The Three Basic Principles of Erosion You Must Know

in #erosion2 years ago

What is Erosion?

Erosion in a layman and simple term simply means the washing away of top soil or soil nutrient from the soil.

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Since you are actually chilling with me, let's give soil erosion as new standard definition which you will find very interesting and helpful. The funniest part about this is that you are actually gonna be the one defining erosion yourself after I am done with my explanation about erosion. All I need from you is your attention and imagination while reading along.

Erosion has to do with three important factors. Some textbooks and teachers will tell you that erosion is also based on these three principles. What are these principles?




These three principles listed above are the basis on which soil erosion occurs. Let's take our time to study each of these principle for proper understanding of erosion but before that, we also need to the different agent of erosion.


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Agents of erosion are simply the medium or channel which causes erosion to occur. Isaac Network once stated a very important law in motion which states every object will continue to be at a state of rest or move with uniform motion along a straight line unless it is acted upon by an external force.

Newton first law of motion simply explains that a cup will always be at rest on a table unless you do something to disturb the state of rest of the cup. Similarly, the soil will also be at a state of of rest (no erosion) unless some agents acts on the soil causing the soil to loose it's nutrients and particles. These agents are referred to as Agents of Erosion.

There are commonly three major agents of erosion which are water, wind, animal or human action and vegetation.

Water as an agent of erosion can be observed when there is rainfall or flood or runoff. It is observed that whenever rainfall on the soil, some part of the soil surface tends to be carried away by water flowing which changes the color of the water from it's colorless state into a brownish or chocolate tea - like color depending on the soil available in such area. I think most African countries will understand this more better or people staying around area dominated with soil and seasonal rainfall occurrence will also have a little understanding about this.


Actually when I was very young, I used to have the mentality of inserting a cup into the eroded water because of my love for chocolate and brown tea even though it's a very bad idea which I never practiced (I guess I was just thinking too low back then as a kid who love chocolate tea ☹️).

Wind as an agent of erosion can best be explained the effect of heavy air or moving air carrying the top soil from one place to another. I think you might have come across this physically in some places where you see the wind moving at high speed carrying along with it some particles and top soil making it very dirty. It is also advisable you protect your eyes by closing them whenever you come across such to avoid dust particles entering into your eyes.

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The sad reality about this is that the effect of moving wind by erosion has also led to the loss of high sight or blindness to some people in some part of Africa most especially deserted area.

Vegetation also tends to play a major role as an agent of erosion by means of reducing the effect of erosion.

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This can be done by the interception of rainfall, root action, decrease in runoff flow or velocity, and many other processes that has to do with reducing erosion effects

Animals or Humans as an agent of erosion can best be explained by our activities on the soil. The way we run and walk on the soil with our footwear sole plays a major factor in erosion. Are you surprised about this?.. Okay.. Let me explain better. 😊

We also add more to erosion by exposing the soil surface directly to agent of erosion. Some of these practices includes overgrazing, bush burning and deforestation.

One of the reasons car tyres have thread around them is to reduce the effect of friction and to enable firm grip on the road or soil. This also applies to some of the shoes or sandals we wear. The fact is that our motion on the soil also tends to detach some soil particles from their state of rest making them stick to the pore spaces in our tyres or sandals while some of them are been deposited to some other places we walk across during transportation.

If you are observant you can see that I actually made some keywords very bold while explaining the concept of erosion by man or animals because the three key terms are actually what constitute erosion. This now brings us to the principle on which erosion is based upon which I had promised to explain before delving into the agent of erosion.

There are three basic principles of erosion and you can also define erosion very correctly using this three basic principles which are listed and explained below ;




The term detachment simply means to take something apart or remove something. This simply implies that from Newton first law of motion, the soil at rest is always detached by the agents of erosion which I explained earlier. The soil particles are either detached from the soil by rain, wind or human/animal activities on the soil.

For proper understanding, I will suggest we make use of rainfall (water) as an agent of erosion. There are different forms of rainfall depending on the diameter and intensity.

There are some rainfall which falls very small with low diameter in which you don't need an umbrella when walking. This form of rain are usually very light and can be displaced easily by wind. By observation, you will notice such type of rainfall will have minimal or no effect on the soil when it comes to eroding the soil.

There are also some rainfall which seems to have a moderate or middle diameter in which you may want to need an umbrella before you can walk under such rain while some people might actually not need any umbrella depending on how hydrophilic you are when it comes to rain. By observation, it is observed that such rainfall will erode the soil by some certain amount.

The last type is the heavy rainfall with the highest diameter. These are the type of rainfall that sometimes leads to runoff or flood. I am quite sure you can predict the consequence of such rain on the soil when it comes to erosion. It is observed that such rainfall will cause more erosion mostly gully formation. This type of erosion can lead to unstable and unequal land slope or topography of an area. It can also cause the piece of land to be divided into segments through a process known as fragmentation of land.


The big question is why is it that different rainfall tends to react differently with different piece of land or soil


There are actually various answers to this question but I will tell you one of the answers and I hope you can drop your own different answer from your point of view in the comment section and win free steem and full upvote (Just think and win 😊)

The main reason for this is as a result of the resisting force acting in the soil which protects the soil from getting detached by the agents of erosion while the agents of erosion are the attacking forces acting on the soil. If the resisting forces in the soil is greater than the attacking forces on the soil, the soil won't undergo erosion but if the attacking forces from the agent of erosion is greater than the resisting forces, the soil get erodes easily.

This simply implies that for a soil to get detached, the attacking forces acting on the soil must be greater than the resisting forces present in the soil.



After the soil particles are being detached, the next step is to convey the soil particles through transportation by the agent of erosion. The transportation of soil particles is mostly dependent on weight or density of the soil particles.

As humans, there are things you can transport or carry from one place to another while there are some other things you might not be able to transport or carry from one place to another depending on the weight or density of what you intend to carry. Similarly, this also happens in the concept of erosion. The agent of erosion carries various soil particles provided they are capable of transporting them and this is why water is the most effective and efficient agent of erosion because it has more ability to transport soil nutrients and particles from one place to another even when the particles are more heavier.

The transportation can either be done by siltation, suspension or by bed load movement depending on the erosion agent.

In conclusion, the soil nutrients are been carried or transported from one point to another after the detachment process might have occurred.



The last stage is known as deposition in which the soil nutrients or particles are then finally deposited from their initial position into another position. The soil particles and nutrients then tend to form a deposit in a different place or area.

Let's Now Give Erosion A New Definition By Using The Three Basic Principles We've Learnt So Far

Erosion can be easily defined as the detachment of soil particles which are then transported from one place to another and then finally deposited into another place.

Thank You for your Time and I hope I have been able to explain the three basic principles on which soil erosion is based upon. Also remember to give your answer to the quiz question (if you are interested 😊) I asked in this post for you to stand a chance of winning steem by obeying the below rules.


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