Forces that shape the surface of our planet

  • Exhibition Text

    • The ocean and atmosphere comprise the outer layer of the Earth and are major forces that shape its surface. They wear down mountains and redeposit them as sediments, carving the landscapes we live in. In turn, the positions of the continents and mountains, along with the heat from the Sun, determine ocean currents and atmospheric circulation. This Antarctic ventifact, a rock shaped by windblown sand, symbolizes the dynamic relationship between the atmosphere and the solid Earth.

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  • For Educators

    • Topic: Earth Science

      Subtopic: Earth Structure

      Keywords: Atmospheric circulation, Ventifact, Erosion, Atmosphere, Ocean circulation, Geology, Earth (Planet)--Surface

      Audience: General

In This Section

Wind-carved rock

Wind-carved rock

This ventifact, or wind-carved rock, from the Dry Valleys of Antarctica demonstrates how rocks can be shaped and eroded into sculpture-like forms by erosion and weathering.