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Erosion - The Process of Eroding

Last updated date: 05th Mar 2024
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How Erosion Helps to Create Landforms

Our earth has many beautiful natural landforms which attract a ton of tourists every year. These landforms add to the beauty of the Earth. These special landforms are the result of phenomena like the movement of tectonic plates, erosion, etc. One such example is the Grand Canyon in the USA, Which is a very popular place.

In this article we are going to learn about erosion meaning, water erosion and types of erosion. The Grand Canyon is made due to erosion of water. Erosion also forms many sea stacks, sea caves, headlands and bays, arches, and other beautiful landforms. Let us study some facts about Erosion and try to understand what erosion is in detail.

Great Canyon, USA

Great Canyon, USA

Erosion Meaning

Erosion is a process in which things ( especially rocks, sediments, and soils ) break down into smaller pieces by the action of wind, water, or glacier and then transported from one place to another. So we can say that  Erosion is the movement of particles away from their source. Example – Rock is broken down into smaller pieces by rain and this is transported to another place by wind or water itself.

Erosion is caused due to the forces of wind,  water,  glaciers, and gravity,  as well as man-made causes, Like agriculture, gazing, mining, construction, etc. These forces lead to the breaking down of large materials and then transporting them to another place. The smaller particles are mostly transported in the downward direction due to gravity. 

Let us understand erosion by water, wind, and glaciers in detail.

Types of Erosion

Water Erosion 

Water erosion occurs when water carries pieces of soil or rocks themselves downhill. Water is one of the most powerful forces on earth; it causes a significant amount of erosion.  Water can cause erosion by rivers, rainfall, and floods.

Waves also carry away small pieces of material. Rivers carve a snake-like structure when they flow down the mountain while causing erosion and the great Canyon is an example of such type of Erosion,  formed by a river called the Colorado River.

Wind Erosion 

The wind is also a very powerful force and does cause erosion in mostly dry areas such as deserts. Wind transports dust and sand particles from one place to another carrying them for a huge distance before settling down. The small sand particles which are being carried up by the winds hit big rocks at high speed which gradually makes the big rocks thinner and gradually break down.

Soil Erosion

Soil Erosion 

Glaciers Erosion 

Glaciers are a body of dense ice That is formed by fallen snow. Glaciers pick up the pieces of rocks as they freeze on the bottom of the glacier and they are carried away by flowing ice which further act as cutting tools. The moment of glaciers eroded lands and mountains and caused big features on mountains due to their heavyweight.

Effects of Erosion

Since we are learning some facts about Erosion, we know that Erosion makes so many beautiful landscapes on Earth but it also has some negative effects. Let us understand them.

  1. Reduces Fertility of The Soil – Good quality soil is important for the growth of crops but when water washes away the top layer of soil there is a loss of nutrient-rich soil which leads to a decline in crop yield.

  2. Environmental Impact- Erosion can cause the deposition of sand, pesticides, and other toxic materials into rivers which increases water pollution. These sediments disrupt the habitat’s natural balance, making it difficult for fish and other aquatic animals to thrive. 

  3. Damage-  Erosion also causes natural disasters like landslides which affect the life of people, their houses, buildings, agriculture, and many other things.

Even though erosion is a natural phenomenon many human activities can speed up the rate of erosion which leads to many problems. Human activities such as deforestation, farming, and ranching have sped up erosion and caused many problems.

Prevention of Soil Erosion

Today one of the most serious problems faced by mankind is the Erosion of soil. Washing up a top layer of soil that is filled with nutrients causes low crop production and other problems. We can control soil erosion by following processes:

  • Reforestation-The best way to solve this problem is to reduce deforestation and plant more and more trees that resist wind and water from eroding the surface of the land.

  • Avoid Overgrazing- If so many animals graze at the same place then all grasses and vegetation will finish from that piece of land and  it will cause soil erosion.

  • Use Plastic Sheeting- We can place plastic covers so that if a heavy wind blows it will protect the soil from erosion.

  • Proper Drainage- If there will be a proper drainage system then there will be no water blockage on fields. This will protect the soil from erosion.


Erosion is caused due to the forces of man-made causes like agriculture, grazing, mining, construction, etc. In this article we have shown you a soil erosion diagram which is very helpful in understanding the concept. Prevention of soil erosion is also explained in this article. Erosion has many harmful effects like reduction in fertility of soil, natural disasters like landslides, etc. We should control this soil erosion by planting more and more trees and by maintaining a proper drainage system. There are different forms of soil erosion which is already explained in this article. I hope this article is beneficial for you. If you find any difficulty you ask in the comments. 

FAQs on Erosion - The Process of Eroding

1. What is permanent soil stabilization?

Permanent soil stabilization means growing of permanent vegetation at a particular place to prevent soil erosion. If the area is always covered with some different types of plants  then the soil will be holded up by the plants and hence there will be no soil erosion.

2. Slow development of soil occurs in which season?

Development of soil is a time taking process. It take years to develop a layer of soil. Climate play an important role in development of soil.  Soil develops very slowly in dry and cold climates. But the soil develops at a faster speed during warm and humid climates.

3. Is Erosion helpful or harmful to humans?

As it is said that every coin has two sides, Erosion also has some advantages and disadvantages. Although Erosion creates beautiful landforms on Earth, it washes away rotten materials in soil, it can also feed water sources with essential nutrients. On the other hand, we have also learned that Erosion causes the top layer of soil to wash away, it also degrades the water quality, etc. It is largely attributed to human misuse of land and can be overcome if land management becomes more sustainable.