• elevation
    It's all downhill from here.

    Photograph by Doug Pierson, MyShot

    Highs and Lows
    The Earth's highest elevation point is at the summit of Mt. Everest in Nepal. It measures 8,848 meters (29,029 feet). The Earth's lowest land elevation point is at the Dead Sea, located at the border of Israel and Jordan. Its shores have an elevation of 420 meters (1,385 feet) below sea level.

    Elevation is distance above sea level.

    Elevations are usually measured in meters or feet. They can be shown on maps by contour lines, which connect points with the same elevation; by bands of color; or by numbers giving the exact elevations of particular points on the Earths surface. Maps that show elevations are called topographic maps.

    Elevation influences climate, as well as where and how people live. Most of the worlds people live on coastal plains at elevations of 150 meters (500 feet) or less. Some cultures have adapted to higher elevations. In Tibet, a region in central Asia, people live at elevations as great as 5,334 meters (17,500 feet). Above this elevation, the climate becomes too cold for growing crops, and there is also not enough oxygen in the air to sustain human life.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    adapt Verb

    to adjust to new surroundings or a new situation.

    climate Noun

    all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.

    Encyclopedic Entry: climate
    coastal plain Noun

    low, flat land lying next to the ocean.

    Encyclopedic Entry: coastal plain
    contour line Noun

    line joining points of equal elevation.

    crop Noun

    agricultural produce.

    Encyclopedic Entry: crop
    elevation Noun

    height above or below sea level.

    Encyclopedic Entry: elevation
    oxygen Noun

    chemical element with the symbol O, whose gas form is 21% of the Earth's atmosphere.

    sea level Noun

    base level for measuring elevations. Sea level is determined by measurements taken over a 19-year cycle.

    Encyclopedic Entry: sea level
    sustain Verb

    to support.

    topographic map Noun

    map showing natural and human-made features of the land, and marked by contour lines showing elevation.

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