Q:

What are the agents of erosion?

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Quick Answer

The agents of erosion are waves, water, wind and ice. The process of weathering dissolves rock or breaks it down into tiny fragments, making it weak and susceptible to erosion. The agents of erosion carry fragmented rocks away, causing the earth to be worn away.

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Full Answer

All forms of water cause erosion. In dry environments, raindrops cause splash erosion, which moves small particles of soil. The water that collects on the Earth’s surface causes sheet erosion when it starts to move towards streams. Water in streams is a powerful agent of erosion because it moves fast and can pick up and move large soil particles and objects. Streams that move slowly move fine sand. Erosion by water wears away river banks and alters the shape of coastlines. Erosion by wind occurs often in dry areas, such as deserts, where it forms sand dunes.

Strong wind erodes cliffs and rocks, making them smooth. Wind also moves volcanic ash and dust. Ice often causes erosion on mountain tops and frigid areas. As glaciers move downhill, they pick up and move rocks and sand, which scrape the ground, causing erosion. Waves in large bodies of water, such as oceans, are responsible for coastal erosion.

Human activities, such as cutting down trees, facilitate erosion. Global warming is linked to severe and frequent storms and speeds up erosion.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the types of erosion?

    A:

    The three major types of erosion are the transporting of soil or rocks by moving water, wind or ice. Water is the primary force behind erosion. The waves of the ocean, movement of a river and falling of rain are all ways water transports materials from one location to another.

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  • Q:

    What causes coastal erosion?

    A:

    Coastal erosion is caused by a number of factors, including natural processes such as the wind, rain and waves, as well as human activities, such as the damming of rivers. Additionally, when barrier islands are destroyed, the coastline becomes more susceptible to the destructive forces of storms and hurricanes. Barrier islands help to absorb some of these destructive forces and protect the coastline.

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  • Q:

    How is a plant or animal an agent of mechanical weathering?

    A:

    Plants and animals become agents of mechanical weathering when their growth, activities or movements expose rocks to the weathering actions of wind, rain and ice. The roots of plants, particularly large trees, can shift the soil and lift or crack rocks that block their paths. Animals often dig tunnels that cause the same effects, but their burrowing, foraging and den-making activities can also cause rocks to become exposed.

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  • Q:

    What causes erosion?

    A:

    Erosion is a process that causes the soil surface to wear out; geological erosion is caused naturally by water, wind or gravity, and accelerated erosion is caused by human use of land. Geologists estimate that 70 percent of soil erosion is caused by human activities like excessive construction, agriculture, surface mining and forestry.

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