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Land erosion(Due to Gravity and ice)

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Definition:

 Land erosion is the process by which material on the surface of the land is dislodged and moved. Land erosion becomes a water quality stressor when the transported materials reach surface waters. When this occurs, the sediment itself is a pollutant… Land erosion is a natural process caused by both wind and precipitation; however, precipitation-driven erosion is the primary water-quality stressor. Various human activities such as development of unmanaged impervious surfaces, or poorly managed agricultural or forestry activities can significantly increase the natural rate of land erosion. [1] 

https://pixfeeds.com/images/1/145546/1200-492151500-soil-erosion.jpg

Soil runoff in to the river. A case of land erosion

Causes of Land Erosion:

 Agents of erosion include gravity, glaciers, wind, and water.  Erosion only occurs when these agents have enough energy.  The moment agents of erosion lose their energy and momentum, they deposit their load.  This process is known as deposition.  The load is what the agent is carrying.  As agents of weathering lose their energy, the heavier sediment is dropped.  As the energy is lost, gravel, then sand, then silt, and then clay are deposited, due to their respective masses [2]

As ice changes into water, the water flow carries away sediments along with it. 

https://www.americangeosciences.org/sites/default/files/ERN_glacier_NOAA_h6ipfv.jpg

Glacier moving downwards and carries soil along with it

Picture Source: www.americangeoscience.org

Mechanism:

Gravity is the major factor at work in case of land erosion by ice as ice moves downward under the influence of gravity. 

Mass movement or mass wasting happens after the angle of repose has been breached.  The angle of repose is the steepest angle at which a sloping surface made out of a specific material is stable.  The moment the angle of a slope has become too steep, due to circumstances like undercutting and erosion, the slope with that material will collapse until it is stable once more.  Once a material like sand has hit the angle of repose, a mass movement event is inevitable.  All it will take is a slightly steeper angle and then BOOM, the slope collapses.  Adding a solvent like water can change the angle of repose as well. [2] 

https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.D2QOvaq6eMWWvd5Nwdm9TAAAAA&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

Control Measures:

Erosion control measures are intended to prevent and/or reduce movement of eroded soil sediments off-site/land. Selection of the proper erosion control measure must be taken into consideration the magnitude and type of erosion, as well as the resources available for implementation. [3] 

To check land erosion by the sliding of ice sheets and glaciers downwards, we can consider following methods:

  1. Glaciers melt due to global warming and contribute to soil erosion. So, the temperature of the globe should be maintained from increasing. 
  2. Removal of grasslands and plants also contribute to the land erosion in high mountains as the melted water from glaciers carry away soil particles with it. Thus, maintaining the natural grassland in those areas play a crucial role.
  3. Construction of dykes to prevent the flooding and water damage from ice and glaciers sources.
  4. Control of excessive grazing in the pastures of High Mountains which results in ground inundation and causes soil erosion.
  5. Checking deforestation.
  6. As land inundation contributes significantly to soil erosion, preventing land erosion can help control the erosion.

References:

  1. Land Erosion What is Land Erosion? (2017). https://dec.vermont.gov/sites/dec/files/documents/wsmd_swms_StressorPlan_Land_Erosion.pdf. Assessed on 12 June 2021.
  2. Erosion by Wind, Ice and Gravity | Earth Science. (n.d.). Earthscience.xyz. Retrieved June 12, 2021, from https://earthscience.xyz/WindIceGravityErosion
  3. Erosion Control Measures (ECM) – Introduction and Objectives | Erosion Control Measures – passel. (n.d.). Passel2.Unl.edu. Retrieved June 12, 2021, from https://passel2.unl.edu/view/lesson/ca2a3ba0dc28/1. Assessed on 12 June 20
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