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Geography topics for you to learn and enjoy

Contour patterns

contour patterns | contour lines map
contour lines
contour lines on map

These landscape features are displayed in the patterns that the contours make. If the contour lines are close together, they indicate that the land has a steep slope. If the countour lines are far apart, then they show that the land has a gentle slope. 

Geography topics for you to learn and enjoy

More contour patterns

You are able to indentify the direction a river is flowing by looking at the contour lines. Rivers always flow downhill which means that the contour lines will be decreasing in height as the river flows. On this contour pattern here of a valley, can you see which direction the river is flowing in?

valley contour lines
ridge contour line patterns

Making cross sections from contour patterns

contour lines cross section activity

This activity looks at making a cross-section of the different landscape features and identifying what the landscape feature looks like when viewed from the side. It helps illustrate the 

make a cross-section of a map

shape of the landscape feature and making a cross-section of a landscape feature is an advanced map skill. 

Class displays of different contour patterns.

class display - 3D map - plateau
showing height on maps - ridge
showing height on maps - hill

You could print multiple copies out, stick it on to card and make a 3d class display of the different landscape features that are mentioned in the pictures. Each display comes with a definition of each landscape feature to help to learn what each feature is.


Contour lines are lines on a map which join together points of equal height. They form patterns which can be interpreted to indicate the shape of the land and common landscape features like hill, ridge and valley can be seen in the patterns that the contours make. Here are some images of different landscape features that you might find depicted in the contours on maps. 
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