5th Grade Land Changes Vocab weathering: the breaking down of rock into smaller pieces. physical weathering: the breaking down of rock by physical forces like temperature changes, ice, and growing plant roots. (Also known as mechanical weathering.) chemical weathering: The breakdown or decomposition of rock that takes place when minerals change through chemical processes. canyon: a deep gorge in the surface of Earth formed by the erosion of moving water and sand. sand dune: a hill formed by wind blowing and depositing sand. hill: an area of raised land that is lower and more rounded on top than a mountain. mountain: a high, uplifted area with steep slopes. erosion: the gradual wearing down of something by wind, water, and other natural forces. plain: an extensive area of level, mostly tree-less, land, often covered by rich soil and tall grasses. deposition: the build-up of land by the settlement of sediment and soil in a new location. valley: a low area between mountains or hills where streams and rivers often flow. sediment: small, solid pieces of material that come from rocks or living things. glacier: a huge sheet of slow-moving ice. landform: a feature on the surface of Earth, such as a mountain, hill, dune, ocean, or river. organic: made from something that is or was living. delta: a triangular landform where a river empties into another body of water. inorganic: not made from a living thing or the remains of a living thing.