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Figure 8-18.-Typical contour formations. CHARACTERISTICS  OF  CONTOUR  LINES A contour line is a line of equal elevation; therefore, two  different  lines  must  indicate  two  different elevations.  So  two  different  contour  lines  cannot intersect or otherwise contact each other except at a point where a vertical or overhanging surface, such as a vertical or overhanging face of a cliff, exists on the ground Figure 8-18 shows an overhanging cliff. You can see how the segments of contour lines on this cliff are made as dotted (or hidden) lines. Aside from the exception mentioned, any point where two different contour  lines  intersect  would  be  a  point  with  two different   elevations-an   obvious   impossibility. In   forming   a   mental   image   of   the   surface configuration from a study of contour lines, it is helpful for you to remember that a contour line is a level line; that is, a line that would be formed by a horizontal plane passing through the earth at the indicated elevation. If you keep this concept of levelness in mind you can usually get the “feel” of the rise and fall of the ground as you study the contour lines on the map. A contour line must close on itself somewhere— either within or beyond the boundaries of the map. A line 8-16

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