What Are Endogenous And Exogenous Earth Processes?

The endogenous and exogenous processes on Earth occur because our planet is made up of many different geological processes. The forces that cause these processes come from both above and below the Earth’s surface.

The processes that are caused by forces inside the Earth are called endogenous processes. There are three main endogenous processes: folding, failure, and volcanism. They occur mainly along the boundaries of the plate, which are the areas that meet at the edges. These areas are weak. Endogenous processes cause many of the main features of the relief .

Erosion is one of the consequences of exogenous processes on Earth and gives rise to stone formations like the ones in the image.

An example of an exogenous process is erosion. Erosion occurs as a result of wind, water, ice, or people, animals, or plants digging into the Earth. Some other examples of exogenous processes are rain, snowfall, hail, tsunamis, avalanches, winds, rippling currents, etc.

It is a fact proven and established by science that the development of the Earth’s surface is mainly due to the complex interaction of atmospheric processes, rocks, ocean waters and the living surface. Rocks lifted by forces come into contact with the atmosphere and undergo a series of processes powered by the sun .

The processes that have dominated the Earth’s surface are constructive, just as it is with all of nature. The geological processes as a whole can be separated into two categories, the aforementioned endogenous and exogenous processes.

Endogenous and exogenous processes: definition and examples

Endogenous processes

Also known as hypogenic processes, they are processes of internal origin. In other words, they are processes that originate within the earth’s crust and are therefore called endogenous. These processes take place within the planet and are governed by forces inherent to the Earth and little affected by external influences.

These processes cause phenomena such as earthquakes, the emergence and development of continents, ocean valleys and mountain peaks, generation of volcanic activity, metamorphism of pre-existing rocks, deformation and displacement of the earth’s crust both vertically and laterally, and more.

The geomorphic features produced by these processes provide the stage for exogenous processes to work. All characteristics that owe their origin to an endogenous process are invariably modified by exogenous processes.

Endogenous processes are caused mainly by the thermal energy of the crust. This thermal energy derives from the decay of radioactive elements and from gravitational differentiation. Some of the most important endogenic processes are:

1- Earthquakes

It is a form of energy that comes from the movement of waves and is transmitted through the surface layers of the Earth, ranging from a weak tremor to a wild movement capable of shaking buildings and causing cracks in the ground.

2- Tectonic movements

The tectonic movement of the earth’s crust has various forms and is characterized by its great complexity. In the course of the geological history of the earth’s crust, rocks have wrinkled into folds, pushed one on top of the other, broken, etc., giving rise to mountains, peaks, ocean troughs, and other landforms.

The tectonic process that leads to raising or building portions of the Earth’s surface is called diastrophism and it is what prevents the exogenous process from ultimately reducing the land areas of the Earth to sea level.

3- Volcanism

It is the phenomenon by which matter is transferred from the interior of the Earth in the form of an eruption to the surface. It is one of the most important manifestations of the dynamic nature of the Earth.

The process by which the effusion of magmatic material on the surface forms various volcanic structures and / or flows over the surface is called volcanism.

Sometimes the magma on its way up does not reach the surface and cools to various depths giving rise to magmatic bodies of irregular shape, which are called intrusives or plutons.

The phenomenon is known as intrusive magmatism. Although intrusions are not directly responsible for topographic features, their existence in the Earth’s upper crust can greatly affect the topographic features of an area formed by exogenous processes.

Exogenous processes

It is called thus to the processes of external origin or, in other words, to the processes that obtain their energy from external sources of the Earth.

For example, the energy of the sun that causes differential heating of the atmosphere giving rise to differences in pressures, the energy of the sun that drives the hydrological cycle and involves the transfer of moisture from bodies of water to the earth’s atmosphere and from back to the ocean, etc.

Thus, exogenous processes are closely linked to the role of various external agents such as weather, wind blowing, running water, groundwater, waves and currents in water, glaciers, etc.

Since these processes are restricted to the surface of the Earth, they are called epigenic processes. These processes constitute a very complex sum of mutually dependent changes, that is, all exogenous processes are involved with each other.

Exogenous processes act on landforms to break up rocks (erosion), wear down the surface, and carve valley features.

Destruction products dislocate under the influence of the force of gravity or are blown away by blowing wind, flowing waters, moving glaciers, etc., to lower areas such as lakes, seas, the oceans and so on.

Exogenous processes tend to eliminate any unevenness on the Earth’s surface. The unevenness of the surface develops due to the movement of the crust, erosion and uneven deposition.

On the other hand, the process by which the surface irregularities of the Earth are removed and a level surface is created, is known as gradation. All grading processes are directed by gravity. These are divisible into two main categories, namely: degradation and aggravation.

Degradation is the process by which highland material is removed by geomorphic agents as a result of which altitude is reduced. The degradation of the land surface is carried out mainly through:

  • Weather resistance
  • Waste of dough
  • Erosion

Meanwhile, aggravation is the process of deposition of sediments. Under favorable conditions, when freight forwarders lose their transport power, the transported materials are deposited, sometimes at sea, sometimes on land.

Therefore, the lower reaches are gradually filled with sediment depositions by running water, groundwater, wind, glaciers, waves, currents, tides, etc.


– The dominant processes on the Earth’s surface are both constructive and destructive.

– All geological processes can be classified into two categories: endogenous and exogenous.

– Endogenous forces (earthquakes, volcanism, etc.) create disparities in the earth’s surface, while exogenous forces (waves, glaciers, wind, etc.) eliminate inequalities in the earth’s surface.

– All characteristics that owe their origin to an endogenous force are invariably modified by an exogenous force.

– Endogenous forces are caused mainly by the thermal energy of the mantle and crust. This thermal energy is derived from the decay of radioactive elements and from gravitational differentiation in the mantle.

– Exogenous forces tend to eliminate all unevenness on the Earth’s surface. As is known, the unevenness of the surface is caused by the movement of the crust, erosion and uneven depositions.


  1. What are the Two Main Geological Processes of the Development of the Surface Globe? (sf). Recovered from preservearticles.com.
  2. ENDOGENOUS AND EXOGENOUS FORCES ON THE EARTH (August 2016). Recovered from knowledge2success.com.
  3. Jensen Antony. What are the endogenous and exogenous processes in term of geology? (sf). Quora. Recovered from quora.com.
  4. Endogenous processes. (sf). Prezi. Recovered from prezi.com.
  5. Week 4 Topic: Geologic Processes on Earth. (Juno 2016). Enigmatic science. Recovered from enigmaticscience.wordpress.com.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *