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What are types of wind erosion?

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Quick Answer

The three main types of wind erosion are suspension, saltation and creep. Suspension is the blowing of tiny particles into the air where they may be carried for long distances, saltation is the repeated lifting and dropping of slightly larger particles, and creep is the movement of particles too large to lift along the ground. All types only occur with relatively dry, loose soils that wind can break apart.

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Full Answer

Wind erosion is a significant force despite its limitations, altering and posing dangers to the environment. In areas such as sand dunes, wind erosion is the main force shaping the landscape, and indeed, in some deserts the landscape changes constantly. Sand grains are large enough that they are eroded in the manner of saltation, being picked up by the wind but usually redeposited relatively close by.

Saltation is often an important factor in creep. While wind alone might not be strong enough to move the larger particles in a landscape, the impact of mid-sized particles undergoing saltation can often provide the impetus necessary. Suspension, on the other hand, is at least partially independent of the other two. The fine particles captured by suspension are often deposited nearby, sometimes coating and harming crops or other plants or even getting inside human structures, but they can also be carried on air currents for thousands of miles.

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