The histogram reveals two primary elevation groupings: the continents, several hundred meters above sea level, and the oceanic abyssal plains, roughly 4, meters below sea level. This distribution indicates that the crust of the ocean floor is fundamentally different from the continents, which has been confirmed by countless research studies. The dramatic steepening of the hypsographic curve at mountains and oceanic trenches can only be maintained by a dynamic Earth. On geologic timescales, such features would quickly erode or fill in with sediments. Coastal Hypsographic Curve. Figure 2 shows an enlarged hypsographic curve spanning the coastal zone to m elevation.
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How do I read the hypsometric curve? Reading a cumulative percent graph An introduction to the hypsometric curve The hypsometric curve from Marshak "Earth - Portrait of the Planet" 2nd ed. You may want to print a copy of the hypsometric curve to work from.
Your textbook may have a slightly different version. The hypsometric curve is the graph on the right hand side of this page. This curve is typically used to demonstrate that the Earth has two types of crust, continental and oceanic. Although there is other information on this plot, our focus is the dark red curve that crosses the plot. Note that the red line crosses the y-axis at about 6 km. How do I read the graph? Focus on the dark red curve.
Typically you will be given a value for one of these variables, and you will determine the value of the other. When you are given a percentage, read it on the horizontal axis and go up until you reach the curve.
On the other hand, when given an elevation, you draw a horizontal line to the curve, drop a line down to the bottom axis and read the percentage. This is easier to understand using an example. Now, draw a line across to the vertical axis at approximately 0. Try this on your own first with the blank hypsometric curve above. If you get stuck, you can peek at the answer below:.
Hypsographic Curve of Earth's Surface from ETOPO1
Hypsometric curve[ edit ] Hypsometric curve of Earth as a histogram. A hypsometric curve is a histogram or cumulative distribution function of elevations in a geographical area. Differences in hypsometric curves between landscapes arise because the geomorphic processes that shape the landscape may be different. When drawn as a 2-dimensional histogram, a hypsometric curve displays the elevation y on the vertical, y-axis and area above the corresponding elevation x on the horizontal or x-axis.
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