What are endogenous forces

What are exogenous & endogenous forces? enlightenment

The exogenous and endogenous forces are encountered in the scientific field of geology. They can be discussed in school lessons, but geologists come into contact with them more often. But what exactly can be imagined by the terms 'exogenous' or 'endogenous'? And what do they do on earth? The answer to the question can be found in the text below.

What are exogenous forces?

The first syllable 'ex-' has its origins in Latin and means 'out of' or 'out'. This is an essential characteristic of exogenous forces, because they are directed "from outside" onto the earth. This category includes influences such as bodies of water, storms or ice masses.

Rocks are deformed by these forces, sometimes also reduced in size. How the change happens depends on the regional climate. In desert areas the external influences are physical, in countries with high precipitation they are chemical.

The physical changes are caused by weather-related circumstances. Varying temperatures are one example. They make rocks more porous in rocks, so that they are affected over time.

In terms of chemical influences, moisture from rain plays an elementary role. Decomposition takes place when wet and metallic ground meet. Salts and boulders are also modified in their structure by moisture.

What are endogenous forces?

The endogenous forces represent the counterpart to the previously defined exogenous influences. Similar to the first case, a derivation can also be made here: The word 'endogenous' was taken from the Greek language and means something like 'from within'. Endogenous forces thus arise in the earth's core and ultimately interact with the exogenous counterpart.

Endogenous influences are considered to be the cause of earthquakes, and volcanic activities and the formation of mountains can also be traced back to these forces. The geological plates are mobilized by the action from the inside out. There are three different types of plate displacement:

  • The plates relate to each other constructively. They move in two different directions without coming into contact with each other.
  • In the destructive variant, the plates touch and rub against each other, which can lead to earthquakes.
  • In the third case there is contact between the plates, but there is no friction. They move along each other.


The earth's surface receives its characteristic shapes through the exogenous and endogenous forces. Exogenous influences act on the earth from outside, with endogenous forces it is the opposite. They emerge from the core of the earth and shape the continental surface from within.

Exogenous forces cause earth erosion by weathering the rock. The endogenous counterpart is responsible for the mobility of the tectonic plates. The plate movements form mountain ranges, active volcanoes or earthquakes.