...cf. Col, Saddle.
(ii) Syn. Arch.

BROOK
Small watercourse.

BRUSH
Syn. Scrub......cf. Bush, Thicket.

BUSH
Uncultivated region covered with scrub and/or trees....cf. Scrub.

CANAL
Major artificial waterway......cf. Drain Race.

CANYON
Syn. Gorge.

CAP
Descriptive term applied to a mountain or hill.....Syn. Bonnet.

CAPE
Land projecting into the sea, usually marking a change in direction of the coast....Syn. Point........cf. Bluff, Headland.

CASCADE
Small waterfall or series thereof....cf. Cataract.

CATARACT
Major series of falls or rapids.....cf. Cascade.

CAVE
Natural cavity in rock. (Usually large enough to be entered by man).

CAVERN
Cave of large dimensions. (Sometimes used synonymously with cave).

CHANNEL
(i) Relatively narrow stretch of sea between two land masses and connecting two more extensive areas of sea....Syn. Passage,....cf. Narrows.
(ii) Depper or navigable part of a water feature.
(iii) Path followed by a tidal stream across an inter-tidal flat.....cf. Gut.

CHASM
Large fissure or crack in the earth's surface.

CIRQUE
Steep sided amphitheatre formed through erosion by snow or ice.

CLAYPAN
Shallow depression in clay soil retaining water after rain.

CLIFF
Very steep rock face, approaching the vertical.

COAST
Land bordering the sea....cf. Shore.

COL
Depression in a range of mountains or hills....Syn. Gap, Opening, Saddle, Pass.

CONE
Descriptive term applied to a mountain or hill....cf. Sugarloaf.

CORNER
(i) Abrupt change in direction of a road, track or water feature....cf. Bend.
(ii) Secluded place usually providing shelter.

COVE
Small inlet or bay usually providing shelter.

CRAG
Rugged peak or cliff.......Syn. Craig.

CRAIG
Syn.Crag.

CREEK
Small watercourse....cf. Rivulet, Brook.

CROSSING
Place where a watercourse, road or railway may be crossed.

CUT
Route or channel made by excavation.

DALE
Syn. Valley.........cf. Dell.

DAM
Barrier constructed to hold back water.

DELL
Small hollow or valley, usually wooded.....cf. Dale.

DELTA
Alluvial tract formed at the mouth of a river.

DEN
(i) Habitat of wild animals.....cf. Lair.
(ii) Cave, frequently a shelter cave.

DEPRESSION
Sunken place....cf. Hollow.

DIVIDE
Elevated land separating different river systems or basins ....Syn. Watershed.

DOME
Rounded hill or mountain.

DOWNS
Undulating grass-covered landscape.

DRAIN
Minor artificial waterway....cf. Canal, Race.

DUNE
Ridge or mound of sand, usually wind blown.

EDDY
Small whirlpool.

ERRATIC
Large rock transported by glacial action.

ESTUARY
Widened mouth of a river where tidal effects are evident and where mixing of river and sea water occurs.

FACE
Rock feature....cf. Cliff.

FALL(S)
Syn. Waterfall.

FELL
Bare, uncultivated, hilly and/or rocky ground within elevated terrain....cf. Moor.

FIELD
Area of open ground.....cf. Grass Meadow.

FLAT
Near level area

FORD
Shallow part of a water feature which may be crossed by wading....cf. Crossing.

FORELAND
Stretch of coastal land backed by higher ground.

FORESHORE
Syn. Shore.

FOREST
Extensive area of tree covered land.

GAP
Depression in a range of mountains or hills.....Syn. Col, Opening, Pass, Saddle.

GARDEN
(i) A delightful and pleasurable spot.
(ii) Place where people go for amusement or recreation.

GLADE
Small clearing or passage within a forest.

GLEN
Long narrow valley with steep sides, often with a water feature at the bottom.

GORGE
Deep valley with steep to vertical walls....Syn. Canyon.

GRASS
Grass covered field.........cf. Meadow.

GREEN
Grassed area generally used for recreation....cf. Grass, Field.

GROTTO
Picturesque cave.

GROUND
Area of land.

GROVE
Small wood, usually of planted trees....cf. Plantation.

GULCH
(i) Narrow, deep but relatively small valley....cf. Gully.
(ii) Narrow inlet with steep sides.....cf. Gut (ii).

GULLY
Small valley with steep banks, usually with intermittent water flow....cf. Gulch, Ravine.

GUT
(i) Natural, narrow inlet of deep water in a bank or shoal, sometimes forming a channel through it.....cf. Channel
(ii) Small gulch with a narrow or restricted entrance.

HARBOUR
Area of water containing an anchorage.

HEAD
(i) Syn. Bluff.
(ii) High ground projecting into the sea....Syn. Headland....cf. Cape, Point.

HEADLAND
Syn. Head.....cf. Cape.

