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E-portfolio. Natural Disasters GEOG 1700 Valerie Peters. Erosion.

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e portfolio

Natural Disasters

GEOG 1700

Valerie Peters


Erosion is silently and slowly one of the most effective natural processes that alters the surface and features of the earth. Erosion practices its wearing and tearing of the earth mainly through, wind, water, and human interference.


The rock has crumbled and been eroded in such a way that it resembles a sheep. This is called “Sheep Rock” found in Arches National Park in Southern Utah.


You may not believe it, but lots of areas in Utah used to be underwater. If you travel to places like Southern Utah and look at the red rocks, you can see the lines that indicate where the water levels used to be. The water levels rise or fall depending on the climate.

If all the water in Lake Powell were to evaporate, you would most likely see lines like you see etched into the rocks in Arches National Park there too.


Here you can see more lines eroded into the rock that indicate where the water levels used to be as they rose and fell over the years.


Water is one of the most effective elements when it comes to almost any type of natural event. Water can be at fault for a severe landslide, or an avalanche. Bodies of water combined with landslides can be the cause for the development of cliffs. It could cause the soil to shift and slide, creating a cliff side after a large portion of it has separated and fallen off. That very same cliff side could be altered a few hundred years later a body of water lapping at the walls of the rock until a little cave or niche has formed and is no longer holding up the cliff, a portion of that could come tumbling down too.


Water can erode the earth in the forms of rain, rivers, floods, and glaciers. When rain falls, it can create little craters in the soil. Rivers are constantly flowing and picking up and loosening soil particles in their path transporting them miles away. The process of water freezing and thawing can break rocks into tiny pieces when it gets into cracks, freezes, and expands. Glaciers can float by and graze chunks off of surfaces once they’ve made impact. They can also move large sheets of sediment once they’ve surged forward after freezing to the bed.


Wind, like water, is also perpetually changing the features of the earth. It takes a bit longer than water does, but it’s consistent in its weathering. It is most effective in the arid or semi-arid regions of the planet. Wind can blow soil particles that have been loosened around or wear down surfaces as particles bounce off of them. The lighter and smaller the particles, the easier it is for them to be picked up by the wind and blown across great distances.

The wind will continually wear away this structure until it is too weak to support the boulder balanced on top and the whole thing will come crashing down.

(more water lines)


Weak points. Easy erosion areas. These will most likely erode faster than the rest of the rock will.


Working together, wind and water can create some magnificent structures. The Delicate Arch in Moab is an example. This used to be a solid piece of rock that is now a famous tourism spot for many to take a look at the arch. The common assumption is that the arch formed after years of wind eroding the middle away. This is true, wind was a factor in developing the arch, but water was definitely involved. Southern Utah used to be covered in water. You can see the lines on the arch where water levels used to be. Water is the biggest factor in hollowing the arch out even though wind gets all the credit. Without the help of water, making the arch would have taken much, much longer.


Water Lines

Weak point. Continuing to erode. Unfortunately, the famous arch may collapse at some point in the future.

human effects
Human effects

Humans have more of an effect on the planet than we think we do. Vegetation can be destroyed from constantly being trampled, or pulled out to make way for construction of towns, houses, and buildings. The vehicles we drive can tear up the earth, the gasses we put in the atmosphere can effect the climate and how much water is being evaporated. We’re making just as many changes to the earth as water and wind do. Deforestation, urbanization, and climate changes are the biggest effect that humans have on the planet.


Who would have thought hat a bunch of humans could have such a big effect on the giant land masses we live on?


The earth is neither steady nor stable. It is constantly shifting and evolving. Features like Mount Everest and Lake Powell are not going to be the same forever. It’s not noticeable differences that one can observe during a lifetime, unless something drastic were to happen. It is a slow process but a very constant one. Rocks, hard as they come, can be worn away into almost nothing. The mountains we have could turn into a bunch of sand if you gave it enough time. All it would take is a little wind and water. The soil is always moving, and water is always being transported across the globe, making changes wherever it goes. Humans will tear up the land they live on. Erosion is always happening. Slowly but surely.


This is me standing next to the beautiful Delicate Arch in Moab. I took all the pictures used in this project.