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Water Erosion: Definition, Process, and Levels

by Widiya

The land is one of the most important elements possessed by the Earth. On the Planet Earth itself, the land holds a lot of important elements. We do know how this land is very useful for humans, animals, and plants as a type of living creature that inhabits planet Earth.

In addition to land as a foothold in our daily lives, the land also has other functions. Some of the functions possessed by the land will be mentioned below. The functions of land that can be felt by living things include the following:

  • As a habitat for land animals
  • Has an ecological balance
  • Springs
  • Used as agricultural land
  • As a raw material for the production
  • Raw materials for making fine art goods
  • As an ingredient for making household appliances
  • As embankment making material
  • Helps in the formation of mines
  • Making artificial islands

Besides of diverse functions that land has, there are also different types of it. Because all the places on Earth have different characteristics from one another, then there are so many kinds of land on this Earth.

The several types of soil that exist on Earth include clay, soil, organosol soil, humus soil, podsol soil, alluvial soil, and so on. Different land has its own characteristics. Thus, each type of land must have their advantages and disadvantages.


Speaking of land, it certainly cannot be separated from problems regarding the land itself. A problem that may happen on ground is erosion. Erosion is an adverse event. So, if we talk about soil erosion, then it means that erosion has afflicted the soil.

Simply say, erosion is an event experienced by the land because it is caused by a variety of certain things. Some things and factors that can affect this erosion include wind, water, and ice. To get to know more about various types of erosion, we will discuss it in the description below:

  1. Erosion Caused by Water or Ablation

The first type of erosion is caused by river water. Here is how it goes. Because the river water is flowing water or moving water. This movement of water will cause erosion. The movement of water from a higher place to a lower place has brought the soil layer slowly up.

Especially if the river’s current is strong. So from that over time, so much soil will experience erosion. This erosion occurred mainly after the arrival of the flood. After a large flood occurs, the soil will be more affected by erosion than when the river water is not flooded or just normal.

  1. Erosion Caused by Seawater or Abrasion

The second erosion is caused by seawater. Although both are caused by water, the history of erosion caused by river water with seawater is different. Erosion caused by seawater is called abrasion. If the power of river water to do the erosion is limited to the current, then the power of seawater to do this erosion lies in the waves.

The waves of seawater which always hit will slowly cause erosion. Erosion will occur mainly on objects hit by waves such as corals or coastal edges. Moreover, this seawater contains salt which can make fragility. So, from that, if we pay close attention, sometimes the rocks on the shore form a certain shape. This is a form or result of abrasion.

  1. Erosion Caused by Wind or Deflation

The third type of erosion is caused by wind. Sometimes without us even realizing it, slowly the wind with its strength can lift the particles that are owned by the soil and then moved to another place. As a result, over time the land will be eroded, and this is when erosion happened. It is known as deflation. Much deflation occurs especially in areas that have sufficiently large winds.

  1. Erosion Caused by Glaciers

The next erosion is caused by glaciers. This kind of erosion is also known as corrosion. Glaciers or geysers are solid ice that has melted. This glacier or geyser, if it has flowed, will cause a strong boost. This is because the change from the beginning is solid and then melts, it will still look thick. This geyser can cause a very large boost which in turn can cause erosion, especially on objects that have been passed by the glacier or geyser. But erosion like this only occurs in areas that do have a lot of snow or ice.

Those are some of the factors that can cause erosion in the soil. Those three types of erosion can easily be found in the environment around us. However out of the three types of erosion, we will discuss thoroughly one type of erosion. The type of erosion that we will discuss is erosion caused by water or also called water erosion.

Water Erosion

We all know that the erosion that is experienced by this land can occur due to various factors. One of the causes is water. Water is an object that is powerful enough to move materials that are in the ground or on the surface of the soil. The erosion done by water is called ablation.

Water can move material that is on the ground through the flow that is owned by the water. This flow of water will make the surface of the soil carried away, so this will certainly move little by little the surface of the land. Water that causes a lot of erosion is river water. Continuous erosion caused by river water can eventually lead to the occurrence of V-shaped rivers, ravines or canyons, heavy flows, and even waterfalls.

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Water Erosion Process

Erosion as a natural process will occur step by step. It is called a natural process. There are several stages that can explain why river water can cause erosion. These stages include the following:

  • Flowing river water will cause a lot of friction on the ground. And the size of the friction that occurs is influenced by the size of the water flowing.
  • Friction will be greater if the speed and amount of water get bigger too.
  • Water speed will also be greater if the gradient or slope of the land is also large.
  • Friction between water and solid objects transported by water with soil or rocks at the bottom can cause erosion.

Those are some of the short processes of seawater erosion. This process is not complicated, even very simple. But over time the process like this will really cause erosion.

Levels of Ablation

Did you know that the erosion done by river water has several levels? The levels of ablation are as follows:

  • Splash Erosion

Splash erosion is an erosion process that occurs by splashing water. The spark is a small number of soil particles and deposited elsewhere.

  • Erosion of Sheets

Erosion of sheet is a process of erosion of soil with a thickness equal to or evenly within a soil surface.

  • Erosion of Grooves

Groove erosion is erosion that occurs because the flowing water gathers in a basin so that in the basin larger soils occur. Grooves due to erosion can be removed by ordinary soil treatment.

  • Erosion of Trenches

Trench erosion is erosion that occurs as groove erosion but channels that form deep gaps so that they cannot be removed by ordinary soil treatment.

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