Geomorphology studies landforms, the way they are and the processes through which they come about. The processes that cause changes in the Earth's landforms can be distinguished into: fluvial, aeolian, hill-slope, glacial, tectonic, igneous, and biological. It is recognized that many of the events happening within landforms are due to a chaotic combination of phenomena, but the best way to understand it is through the various processes that shape landscapes.
Fluvial processes refer to the effect that streams and other conduits of water can have on the landscape via erosion and the deposition of sediments. Aeolian processes concern wind activity and the ability of wind to both erode the land and deposit sediments as well. Hill-slope processes are simply the forces surrounding rock fall, soil movement, or any sort of matter that slides and moves down a hill. Glacial processes pertain to the effects of glacier movement. This includes phenomena such as abrasion, plucking of underlying rock, transportation of debris, and erosion. Tectonic processes can include effects as drastic as earthquakes or as slow as tectonic plate movements such as divergence and convergence. Igneous processes are separated into volcanic (extrusive) and plutonic (intrusive) forces. Plutonic rocks can form by lava that slowly intrudes and then solidifies causing uplifting. Last but not least, biological processes pertain to all the interactions of living organisms with the landscape. This captures a vast range of activities and processes and is incredibly important.
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