The breakdown of the earth’s surface into fragments or segments is known as erosion. The agents of erosion include gravity, water, wind or animals. These agents carry the weathered rock sediments and particles from one location to another. The transportation of the eroded soil materials is called deposition (Berhe 4).
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Erosion can occur where these agents act on the rock sediments or soil particles. Erosion and deposition are interrelated because deposition can only occur after erosion must have taken place (Brunner 3). Land use, climate, land forms and hydrology are factors that influence erosion. The process follows three stages
1. Breakdown or detachment of rock or soil sediments: This is the first stage of erosion, the rock or soil matter begins to disintegrate. The disintegration is caused by either wind, water, ice, animals or man. The bonds between the soil particles are weakened by the agents of erosion.
The process is called weathering and the forces of weathering can be physical, chemical or biological. The impact of raindrops on the rock can force the disintegration of the rock particles. The weathered rock or soil particle becomes ready for the second stage of the erosion process (Mitasova 9).
2. Entrainment: This stage of erosion begins with the movement of weak particles from the original form. Scientists believe that the stage is similar to the breakdown of the rock sediments. The differences between detachment and entrainment can be seen in the movement of the soil particles which is caused by the forces of erosion.
3. The transportation stage: The particles are moved from one location to another by the wind or water. The velocity at which the particles are transported depends on the force of nature. The transportation of disintegrated particles can be by
1. Suspension: This is caused by wind, water or gravity. The eroded particles are transported as suspensions by air, water or gravity.
2. Solution: The mode of transportation of weathered particles is water. The weathered materials are carried along by water from one location to another.
3. Saltation: The particles are transported by a patterned cycle. The agents of movement can either be wind or water.
4. Traction: This mode of transportation involves rolling the weathered soil particles on the weathered surface.
The product of erosion process is called deposition. It refers to the process by which the eroded soil particles are transported to a different location. Deposition of eroded materials can be caused by wind, water, gravity, or ice. The rate of deposition depends on the velocity of the agent of erosion.
Erosion and deposition can be influenced by climatic factors. The factors that influence erosion and deposition include rainfall, the intensity of rainfall, the frequency, temperature and the physical characteristics of the parent rock (Okeke 4).
The frequency of rainfall influences the rate of erosion. The intensity of rainfall can cause rapid disintegration of the soil particles. The rock type and structure can influence the rate at which the rock particles disintegrate; when the rock structure is weak it would require less energy to cause weathering.
Areas with intense sunshine would cause rapid disintegration of rock particles thus causing erosion. The landscape of the soil can cause erosion because a sloppy soil surface will increase the velocity of water runoffs than a level soil. Velocity and precipitation are important variables that influence erosion (Poreba and Andrzej 13).
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Berhe, A. 2012, Decomposition of Organic Substrates at Eroding vs. Depositional Landform Positions. Web.
Brunner, A. 2010, Quantitative assessment of soil erosion and deposition rates. Web.
Mitasova, H. 2008, Multidimensional Soil Erosion/Deposition Modeling. Web.
Okeke, M. 1990, Soil Erosion Causes and Effects. Web.
Poreba, G. and Bluszcz A. 2008, Influence of the Parameters of Models used to calculate Soil Erosion. Web.