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Gravity as an Agent of Erosion
Transcript of Gravity as an Agent of Erosion
What is Gravity?
Gravity is the force that pulls all things together. It is a major agent of erosion; causing catastrophes like mudflows, landslides and rockfalls.
Isaac Newton, discovered the law of gravity.
Also called slope movement or mass wasting, theses can be the most dramatic forms of erosion. Mass movement can be slow of fast.
When masses of loose rock and soil suddenly fall down a slope, the event is called a landslide. Large landslides typically occur on steep slopes. Heavy rainfall, spring thaws, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes can trigger landslides.
This is one of the most breathtaking and dangerous forms of gravity induced erosion. A rockfall is fast, and the rocks could be tiny or giant boulders.
When the movement of soil and other material resembles fluid movement, the mass movement is called a flow. Examples would be avalanches, mudflows, earth flows, and lahars.
Creep is the slow downhill movement of rock and soil down a shallow slope. Creep may look like a continuous process but really, it is the product of many small movement caused by gravity.
Solifluction is a special type of creep that occurs in areas of permafrost. Permafrost is the layer of ground water that fills in pores in soil and rock and is permanently frozen. When weather gets warm, the ground will begin to thaw. This melted water cannot penetrate into the permafrost layer and the top layer of soil begins to slide downward on even the slightest of slopes.
Slump is the movement of rock debris downhill, as a consequence of removal of earth that supported the layer of sliding earth from the foot of the hill. The concave hillside that remains, also called a shear plane,then proceeds to gradually slide downhill.