Types of erosion - Characteristics and summary

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Erosion is the process by which the rock materials of the outermost layer change their place aided by the action of physical agents, such as water and wind, among others, and are deposited in another area. There are various examples of erosion, taking into account its causes and consequences, as well as the environment in which the erosive process occurs.

Know the different types of erosion reading this interesting article by Ecologist Verde, which explains not only the types that there are, but what exactly it is, its causes and consequences.

What is erosion and its causes

Erosion is the process of wear of the earth's surface, which includes rock, earth, sand, metals, etc., as a consequence of the action of forces of nature (such as water, wind, ice and gravity) and the transport of loose or dissolved products together with other materials from the place of origin to a different one. This wear known as erosion occurs when the rock is split and dissolved into small particles due to chemical, physical and biological processes.

Although the process itself is this, there are different types of erosion, according to different classifications, which we will see in more detail below.

Summary of erosion types

Erosion can present various forms, depending on its causes or the environment or material that is eroding, being able to differentiate into different types of erosion, such as wind, hydraulic, anthropic, gravitational and soil erosion. As a summary, we can indicate the following:

  • Wind erosion It is produced by the wind, which generally moves from areas of high pressure to others of low pressure and, with its force, carries eroded materials from one place to another.
  • Water erosion It is caused by rainwater (pluvial erosion) and water flows (river erosion), which transport worn rock particles and deposit them at a lower altitude, as well as by the movement of waves (marine or wave erosion), It has a kinetic energy that transports sand particles to other places.
  • Anthropic erosion It is that generated by human beings and their activities.
  • Glacial erosion is caused by the downward movement of blocks of glacial ice that, over time, erode the underlying rocky surface, erosion by the force of gravity, which causes the downward movement of water and particles.
  • Soil erosion it supposes the loss of their quality and can be given by the types already mentioned.

Let us now look at these examples of erosion according to their type in more detail.

Eolic erosion

Wind erosion is caused by wind and is of great importance in areas where there are strong winds and fine textured soils (such as sandy soils), affected by intensive grazing during times of drought. Wind erosion also contributes to the exposure of the soil surface, generating exposed and smooth areas on impermeable soils, which, due to the absence of a soil surface, their low permeability and their generally high concentration of salts, it is difficult to carry out a revegetation of the area.

Furthermore, wind erosion tends to be more pronounced in sandier areas (which do not retain moisture well and are not very fertile) and less important in coarse-textured cultivation areas in which more or less large aggregates are formed that are too thick and heavy to be carried by the wind, even if it is strong.

Learn more about this type of erosion by reading this other post on Wind Erosion: definition, types and examples.

Water erosion

Water plays an important role in rock erosion since it wears and transports weathered materials from one place to another and can be differentiated types of water erosion, like the fluvial, the marine and the pluvial. Water erosion can be facilitated by human activity or can occur naturally. In all cases, water from rivers, oceans and rain carry materials from their point of origin to a separate area.

  • The river erosion It can cause discoloration in the riverbed because, as it passes from the valleys to the oceans and seas, the erosive process generates a large accumulation of sediments that are deposited in new areas. Learn more about what is sedimentation with this other post.
  • Another form of water erosion is given by waves and currents (marine erosion), which erode and modify the land and generate eroded particles that are deposited and change the coastline of the area in question.
  • Finally, the rain erosion It is what causes rainwater, which increases river beds, increasing river erosion, and wears down mountain walls, as well as soils of all kinds. In addition, when there is acid rain, the wear is not only physical due to the friction of the water, but also increases wear due to chemical reactions and corrodes surfaces of all kinds.

Expand this information with this other article by Green Ecologist on water erosion: definition, types, causes and consequences.

Anthropic erosion

Anthropic erosion is that caused by human activities such as agriculture, industry, infrastructure construction, overgrazing, deforestation, transportation of people and goods, and so on. As a consequence of these actions, the loss of topsoil, so that an artificial soil is created that is highly influenced by this human activity.

Learn more about one of the most aggressive types of erosion in much of the planet today with this other post on Anthropic Erosion: what it is and examples.

Soil erosion

Soil erosion is the wear of the topsoil caused by wind, water, crops or deforestation, among other factors, and may also be erosion by temperature, gravitational, chemical, etc.

It is the process by which the vegetation that protects the soil disappears, leaving it uncovered and vulnerable to physical agents, such as precipitation that can even cause soil detachment and mudslides, with their potential harmful consequences and the release of toxic substances, such as pesticides and fertilizers that have been dumped in it on bodies of water, such as rivers and streams. Other effects derived from soil erosion is the loss of soil quality due to the loss of nutrients from organic matter, which makes it difficult for vegetation to grow there.

To learn more about it, enter this other link on What is soil erosion, its causes and consequences.

Glacial erosion

The glacial erosion It is given, as its name suggests, by glaciers, which are large accumulations of ice covered by snow, typical of mountain or coastal areas with large cliffs. If the ice base starts to melt, the glacier slides on the substrate, eroding it as it passes, as it collects materials on its way, such as grains of sand and large rocks, which are dragged, so that as it passes the bedrock erodes, apart from eroding the bedrock itself. ice and melt the glacier losing size.

If you want to know more, we recommend reading this other article on Glacier Erosion: definition, types and examples.

If you want to read more articles similar to Types of erosion, we recommend that you enter our category of Other environment.

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