Slope 101

The Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) recognizes two etymological origins of the term costs, which gives rise to two different meanings. On the one hand, costs can come from the Latin costa ( “side” ) while, on the other hand, the word can derive from quaestus (linked to the action of negotiating ).

In the first case, a slope can be a type of relief that is in decline. In this way, a declination or slope is created. For example: “The man stumbled and rolled down the slope, suffering multiple fractures in his limbs”, “Be careful with Manuel, do not let him get close to the slope”, “To get to the shelter, we have to walk two hours uphill ”.

The slope arises as a result of erosion in the parts of the sedimentary land whose layers have a slight inclination. In its front part you can see a slope (also called pedrero, it is an accumulation of broken stone fragments) and on the other side, a hillside with a moderate slope. A well-known slope is the Niagara Escarpment in North America.

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In order for a slope to form, there must first be a sedimentary basin with layers that alternate between hard and soft, and that all have a slight inclination. Erosion molds these layers transversely with respect to the direction of their slope and thus a relief is formed that is characterized by the slope and slope mentioned above.

The slope at the front of the slope rises above the depression that erosion excavates in the underlying soft layer, and is crowned by a hard layer that resembles a cornice. On its reverse, the slope is shown as a plateau with a slight slope in the opposite direction to the slope. Valleys that descend in this direction are classified as cataclinals, while those that descend in the direction of the front are called anaclinals.

Watercourses running down a cataclinal slope carve out a new valley; the perpendicular tributaries, for their part, produce orthoclinal or subsequent valleys.

Sometimes, the front of a slope is more resistant to erosion and when it recedes due to its effect, it leaves an island hill (also known as witness hill ), which tops off the hard rock found on the back. In a basin it is possible to find a series of slopes. When the slope of the land is very strong, the English term hogback (whose literal meaning is pork loin ) is used to name them.

The use of the term costs can also be symbolic. It can be played with the idea of ​​going up a hill as something difficult, while things that are going downhill are those that seem to collapse or fall quickly: “We started the game losing by ten points, which made the process difficult for us. up”, “I thought I had everything well thought out, but the first setback made the business go downhill”.

As threatening as an uphill may seem in a symbolic sense, it also promises a great reward to those who manage to climb it and overcome all the dangers that it hides along its slope. In the same way, the downhill can generate vertigo, but it is up to us to find the balance to avoid it and return to the plain.

If we link the term to the second etymological origin that we mentioned, the cost or cost is the request for a donation with a charitable purpose: “The last cost has allowed us to raise thousands of pesos for orphaned children”, “The question of the Life Association Healthy was key to the construction of a first aid room in the neighbourhood”, “There is little left for the Christmas hill to begin : we await your help”.


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