Types of soil erosion include splash erosion, sheet erosion, rill erosion, gully erosion, stream channel erosion, tunnel erosion and tillage erosion. Soil erosion may be geologic or accelerated. Geologic erosion takes place over millions of years and is the result of natural environmental changes. Accelerated erosion is the result of ecological disequilibrium and is detrimental to the soil.
Splash erosions represent the first stage of soil erosion. They occur when raindrops hit bare soil. This type of erosion breaks up soil aggregates, causing individual soil particles to splatter over the surface of the soil. Sheet erosion refers to the uniform movement of a thin layer of soil across bare land. Tilled agricultural fields and construction sites are the types of spots where sheet erosion takes place. When sheet flow erosion begins to concentrate on a surface, rill erosion takes place. Rill erosion occurs when rain increases and runoff accelerates. When rill erosion continues or as rain levels continue to increase and runoff continues to accelerate, gully erosion occurs. Stream channel erosion consists of both stream bed and stream bank erosion. Tunnel erosion occurs when surface water moves into and through dispersive subsoil. Tillage erosion is the process of eroding soil from the top of the field downward, resulting in the exposure of subsoil on the surface and buried soil at the bottom.