In simple terms, Soil Erosion is the process that erodes, breaks or gradually diminishes things down. In Earth Science, the process of erosion usually takes place on the surface of soil, rock, or dissolved material from one location on the Earth’s crust and with the help of the wind or water flow, it gets to settle down at another location.
What is Soil Erosion?
It is one form of soil degradation. Soil erosion occurs in almost all types of lands. Flowing water, rainwater, and the wind are the prime agents which cause a significant amount of soil loss each year. Too much of soil erosion causes serious loss of topsoil and also reduces crop production potential, lower surface water quality, and damaged drainage networks.
Types of Soil Erosion
- Rain Drop or Splash Erosion – The erosion due to the impact of falling raindrops on soil surface leading to the destruction of the crumb structure is known as the rain drop or splash erosion.
- Sheet Erosion – It is the uniform removal of soil in thin layers from the land surface caused by the wind. Land areas with loose, shallow topsoil overlies compact soil are most prone to sheet erosion
- Rill Erosion – Rill erosion is a form of water erosion in which the erosion takes places through numerous narrow and more or not so straight channels called streamlets, or head cuts. Rill is the most common form of erosion, which you can also observe during heavy rain.
- Gully Erosion – Gully erosion occurs due to the runoff of surface water causing the removal of soil with drainage lines. Gullies when started once, will move by headward erosion or even by slumping of side walls unless and un-till proper steps will be taken in order to stabilize the disturbance.
- Stream Bank Erosion – Bank erosion is nothing but washing up away from banks of a stream or a river. It is different from the erosion of bed of a watercourse, that is referred as scouring. This type of erosion is also termed as Stream Bank Erosion.
Causes of Soil Erosion
- Due to Soil Texture – If the texture is loose that is the soil contains more of small grains and of open structure erodes faster.
- Slope – Soil present in a steeper slope more than the soil present at a plane level of the ground.
- Intensity or Amount of Rainfall – More intense rain, more erosion. This can be a bit slow if there are more trees present in the land as the roots of the plants hold soil in a firm manner.
- Human Activities – Agricultural practices, deforestation, roads and urbanization and global warming are few major causes of soil erosion.
- Deforestation – Mismanaged utilization of soil resources like the removal of forest cover causes soil erosion heavily. Due to increasing land demand, the human is more into deforesting lands. Tree roots act as a binder of the top layer of the soil.
Now you know the reasons behind Soil Erosion. Continue learning to know the ways of soil conservation with Byju’s App.