When minerals, rocks and soil break down it is called weathering. All these come in contact with the atmosphere of the earth, air and the water. Weathering involves no movement while in erosion there is movement of sand, rocks, minerals etc from one place to another place. Weathering is of two types called chemical weathering and physical weathering. In a physical or a mechanical weathering process, soil and rocks break down when pressure, heat, ice and water come in contact with conditions in the atmosphere directly.
Chemical weathering is the other kind of weathering involving the effect of chemicals in the atmosphere directly or chemicals that are produced biologically causing breaking of minerals, rock and soil. After breaking of the materials that are left behind, they combine with materials of organic nature to create soil. Due to the weathering process different kinds of landforms are created on the earth. Weathering occurs naturally but due to certain activities of mankind, also, weathering process takes place.
What Are The Human Causes Of Weathering?
The living or the biological agents are responsible for disintegration and the decomposition of minerals as well as rocks. Environment that prevails is responsible mainly for controlling biological life. Different kinds of activities of man have been causing rock disintegration. Rocks are being cut for constructing buildings dams, roads and canals. The rock’s surface area is being exposed for being attacked by chemical agents. This in turn accelerates or speeds up the decomposition of rocks.
Man has been mining different kinds of minerals and metals from the surface of the earth since many years. Over the years the hills and the mountains are being mined on an extensive scale by blowing them up. This causes loosening and disintegration of the rock surfaces over a period of time. Besides this, water and air also acts upon the rocks and stones leading to weathering in the longer run.
Weathering is also caused by worms, animals, insects and birds. They make holes in the surface of the earth or the soil or burrow holes thus aiding the process of weathering. In many of the sub tropical and the tropical regions, passages and galleries are built by the termites and ants. Materials are carried by them to the upper surface from the lower surface and in the process acids are secreted by them. Water and the oxygen and the dissolved toxic substances and acids enter through the galleries, cracks and the holes in the rocks and bring about disintegration in great speeds.
Animals and plants contribute a lot to the weathering and the erosion process. Man too is responsible for erosion and weathering. Biological weathering results from the action of minerals in organic form and can lead to chemical and mechanical weathering.
Man in the course of development has adopted a number of activities like clearing trees and bushes, logging illegally, farming etc which affects land surface a great deal. Man leaves the animals in the open land for grazing on vegetation and green grass. The animals in turn trample upon the soil and rocks causing severe damage. Land is used for several purposes like construction, building structures, etc. Land is cleared away in huge proportions which cause erosion of soil. In the erosion process a lot of material and deposits get removed from the mountains and hills. This in turn gets deposited in the delta region. Such soil is rich in nature.
Many of the geologists and engineers across the world are studying on erosion and weathering caused by man. In the erosion process, the particles of soil break down. As much time is taken to form the soil, the same amount of time is taken for the soil to erode. If this is the case then the effects of erosion can be quite devastating. Problems related to erosion can be prevented and controlled if efforts in the right direction are taken with regards to this. The two erosion control methods are blankets and matting.
What are the human causes of erosion?
All over the earth’s surface humans conduct different kinds of activities. Whether it is working, digging on the road or in the backyard etc, erosion is caused to an extent that is ten times more than it would otherwise occur in the natural process. Right from the first millennium it has been seen that humans have been the number one cause for causing erosion. Different kinds of things are being constructed on the planet.
Besides this agriculture is also one of the main activities carried out by humans which leads to eroding away of soil. Dirt and soil get damaged due to unnecessary construction on land. Vegetation like agriculture is a human cause for erosion since the top soil is moved for carrying out the activities. The other human cause for soil erosion is deforestation. A lot of trees and vegetation are being cut down and the surface of the earth is being made bare to construct things. This makes the land surface more prone to erosion by the natural erosion processes. In many of the developed countries due to clearing up of land surface a lot of erosion is being caused.
Grazing of animals also leads to soil erosion. People leave their animals for grazing on open green lands and fields. Due to the constant pulling out of plants from the soil, it gets loosened and moves away to other places causing erosion.
Watering of gardens is also one of the main causes for erosion. At residential properties people water their lawns and gardens. The force of water leads to the eroding of soil. A little bit of care can be taken by not over watering the lawn and the garden areas that contain the soil.
Excavation is one human activity taking place in different parts of the world. Rocks develop tiny cracks and pores in the process. Water enters into the cracks and when there is a drop in temperature, the water forms into ice and expands, exerting pressure on the rocks, cracking, disintegrating or weathering them in the process.