Introduction to Sheet Erosion

The removal of the soil surface in thin layers due to rainfall is sheet erosion. It happens when rainwater carries away the soil particles that do not seep into the ground. 


In the notes, Vedantu has provided you with a detailed explanation about sheet erosion and its different types. Also, geography experts have given more information about the causes of sheet erosion. Students can learn more about the topic from Vedantu online class for geography, where they learn smartly with 3-D examples of the concepts.

Vedantu Notes on Sheet Erosion

Vedantu offers you unique content that helps you strengthen your knowledge and engage with indefinite new examples, also easing the process to retain the lessons for a long duration. Various subject matter experts for geography have made these resources to assist you in your preparation. 


Experts of geography have made sure to provide you with easy notes on Sheet Erosion, with examples and scenarios that carry the process of sheet erosion in our surroundings, for instance, rainwater. From the notes, students will learn clear definitions of the different types of sheet erosion and various causes of sheet erosion.

Different Types of Sheet Erosion

Students often find it hard to remember the different types of topics, and to bring you out of this mud, experts have crafted easy notes on sheet erosion and its types. Types of sheet erosion are:

  • Rill Erosion

  • Gully Erosion

  • Streambank Erosion

Learn Causes of Sheet Erosion with Vedantu

Vedantu not only provides definitions of various terms and types of the particular topic to the students. It also provides a complete explanation of the causes of a process. It helps students understand a concept clearly and its role.


In the notes, experts have explained the causes of sheet erosion in a detailed manner. Also, Students will know about the effect of sheet erosion in different parts of India and how it is a concerning problem for the people who live in hilly terrain.

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More on Sheet Erosion

Sheet erosion or also commonly known as sheet wash can be defined as the washing off the soil surface in thin layers as a result of rainfall. Soil erosion occurs in a wide area mostly in the coastal and flood-prone areas. It has also been found in hillslopes and beaches. The amount of damage caused by sheet erosion mainly depends on the amount of rainfall and force of the wind. 


Here, we have provided a piece of detailed information on which explains sheet erosion and the major causes of sheet erosion.


The sheet erosion definition provided by us will thus help the students be familiar with the process of erosion and can also be referred for their exam preparation.|

Types of Sheet Erosion

The occurrence of sheet flow or erosion in flood-prone areas and coastal plains have become common these days. Any form of irregularity and unevenness may be more prone to sheet erosion. Sheet erosion is commonly found in unconsolidated soils such as bare grounds, newly ploughed soils and beaches. 


Some of the major types of sheet erosion that takes place every year are - Rill Erosion, Gully Erosion and Streambank Erosion. Among all the four types of erosion, sheet and rill erosion causes more damage to the soil. 

Rill Erosion and Gully Erosion

Rills can be defined as the drainage lines which are shallow and are not more than 30 cm deep. They are often formed in sunken water lands and depressions and commonly cause erosion in lands with loose soils. For example, agricultural soils, newly cultivated soils and overgrazed soils. Rill erosion is an intermediate stage between sheet and gully erosion and can be reduced by decreasing the water speed and volume with the help of contour drains and grassed waterways. Removal of these Rills can be made easy by the process of farm machinery.


Gully erosion, on the other hand, causes lesser soil erosion but may contribute to a greater loss of soil leading to collapsing of sidewalls if the rill erosion is not controlled properly on time. These gullies can be defined as channels that are deeper than 30cm which are formed as a result of small water flow. 


Streambank erosion can be defined as the type of sheet erosion that leads to the loss of soil from the river banks and causes the degradation of banks along the side of the rivers and streams. This type of erosion occurs when a high speed or current of water washes away the land after heavy rainfall.

Major Causes of Sheet Erosion

A major portion of agricultural land and vegetation gets eroded every year due to this soil erosion process. Sheet flow or sheet erosion has become common now-a-days in most of the coastal and hilly areas. As such it not only causes damage to the land but also hampers the cultivation process. Some of the major causes of erosion are discussed below:

  • Annual flood has been on top causes of soil erosion every year. The areas that experience heavy rainfall and fall under flood-prone areas are more susceptible to sheet erosion.

  • The thickness of the raindrops and wind force also plays a major role in sheet erosion. The pressure applied on the ground due to the falling raindrops, causes the thin layers of soil to wash away easily with the rain. 

  • Uneven or loose soils are more prone to erosion. We must make sure that the cultivated lands are not too loose, as it gives rise to rill erosion and gully erosion. The damages caused by sheet and gully erosion are huge leading to sidewall collapsing and agricultural loss.

  • A large amount of deforestation has also resulted in the loss of soil due to sheet erosion. Since, trees hold a high water holding capacity, cutting down of trees results in loosening of the soil and waterlogging. As such, the layers of the soil can be easily washed away by rain.

  • Therefore, sheet erosion has been a major problem in India today and has greatly affected the cultivation and agriculture of the country. A huge amount of crop lands are affected every year by the sheet erosion process resulting in loss of vegetation. Hence, this article on sheet erosion has been provided to help them get a clearer concept on sheet erosion meaning and causes.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can heavy rain cause sheet erosion?

Yes, heavy rain does cause sheet erosion when the excess water does not infiltrate into the soil. Sheet erosion occurs when heavy rain knocks soil particles, and accumulated water on the ground flows with it. In flood-prone areas, sheet erosion is the influential cause of landslides. Vedantu has explained the causes of sheet erosion in a detailed manner; you can read it on any device without paying any amount. Also, you can explore different concepts linked with the topic on our website or download the Vedantu learning app.

2. How can sheet erosion affect cultivated lands?

Sheet erosion is nothing but the displacement of the soil layer due to the rainwater. It affects cultivated land more because the soil particles are loosely attached, and when heavy rain falls on the cultivated soil, water does not get infiltrated into the ground. Also, it causes the productivity of soil that reflects in the reduced crop production of the crop. You can learn more about sheet erosion from Vedantu geography experts, join the Vedantu pro class and make yourself aware of the effects of sheet erosion.

3. How does sheet erosion prevail due to deforestation?

Deforestation is the process of cutting forest trees, and trees hold soil tighter to them. The roots of the trees hold the soil tightly and prevent them from sheet erosion. Forests have an essential part to play in preserving the layers of soil. The soil eventually becomes prey to rainwater if there are no roots to hold it. Learn more about the topic in the online classes that help you gain consciousness of the different reasons for sheet erosion. 

4. How is sheet erosion prevented?

You can prevent the sheet erosion with the following steps:

  • Plant more trees - Roots of trees are potent tools to prevent the soil from getting eroded. 

  • Keep soil covered - Bare soil is more helpless to sheet erosion than covered soil.

  • Grow grass and shrubs - Grass allows the rainwater to seep into the ground. 

These are the few steps we can take to control sheet erosion and its causes. Experts at Vedantu have explained more about this particular topic; you can find a lot of stuff to increase your knowledge and understanding on the website.

5. Why is sheet erosion a problem?

Sheet erosion is a problem because it lowers the productivity of the soil. Also, it increases the chances of landslides and many other causes that you can read in the notes. Follow Vedantu experts of geography to know things in more detail that helps you in your examination and other competitive exams. Apart from notes on sheet erosion, you can find helpful resources like online tuition classes to solve your doubts in one-on-one sessions. 

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