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Erosion By Wind : Landforms and Types

Aug 19, 2022
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Key Concepts

  • Erosion

Introduction: 

We all know that Earth is a third planet from the Sun, and its surface is always changing. It is formed and reformed by water, wind, and ice. These changes on land can take place quickly or slowly. There are many natural features on the Earth, such as mountains, valleys, rivers, and plains. These natural features on Earth’s surface are called landforms. 

Various types of landforms 

Some landforms change in hours, such as mudslides quickly changing hillsides. The majority of landforms take a long period of time to change. Running water, wind, waves, and ice change the landforms. These changes take place due to weathering, erosion, and deposition. 

Mudslide 

Weathering is the process in which rock is broken down into smaller pieces by the effect of wind, water, and change in temperature. 
Erosion is the process in which weathered rock is transported from one place to another by wind, water, ice, or gravity. 

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Weathering and erosion 

  

How do winds change landform? 

The wind acts as a sand mover. Wind scratches the surface of rocks like sandpaper by carrying sand and pieces of sediment. This scratching causes small pieces of rocks to break off. Then again, the wind collects new pieces of sediment and takes them away. This causes erosion of rocks; it takes many years. Now let us see how the wind changes the landforms. 

Wind acts as a sand blower 

Rock Sculptures: 

In many dry areas, wind erosion shapes rocks. Spinning sand carried by the wind causes cracks in rocks and also attacks the smooth spots on rocks. This usually happens with sandstone. Loose rock pieces are also carried away by heavy rains. The effect of heavy rain and wind results in the formation of unusual rock structures. In the long run, every part of rock gets eroded by wind and water. 

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Rock sculpture formed by wind erosion 

Particles of sand in a desert are small pieces of evidence of weathering and erosion. Some evidence of erosion and weathering is much larger, such as the Delicate Arch in Utah is a large sandstone arch, 14 meters (almost 46 feet) tall. It is shaped like a huge, upside-down alphabetical letter U. How did this rock become U shaped? This Delicate Arch and other natural arches were formed due to the dry, windy climate. Then, over long periods of time, strong winds weathered and eroded the rock. When strong winds bring sand, it can weather rocks. But on its own, wind cannot cause major damage to the rock. But when the wind picks up sand and other material, the sand hits against the rock and breaks into small pieces. Due to gravity, these pieces fall on the ground, especially when they have been weakened by the wind. This process takes a lot of time, but the sand in the wind can carve huge pieces of rocks into fascinating shapes. Some of the beautiful arches are examples of this weathering and erosion by wind. 

Delicate Arch in Utah 

Sand Dunes  

Did you see sandhills on the beaches? How are sandhills formed? Sandhills are formed by wind. Winds blow sand and form sandhills. These sand hills are called sand dunes. The movement of sand particles is blocked by rocks or grasses, and the movement gets slowed down, and a sand dune begins to take shape. The formation of a sand dune depends on the amount of sand available, the character and direction of the wind, and the type of ground the sand is moving over. Sand dunes may be crescent-shaped, star-shaped, parabolic, linear, or barchan. Some sand dunes are long, wavy ridges called sword dunes. 

Crescent shape sand dune, Sword dune

Star shape sand dune, Barchan sand dune

Summary

  • B Natural features on Earth’s surface are called landforms.
  • Some landforms change in hours, whereas some landforms take years to change.
  • Sand dunes and rock sculptures are formed by weathering and erosion by wind.
  • The formation of a sand dune depends on the amount of sand available, the character and direction of the wind, and the type of ground the sand is moving over.

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