A map line connecting points representing places on the earth's surface that have the same elevation. It thus locates the intersection with the earth's surface of a plane at any arbitrary elevation parallel to the datum plane. Contours represent the vertical, or third, dimension on a map, which has only two dimensions. They show the shape and size of physical features such as hills and valleys. A depression is indicated by an ordinary contour line except that hachures, or short dashes, are used on one side and point toward the center of the depression.
Source: Leet, L. Don. 1982. Physical Geology, 6th Edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall
 











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