What Is A Nubbin In Geography?

Nubbins of Karlu Karlu, Austrlia.
Nubbins of Karlu Karlu, Austrlia.

The term nubbin usually refers to objects that are smaller than other objects of the same kind. In geography, the term nubbin refers to a small hill that is surrounded by eroded blocks of rock. The blocks are formed from weathering of the bedrock layer surrounding the nubbin. Geologists believe that weathering is one of the main ways that result in the formation of a nubbin. Nubbins have some unique characteristics that distinguish them from similar geological features such as bornhardts and castle koppies. One of the main distinguishing characteristics of nubbins is that they appear in groups. Despite the differences between the three geological features, geologists believe that they are formed through a similar process.

Location of Nubbins

Nubbins are common in regions that experience monsoon and tropical climates. Countries such as Namibia, the United States, Australia, and South Africa have nubbins. In the US, nubbins are common in the southwestern region of the country while in Australia nubbins can be found in the MacDonnell Ranges which are situated in the nation's central region.

Formation of Nubbins

Weathering and Erosion

Over time, weathering and erosion of rock features can result in the formation of nubbins. Nubbins emerge due to the difference in the hardness of the different parts of the rock. Over time, due to the impact of the elements, the softer parts of the rocks fade away, and the harder parts are left exposed to the elements. Since the harder part is more resistant to erosion and weathering, it is left relatively higher than the surrounding features forming a small hill referred to as a nubbin.

Water Currents

Over time, water currents can result in the formation of nubbins. As water flows over a region, loose soil particles are carried away, and the softer rocks get eroded. After the softer rocks get eroded the harder rocks get exposed to the water currents. As the water current continues to flow, the harder rock is left higher than the surrounding region forming a nubbin. If the water dries up, the nubbin is usually left exposed.

Degradation of Other Physical Features

Nubbins can be formed as a result of degradation of other physical features such as bornhardts. Over time, bornhardts have been known to degrade and form other geological features, and one of the features formed is the nubbin. Bornhardts degrade due to the action of elements such as wind and rain that erode the stones that form the feature. Nubbins formed from such a process usually take a long time to emerge due to the length of time required for the process to be completed.

Importance of Nubbins

Nubbins have great geological importance since studying them allows geologists to understand the geological events that occurred in an area. Nubbins can also be a good spot to host picnics due to their location which is usually considered picturesque.


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