What Is Wind Erosion?

wind-erosion Credit: Matthew Williams-Ellis/Robert Harding World Imagery/Getty Images

By definition, wind erosion involves the erosion, transportation and deposition of soil by the wind, according to Dictionary.com. Wind erosion is often worse during dust storms. Poor farming practices by humans combined with drought conditions such as occurred during the 1930s in the United States increase wind erosion.

Several factors worked together to increase wind erosion during the American Dust Bowl. Small gasoline tractors increased the amount of land a farmer was able to work. Plowing served to displace native, deep-rooted grasses that held the soil in place during typical drought conditions and high winds. When the drought of the 1930s struck, the plains were ripe for wind erosion. These storms affected over 100 million acres in Oklahoma and Texas. By the end of the 1930s, wind erosion removed over 75 percent of the topsoil in some areas. Erosion decreased the value of farm land and the profits of the farmer. The problems led to population declines in many counties.

Weathering and erosion work together to transform all land forms to sea level planes. However, volcanoes and uplifting land movements work against these two processes. Without the intervention of man, water works its way into the cracks of rocks and freezes to break smaller particles from the larger mass. Plants and animals aid the weathering process. As particles become small enough, water or wind picks them up and transports them to other areas.