Causes of Soil Erosions


Soil erosion caused by wind

Sometimes soil erosion is caused by wind.  This happens when the wind carries the lighter particles away.  The wind will also eventually get the heavier particles and as the travel along the surface of the ground they will break into smaller particles with fewer nutrients. Areas of the soil that were previously sheltered become exposed and, thus, cause more damage. The wind erosion leaves more sandy soil that is easily affected by wind.  The wind takes away the more productive material as well as the material that has the best water retention.  The rougher the soil is the less likely it is to suffer severely from soil erosion due to wind.  You can usually see a ripple like effect on the land where there is a significant amount of erosion due to wind.

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Soil erosion caused by water and ice

Water an ice can have a major effect on soil.  The best example of this would be the Grand Canyon in Arizona.  Although some geologists believe water was not the only force to make the Grand Canyon, water and ice are still recognize by all as one of the main factors.  Water and ice are especially eroding in the desert because the desert is not used to so much of it and, thus, it has not built up a defensive way to beat it.  The water can get into the cracks in the soil and freeze.  When it does this, it expands and this causes even more erosion and damage to the soil.  The water can also carry away the soil from anything from rain to a river. One more very eroding example of water would be an ocean.  Although, the beach is beautiful there are some beaches that actually have to import sand because the ocean has carried so much of it away.

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Soil erosion caused by fire

Fire is perhaps one of the most unexpected things someone might think of when it comes to soil erosion. However; it is one of the biggest risks following a forest fire.  The intense heat of a slow burning fire can cause the soil to repel the water this is called hydrophobicity. Fires will also destroy the very top, more protective horizon of the soil, horizon O.  Fires destroy the plant life and the plants roots help hold the soil together.  It is incredible what a fire can do.  A fire can cause just as much damage as the other examples given.  It takes away the protection of the soil and its structures. 

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