Cross sections

Cross sections are line graphs that show a sideways view of a landscape. They can show features such as hills and valleys, or depths, such as the depth of a river.

Cross sections of hills use contour lines to determine the height of the land. Cross sections of river depths are drawn using negative numbers so that the line graph looks like depth, rather than height.

A cross-section graph is a graph coloured to look like a cross-section illustration, eg for a river, the x-axis is the width and the y-axis is the depth.

When interpreting cross sections, you should include:

  • the highest and lowest points
  • a comparison of different areas e.g. river bank compared to river bed or hillside compared to valley
  • any anomalies i.e. things that you would not expect to see