Meaning of Erosion

What is Erosion:

Erosion refers, in a general sense, to the wear or destruction verified on the surface of a body due to the continuous or violent action of friction with another body. It comes from the Latin erosion, erosi┼Źnis, which means 'gnawing', 'corrosion'.

In the field of natural sciences, erosion designates the set of phenomena that intervene in the wear, destruction and modification of the surface structures or the relief of the earth's crust caused by the influence of external agents, such as water, ice, wind. , or by direct action of living beings, both plant and animal.

Erosion can attend to physical factors, such as temperature variations, sun exposure, freezing or electrical discharges, as well as processes related to the alteration or chemical decomposition of rock minerals, where water plays an important role.

The importance of erosion is that it shapes the appearance of everything that is visible and what is not on the earth's surface: a mountain, a valley, an island, a cliff, the shore of the beach. Erosion carves the landscape.

Likewise, erosion can characterize superficial injuries to the skin or mucous membranes caused by constant friction, for example, when the shoe constantly rubs part of the foot when walking.

In artillery, erosion can also refer to the deterioration of the muzzle of a firearm caused by the work to which the metal is subjected due to the shots.

In a figurative sense, erosion also refers to the reputation or influence of people or institutions that are worn out or diminished: "The credibility of the judge with respect to the case began to erode from his latest public statements."

Types of erosion

In natural sciences, there are different types of erosion according to their characteristics.

Water erosion

Water erosion encompasses all phenomena characterized by the action of water as an erosive agent and its main triggering factor is rain (rainwater).We can verify its action mainly in the drawing of river beds and deltas (river erosion), in the formation of valleys, lakes and waterfalls, but also in the creation of canyons, caves and caves, due to underground water currents in the regions with soils of calcareous composition (karst erosion).

In coastal regions, the chemical characteristics of water vary and its corrosive capacity increases considerably. This type of erosion is known as marine. The salt water, the waves, the tides and the materials that it sets in motion are in charge of drawing the profile of our coasts, producing cliffs and shaping our beaches. At the submarine level, due to the internal currents of the seas and oceans, erosion also fulfills its role as a shaping agent of the earth's crust.

Likewise, in colder regions, we find glacial erosion, caused by the movement of ice masses that wear down and polish the rocks with which they come into contact. They originate valleys with very steep slopes (U-shaped), as well as in the coastal regions they produce the so-called fjords.

Eolic erosion

Wind erosion refers to the processes of wear and tear and modification of the earth's surface, caused by the action of the wind. It carries sand and other solid materials with it and, due to friction, it wears and polishes the rocks that it encounters. It is essential in desert regions and coastal areas.

Anthropic erosion

Anthropic erosion records the significance of human action and its impact when determining the environmental conditions for its habitat. The deforestation of fields, agriculture, mining and engineering works can have as a consequence the destruction of the soils, the decrease in the cultivation capacity of the land, the diversion of a river bed, desertification, among others. stuff.

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