Definition of Erosion

Definition of Erosion

It is called erosion that wear process suffered by the parent rock that forms the soil as a result of exogenous geological processes such as water currents or glacial ice, strong winds, changes in temperature and the action we carry out on it. living beings.

Among the material that is most easily eroded is the rock fragments created by mechanical abrasion due to the action of wind, surface water, glaciers and soil, created by the chemical decomposition of rocks by the combination of weak acids dissolved in surface water, bacteria, organic acids, plants, among others.

Water is considered the most important factor of erosion, while vegetation on the ground is usually one of the main allies and protective layers against it, however, the absence of this, either for reasons of natural disaster or because the action of man plans the construction of some structures or the replacement of natural vegetation by crops that will obviously contribute to the infertility of the soil, of course, will increase the chances of erosion, that is, a road without drainage will cause the roads begin to observe your asphalt raised. Also, although to a lesser extent than water, tectonic plates and volcanism do their part to put their two cents in favor of erosion.

definition of soil erosion

Erosion can be on the one hand natural and progressive, that is, it will develop around something natural and will take several years to be produced and on the other, the most harmful, called accelerated because it will develop very quickly and its effects will be felt in a very short amount of time. Among these is in the first place the unlearned action of the human being that we mentioned above.

The most common types of erosion are: by water or by river, that which occurs as a result of the displacement of water that will cause the earth to get wet first and then wash off; marine, by the constant action of waves, tides and currents; The glacier is very common in the mountains, but of course it depends on where you are. If it is a valley, when the glaciation passes, it leaves the soil perfectly smooth and with a perfect U shape; the wind is produced thanks to the wind that transports small particles that will later collide with the rocks, multiplying into more particles; biotic, caused by chemical processes that support rocks in which issues such as heat, cold and water intervene.
It occurs a lot in polar regions or in which sudden changes in climate and karst are observed, it occurs when a significant amount of water goes into the earth producing deep holes or gaps. This situation occurs a lot in underground rivers.

Among the main and best solutions that experts give to reduce the effects and prevent erosion are found. do not burn the stubble, do not till and keep the rest of the crop on the surface of the soil.


Types of erosion


Erosion corresponds to the erosion of the soil by the action of water, wind or human action. When the particles that make up the fertile soil layer are dragged, the ground is no longer able to sustain plant life. In addition, inadequate agricultural practices favor erosion or loss of soil, facilitating the action of wind and water.
There are two types of erosion: natural erosion and anthropic erosion or caused by man.


Natural erosion results from the combined action of water and wind that shed and drag particles of soil and humus. Erosion caused by the effect of water is called water erosion, while erosion caused by the effect of wind is known as wind erosion.


Corresponds to the wear of the soil because of the flow of water. This type of erosion can be rain or river.

The rain erosion corresponds to the erosive effect of rainwater. A drop of water is approximately 1,000 times larger than a particle of soil. Therefore, the force of the impact of a single drop of rain is enough to disperse and drag the particles of soil in its path.

Fluvial erosion is produced by inland waters. The rivers and underground currents wear with their passage the materials of the terrestrial surface. Part of the ground is dragged towards the sea, depositing these materials in different places and modeling the landscape.


When the wind blows with force, it removes the particles from the ground and moves them in different directions. This erosive agent is less intense than water. However, in the dry regions it acquires great importance. In the coastal areas and in the desert, the wind drags the sand devoid of organic matter to the land of cultivation, depositing on them and destroying their vegetation.


It is the kind of erosion that occurs in glaciers when the ice descends from the top of the slope, causing the soil under the ice to crack and erode as the ice passes over it, since the weight and friction will generate wear in it, and with the passage of time and the different seasons, the soil that has to bear the sliding of the ice will end up eroding.


The erosion caused by the temperature usually happens when an environment is exposed to very cold or very hot temperatures. For example, the rocks that are constantly exposed to sunlight, end up expanding and cracking due to the heat. But this can happen if the rock freezes, because at the time of spring, the rock thaws and expands, which could cause cracks.

That is to say, this type of erosion can happen both with cold and with heat.


The main human practices that expose the soil to erosion are deforestation, intensive agriculture, artificial irrigation and overgrazing.

But how does this anthropic erosion occur?

In the areas with abundant vegetation, erosion is less because the roots of the plants help to retain the particles that form the humus

The felling of trees, to use the wood or to obtain cultivable areas, aggravates the erosion, by allowing the soil to be worn away by the rains and the wind, which generates unusable zones.

The soils dedicated to intensive agriculture deteriorate, since the same crop species is usually sown, which consumes its nutrients. In addition, it requires the use of fertilizers and pesticides, whose accumulation contaminates the soil and water tables.

The construction of channels that transport water from rivers for artificial irrigation can produce dry sectors and flooded areas.

The soil used for livestock feed deteriorates due to excessive trampling of animals, which makes it hard and compact. The most damaging livestock is the sheep (sheep), because it eats the new shoots of the herbs, which prevents the plant cover from regenerating.

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