Four Types Of Soil Erosion Caused By Water Runoff

You may already be aware of the fact that soil erosion is frequently caused by water and drainage issues. However, you might not be aware of the different classifications of erosion caused by water.

Understanding erosion terminology can help you explain what's occurring on your land so that you can best address the issue to protect your topsoil. The following are the four major types of erosion caused by surface water runoff:

Sheet erosion

Sheet erosion occurs when soil is fairly loosely packed so that rainfall can cause topsoil to fall off over large areas en masse. 

Sheet erosion is similar to a sheet sliding off a bed. Water and moisture in the topsoil weaken the stability of the top layer so that it slides away.

This type of erosion is particularly severe because it leads to the loss of an entire layer of topsoil at once. 

Rill erosion

When rill erosion occurs, small streams develop over the affected plot of land. Rill erosion results when rainfall over land is not able to be absorbed into the land and get soaked into the soil. 

With rill erosion, channels of water develop that will dry up as they drain away immediately after a rainfall. However, these "rills" or small streams of water can do a lot of damage before they flow away and dry up. 

Gully erosion

Simply put, gully erosion is more severe rill erosion. Gully erosion involves larger streams of water that are capable of carrying away greater quantities of topsoil than mere rill erosion. 

Gully erosion will not only take away nutrient-rich topsoil, but it can also cause severe, visible scars on the land. Gullies caused by gully erosion can be deep and wide enough to create hazards for farmers who need to drive machinery over fields to maintain agricultural productivity. This makes gully erosion an especially problematic type of erosion. 

Bank erosion

This type of erosion is unique to areas of land that border waterways. Bank erosion occurs when the land along streams and rivers experiences prolonged water runoff over time so that banks wear away. 

Bank erosion can detract from the quality of farmland that is located close to waterways. It can lead to the progressive loss of nutrients in soil the closer one gets to the actual stream or river into which water is running off the land.

Bank erosion can also cause structural problems for roadways located near waterways. This can create an enormous expense for municipalities and even create safety hazards in severe cases. 

For more information on erosion and how to prevent it on your property, contact companies like Branch Corner Supply.