Causes of Soil Erosion

The wearing away (due to the action of winds) and washing down of soil cover (due to running water) is known as soil erosion. The Main Causes of Soil Erosion are as follows

Causes of Soil Erosion

Soil Erosion by Water

  • Gully Erosion: This occurs during heavy rainfall when running water cuts through the soil making deep channels. The land thus becomes unsuitable for cultivation and is known as bad land.
  • Rill Erosion: It occurs when runoff water forms small channels running down the slope. It is an intermediate stage between sheet and gully erosion.
  • Sheet Erosion: The washing away of the topsoil because of the flowing of water as a sheet over large areas is known as sheet erosion.
  • Leaching: When soil is bare of any vegetation, nutrients present in the soil percolate below the soil because of heavy rainfall. It makes soil infertile.
  • Stream Bank Erosion: It occurs when streams of rivers change their course by cutting one bank and depositing the silt on the other bank of the river.
  • Sea or Shore Erosion: The powerful waves of the sea dash against the coast and break the cliff rocks. The fragmented material is then removed by the retreating sea waves. Eastern and western coasts have experienced this kind of soil erosion.

Soil Erosion Due to Human Action

  • Deforestation has resulted in soil erosion. The absence of any vegetation on the land leads to the washing away of the soil.
  • Overgrazing by domestic animals also leads to soil erosion.

Soil Erosion by Winds

  • When the wind blows away the topsoil, it is known as wind erosion.
  • When bare land is exposed to high-speed winds, smaller soil particles are removed in a bouncing and hopping manner along the surface of the ground. This is known as saltation.
  • The rolling and sliding of larger soil particles along the ground surface are known as soil creep.

Regions Affected by Soil Erosion

In India, the following regions are affected by soil erosion:

  • Badlands of Chambal and Yamuna rivers
  • Western Himalayan region
  • Chotanagpur Plateau region
  • Tapti Sabarmati valley region in Gujarat
  • Regur soil area of Maharashtra
  • Dry areas of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana


Soils in India

Soil is a renewable natural resource. It supports various living organisms and is a medium of plant growth. Topsoil is the uppermost layer of the Earth. It consists of humus. Factors such as variation of temperature, parent rock, decomposers, and running water affect the formation of soil. Read more

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