HEATH
Tract of open uncultivated ground covered with small bushes....cf. Downs, Fell, Moor.

HEIGHT
Area of high ground.

HILL
Portion of the earth's surface elevated above its surroundings (usually with an elevation of less than 300 metres from foot to summit)....Syn. Hummock....cf. Knoll, Knob.

HILLOCK
Small hill.

HOLE
(i) An opening, usually the entrance to a cave.
(ii) Used synonymously with cave.
(iii) Small sheltered bay.....Syn. Cove.
(iv) Deep depression in the bed of a water feature.

HOLLOW
Small area of land depressed below its surroundings....cf. Basin, Depression.

HORN
Pyramidal peak....cf. Pyramid.

HUMMOCK
Syn. Hill

INLET
Small indentation into a coastline or shore.

ISLAND
(i) Area of land surrounded by water at mean high water....cf. Isle
(ii) An isolated area of trees or scrub surrounded by moors......cf. Bush, Scrub.

ISLE
Small island.......Syn. Islet.

ISLET
Syn. Isle.

ISTHMUS
Narrow strip of land joining two large land areas......cf. Neck.

KNOB
Prominent, isolated, rounded hill....cf. Knoll.

KNOLL
Small, rounded hill....cf. Knob.

LAGOON
(i) Enclosed body of shallow water sometimes vegetated....cf. Pond, Swamp.
(ii) Stretch of salt or brackish water partly or completely separated from the sea by a strip of land.

LAIR
Refuge or hidden place....cf. Den.

LAKE
Comparatively large body of water enclosed by land.

LANDING
Transportation transfer point.

LEAD
A route, up a cliff or mountain side, or to an area difficult of access.

LEDGE
Shelf or ridge of rock.....cf. Shelf.

LOOKOUT
Prominent hill or place providing a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

MARSH
Tract of soft, wet, vegetated land, usually low lying and at times under water.....cf. Bog, Swamp, Lagoon.

MASSIF
Mountain heights forming a compact group.

MEADOW
Area of well-watered grassy land....cf. Grass.

MESA
Flat topped hill or mountain......cf. Battery.

MOOR
Bleak stretch of land, usually elevated, covered with coarse grass or alpine vegetation....cf. Fell.

MORAINE
Ridge of material deposited by a glacier.

MORASS
Syn. Bog.....cf. Marsh.

MOUNT
Syn. Mountain.

MOUNTAIN
Mass of land elevated above its surroundings (usually in excess of 300 metres from foot to summit)....Syn. Mount.

MOUTH
Where a watercourse enters a standing body of water.

NARROWS
Contracted part of a channel or river.

NEEDLE
Pointed column of rock....cf. Pinnacle.

NECK
(i) Narrow strip of low-lying land joining two land areas...cf. Isthmus.
(ii) Small inland peninsula.

OCEAN
Extensive area of sea separating two or more of the Continents,

OPENING
(i) Syn. Gap, Col, Pass, Saddle.
(ii) Open ground in an area of dense vegetation.

PASS
(i) Relatively accessible route through a mountain barrier ....Syn. Co., Opening.
(ii) Syn. Passage, Channel .

PASSAGE
Syn. Channel.....cf. Narrows, Gut.

PATCH
Syn. Shoal.

PEAK
Mountain or hill with a prominent pointed summit.

PENINSULA
Area of land almost surrounded by water.

PIMPLE
Small but prominent hill or rock with steep sides.

PINNACLE
High peak or point of rock.

PIT
Depression with very steep to vertical walls.

PLAIN
Extensive area of level or gently undulating land, often of low altitude.

PLANTATION
Area of planned cultivation of trees...cf. Grove.

PLATEAU
Extensive area of elevated land characterised by low relief.

POINT
(i) Protruding end of a ridge or spur.
(ii) Syn. Cape.

POND
Small, shallow lake, either natural or artificial in origin.

POOL
(i) Small body of still water....cf. Pond.
(ii) Still body of deep water in a watercourse.

PORT
(i) Town or place possessing a harbour.
(ii) Syn. Harbour.

POT
Syn. Pothole.

POTHOLE
(i) A vertical opening giving access from the surface to a cave system......Syn. Pot.
(ii) Cave system characterised by such an opening.

PROMONTORY
Syn. Headland.

PYRAMID
Descriptive term applied to a hill, rock or small island...cf, Horn, Cone, Peak, Sugarloaf.

QUOIN
Hill which in profile resembles a wedge having opposing slopes with markedly different angles.

RACE
Minor artificial waterway....cf. Canal, Drain.

RANGE
Line of hills or mountain ridges.....cf. Ridge.

RAPID
Disturbed water-flow in a watercourse caused by local steepening or contraction of the bed, usually associated with a rocky, boulder-strewn bed.

