Q:

What is soil erosion?

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Quick Answer

Soil erosion is a natural or artificial process where the top layers of soil are blown or washed away from wind or water. Most soil erosion is caused by natural sources like wind and rain.

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What is soil erosion?
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Full Answer

While soil erosion is natural, it can cause serious problems for human. The upper layer of soil on farms typically contain the most nutrients and is best suited for growing crops. Due to soil erosion, some farmland can become inhospitable and will not grow plants well. Soil erosion can also create large holes that can leave buildings vulnerable to damage and can create droughts if it impacts the environment.

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  • Q:

    What are types of wind erosion?

    A:

    The three main types of wind erosion are suspension, saltation and creep. Suspension is the blowing of tiny particles into the air where they may be carried for long distances, saltation is the repeated lifting and dropping of slightly larger particles, and creep is the movement of particles too large to lift along the ground. All types only occur with relatively dry, loose soils that wind can break apart.

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  • Q:

    What are examples of wind erosion?

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    According to the CK-12 Foundation, the most common examples of wind erosion are rock formation and desert varnish. Wind erosion can also affect much smaller rocks and structures, as evidenced by the desert pavement in the Mojave Desert.

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  • Q:

    What are wind and water erosion not likely to affect?

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    Wind and water erosion are least likely to affect igneous sills and cooled lava flows. Limestone, basalt and quartzite are also unlikely to undergo erosion or weathering, as are sandstone and chert. Soil and soft rocks such as clays erode very quickly without protection.

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  • Q:

    What are some ways to prevent soil erosion?

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    Soil erosion can be prevented by adding a few plants or trees where the soil typically erodes, adding fencing gullies and removing wildlife that will eat the vegetation. The eroding of the soil occurs naturally whenever there is moving water or even exposure to the wind.

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