Q:

What are some water erosion facts?

A:

Water erosion occurs when moving water carries away bits of rock and dirt. There are four types of water erosion: sheet erosion, rill erosion, gully erosion and bank erosion. All of these depend on the type of land being moved by water. This type of erosion creates valleys, canyons, shorelines and cliffs.

Sheet erosion moves soil from raindrop splashes and runoff water. This occurs evenly and over a gradual slope. Rill erosion concentrates in a small dip in the landscape and causes a well-defined channel. Gully erosion expands a rill over time to form a large rift in land. Bank erosion occurs due to the natural flow of streams and rivers.

Streams and rivers erode land in three ways based on the water's velocity. They erode soil by carrying sediment away from their original locations, dissolving ions in hard sediments and striking bedrock with fast-moving particles. Hydraulic action of the water picks up small particles and carries them downstream. These fast-moving particles gradually chip away at bedrock, causing even more erosion.

The process of water erosion in the United States moves 4 billion tons of soil every year. One rainstorm can wash away 5 tons of soil per acre. As much as $20 billion is spent annually to replace soil nutrients lost due to erosion.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How does running water cause erosion?

    A:

    Running water causes erosion through friction. Additionally, running water can carry dust, silt or sand particles, which may also work to erode a given surface. Typically, water erodes surfaces in one of four ways.

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  • Q:

    What are wind and water erosion not likely to affect?

    A:

    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 is erosion?

    A:

    Erosion is a natural process in which rocks or soil are moved from one location to another by wind or water. Material may move through erosion for distances ranging from a few feet to thousands of miles. Erosion often is most noticeable along shorelines, but it occurs in a variety of areas throughout the world.

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  • Q:

    What causes erosion?

    A:

    Erosion is a process that causes the soil surface to wear out; geological erosion is caused naturally by water, wind or gravity, and accelerated erosion is caused by human use of land. Geologists estimate that 70 percent of soil erosion is caused by human activities like excessive construction, agriculture, surface mining and forestry.

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