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Erosion Facts For Kids

Erosion sounds like a complicated word, doesn’t it? What in the world is erosion?

Well we’re going to tell you everything you need to know, and you’ll be a superstar in your next Geography test!

There are different forces around us like wind, rain and ice, and these forces are the very things that cause erosion.

erosion in Madagascar
Erosion in Madagascar

Basically erosion is where land is worn away by these different forces.

If you think of water erosion, next time you go onto the beach, look for really smooth stones.

These smooth stones have often been tossed and turned around in the sea by waves which make them smooth.

So, erosion can change the way that things look, even things like mountains, coastlines and valleys too.

tsunami wave

How Does Erosion Happen?

We mentioned those forces that are working around us all the time, like wind, water and ice. These forces are the very things that actually cause erosion.

There are other forces too. Erosion can take years and years, and sometimes it can happen really quickly, like in the case of a flood.

It all depends on which force is working away the hardest.


The main force of erosion is actually water. It causes the most erosion on Earth.

It is also one of the most powerful forces on the planet. But how does water cause erosion and what type of water causes erosion?

Read on to see how!

First, there is rainfall and as it hits the Earth it can cause erosion, which is called splash erosion. When these water drops all get together and flow like a stream, this also causes erosion.

Rivers are one of the biggest creators of erosion over time. As they run along their merry way, they break up lots of little particles along the bottom of the river and off they go downstream.

platte river

One of the best examples of understanding river erosion is to think of the Grand Canyon.

Can you believe that it was formed by the Colorado River? It’s amazing to see how rivers can change something so much.

Our lovely coastlines get eroded over time by waves. They have got a huge amount of force and when they constantly bash up against things, they can cause pieces of rock to break off.

They are seriously powerful. Because of this, our coastlines can look really different over time.

Large floods can cause erosion seriously quickly as they become powerful rivers that change things in their path.


Wind Erosion

Wind is actually also quite a big force in erosion, and this is definitely more noticeable in dry areas.  As wind moves along, it picks up loose particles and dust along the way.

But how does the erosion happen? Well this is when the particles go crashing into the land and break off more particles.


Other Forces of Erosion

Amazingly small animals, insects, and worms cause erosion as they break up the soil. This makes it easier for the wind and water to whip it up and carry it away.

Amazingly gravity is another force of erosion. The force of gravity pulls rocks and other particles off the side of a mountain and this causes erosion.

Gravitational potential energy jpg

Landslides can then form and this can really seriously erode an area.

Amazingly, when the temperature changes and the sun heats up a rock it can actually expand and crack.

Can you believe it? Over time, pieces will keep on breaking up and erosion happens once again!

ant mound

Interesting Facts about Erosion

Flash floods, rivers and streams, slowly but surely erode rock. This erosion will carve out caves and crevices.

The minerals in the water are almost like sandpaper on the rock, slowly, slowly scrubbing it away.

In deserts, high winds send tiny particles hurtling up into the air. These tiny particles actually have the power to change and shape rocks.


Along beaches, the wind can blow sand into dunes.

Glaciers can also cause erosion! They tear away fragments of rock and they move across the Earth. They can even carve valleys into land.

Isn’t that wonderful?


Words to Know

Sediment – tiny pieces or rocks, mud, clay, minerals and other small debris.

Erosion – a process where something constantly wears away

So now you know everything about erosion. It’s pretty interesting, isn’t it, how it can change everything around us!

Related: Sedimentary rock.

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