RAVINE
Long narrow, steep-sided valley....cf. Canyon, Gorge, Gulch, Gully.

RAZORBAK
Sharp-crested ridge.

REACH
(i) Stretch of water in a watercourse terminated by either rapids, waterfalls or bends.
(ii) Part of a channel or lake between bends.

REEF
Area or ridge of rocks usually exposed at low tide.

RESERVOIR
(i) Artificial water storage.
(ii) Body of water artificially stored....cf. Pond.

RESURGENCE
Re-appearance at the surface of an underground watercourse (commonly found in areas of soluble rocks such as limestone)...cf. Spring, Rising.

RIDGE
(i) A narrow hill-top or chain of hills.....cf.Range, Razorback.
(ii) Syn. Spur.

RIP
An area of water subject to strong currents.

RISE
Syn. Slope.

RISING
Syn. Spring....cf. Resurgence.

RIVER
Watercourse of substantial dimensions, usually occupying a channel of natural origin...cf. Rivulet, Creek.

RIVULET
Small river....cf. Creek.

ROAD(S)
Open anchorage for ships, sufficiently sheltered to give protection from heavy seas....Syn. Roadstead.

ROCK
(i) Prominent rocky outcrop. (ii) Isolated outcrop of bedrock rising above, or close to, water level....cf. Reef.

SADDLE
Broad gap in a range of hills or mountains.....cf. Col, Opening, Pass.

SALTPAN
Shallow basin where salt has been deposited.

SCARP
Steeply sloping face of hill....Syn. Escarpment.

SCREE
Apron of rocky debris at the base of a steep slope or cliff.

SCRUB
Area vegetated by a dense cover of low-growing shrubs and/or stunted trees.

SEA
Large expanse of salt water.

SHELF
Strip of near horizontal mountain terrain delimited by steeper slopes, both above and below...cf. Ledge.

SHELTER
Syn. Shelter Cave.

SHELTER CAVE
Small cave, wholly within reach of daylight but protected from the elements by an overhanging roof or cliff.

SHOAL
Area of sand or shingle just below the surface of the water at low water....cf. Bank. (iii)

SHORE
Land bounding a water feature...cf. Coast.

SIDELING
Oblique traverse across steep ground.

SINKHOLE
Depression, usually circular or oval in plan, associated with areas underlain by soluble rocks.

SLOPE
Area of inclined ground....Syn. Rise.

SOAK
Small area of saturated ground....cf. Bog, Marsh, Swamp.

SOUND
(i) Passage between two sea areas.
(ii) Arm of the sea or large inlet.

SPIT
Narrow, low-lying tongue of sand and/or shingle, projecting into the sea or across a coastal inlet.

SPRING
Natural flow of water from rock or soil onto the land surface or into a body of surface water....Syn. Rising....cf. Resurgence.

SPUR
Ridge projecting from the main mass of a hill or mountain.

STACK
Rocky islet with steep to vertical sides.

STRAIT
Narrow stretch of water connecting two extensive water bodies....cf. Channel (i) Passage.

STREAM
Course of running water occupying a definite channel......cf. watercourse.

STREAMSINK
Syn. Swallet.

SUGARLOAF
Conical shaped hill...cf. Cone

SWALLET
Point at which a surface watercourse disappears underground (usually into a soluble rock such as limestone)...Syn. Streamsink....cf. Sinkhole.

SWASHWAY
Bar over which the sea washes.

SWAMP
Tract of vegetated, low-lying land which is permanently saturated...cf. Bog, Marsh, Soak.

TARN
Small mountain lake (usually in glaciated country) ....cf. Pond, Pool.

THICKET
Small group of closely set trees and dense undergrowth .... cf. Wood.

TIER
(i) Long ridge or escarpment with prominent steep to vertical slopes.
(ii) Hill or Mountain mass of stepped or shelving formation.

TOP
Syn. Hill.

TOR
An isolated mass of rock, frequently rounded, (a common feature of granite and dolerite rock types).

TOWER
An isolated hill with near vertical sides.

VALE
Broad, open valley.

VALLEY
Markedly elongated depression in the earth's surface, often containing a watercourse.

WATERFALL
The near vertical descent of the water flow in a watercourse....cf. Rapid, Cataract.

WATERHOLE
(i) Depression in the bed of a watercourse usually occupied by water.
(ii) Natural or artificial depression where water collects.

WATERSHED
(i) Syn. Divide.
(ii) The line of demarcation between opposing rises...cf. Ridge.

WELL
(i) A spring or fountain source of water often mineral.
(ii) A shaft or hole sunk in the ground for collecting water.

WHIRLPOOL
Circular eddy in the sea or river.

WOOD
Small forest....cf. Thicket.

Contact

Nomenclature Board (Secretary)
134 Macquarie Street
HOBART TAS 7000
Phone: 03 6165 4444
Email: nomenclature.office@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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