Five Types of Erosion: Basic Guide

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5 Types of Erosion

Erosion is a natural process in which the Earth’s surface is worn away by wind, soil, or other geological occurrences. Erosion is responsible for many magnificent rock formations around the world, like Pigeon’s Rock in Lebanon, or in Meteora, Greece. There are five main types of erosion, all capable of reducing mountains to molehills during the span of a few years, or a few centuries.

The first, and most common type, is water erosion. Erosion by water can occur in two ways, through the chemicals in the water itself breaking down weak rocks (limestone and chalk), or by the sheer force of water carving away chunks or rock, and those chunks eroding each other.

Wind erosion is less common, only affecting areas with wide, open spaces, like deserts. Wind erosion can either pick up small rocks or grains of sand, and carry them off. The small pieces can also hit other land forms, shaping their form as well.

In the mountains, there is slow moving glacial erosion, occurring over the span of thousands of years to move huge chunks and boulders. Glacial ice picks up everything, including sediment and water, and its increasing size is directly proportional to the force of erosion. Glacial erosion is the most noticeable in glacial mountains, such as the Athabasca Ice fields.

Coastal erosion, also thought of as erosion done by waves, is crucial in shaping our beaches. Salts and other chemicals within the sea erode create cracks within rocks. The intense air pressure within the cracks breaks them, and are also smashed up against the shore, for further erosion.

Finally, the biggest “crop waster” in today’s farming is soil erosion. When trees are cut down, their roots are removed as well, loosening the fertile soil and making it prone to erosion. During floods or windy weather, the fertile topsoil is carried away, leaving the land barren and useless.

Works Cited:
What Are the Different Types of Erosion." What...
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