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  Soil Erosion:

The wearing away, detachment and transportation of soil from one place to another place and its deposition by moving water, blowing wind or other causes is called soil erosion.


Various types of soil erosion:

  • Normal or geologic erosion
  • Accelerated soil erosion
  • Wind erosion
  • Water erosion
  • Landslide or soil erosion
  • Stream bank erosion

Normal or geologic erosion

Weathering of parent rock and erosion by agencies like water and wind are natural processes. There is always equilibrium between the removal and formation of soil, and harm is done when this equilibrium is disturbed by an outside agency.

Accelerated soil erosion

Areas denuded of their natural protective cover, excessive grazing, land that has been ploughed excessively results in the removal of top soil and thus accelerated soil erosion.

Wind erosion

Wind erosion is caused by strong wind mainly in arid and desert areas. It causes dust storms, forms sand dunes and buries localities with deposition of sand, rendering fertile lands unfit for cultivation. It is more common in Rajasthan.

Water erosion

When rain comes down in torrents there is not enough time for the water to soak through soil and the run off causes erosion.

  • Splash erosion is caused by falling torrential rain. The raindrops beat hard on the surface of the soil. The flowing mud splashes as high as 60 cm and about 150 cm away.
  • Sheet erosion occurs with the uniform removal of a thin layer or ‘sheet’ of soil. Sloping land with shallow, loose topsoil overlying compact subsoil is the most susceptible. This type of erosion continuously makes the soil shallower and decreases crop yield. It can be detected by the muddy colour of the run-off from the fields.
  • Rill erosion is an intermediary stage between sheet erosion and gully erosion. It involves the removal of soil by rainwater run off through small finger-like channels.
  • Channel or gully erosion occurs when the volume of concentrated run off increases and attains more velocity. The rills enlarge into gullies. It often starts along bullock cart tracks, cattle trails and burrows of animals. At an advance stage, gullies result in ravines making the soil unfit for cultivation.

Landslide or slip erosion

The pressure caused by the moisture going deep into the soil during heavy rains that is unable to penetrate further due to hard soil or rocky strata below, move a large mass of overlying soil. Such landslides are more common in hill areas.

Stream bank erosion

During a flood, the river carries large masses of soil, boulders and plants and deposits them downstream. The deposit reduces the transporting capacity of the torrent resulting in overflows and meandering of the river, and in erosion of the riverbank.

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