Water And Oceanography

How Water Affects Land Formations and Erosion

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"How Water Affects Land Formations and Erosion"
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Ironically, the most innocent of all that we have on this planet is water, and also, one would think as one of the most powerful forces as well. In a docile state, a body of water produces no effect on the solid land below it.

However put that water in motion, and it will carve canyons, erode the beaches and carve out thousands of miles of channels throughout the flatlands till it reaches the lowest point into the ocean.

How could such a soft, pliable, seemingly innocent element, have such power to do these amazing things to something that is total opposite in its makeup such as land or the sand on our beaches?
Ground is solid, and water is, well just water. Could we stick our hand into a rock? I don't think so.
Could we even stick it into the hard ground? I don't think so either,but yet water offers no resistance, we can slip our hand in freely, let it run through our fingers, or enjoy the gentle rain it produces when evaporated into clouds.

So what chance does this seeming innocent element have against solid surfaces such as land and rock? We see it run off on all surfaces, but what is it that we do not see? Over time, this gentle element has the ability to wear down almost any surface or solid. This is evident by how it carved the Grand Canyon, and many other forms of erosion.

Water in motion is extremely powerful, and probably the most powerful force that we know. For any volume of water that pushes up against any solid object at a reasonable speed, the object will lose the match. A fixed object would require a high amount of speed and volume to move, but water will do so under the right conditions.

So in carving channels, it's the movement of small stones, sand, and even rocks pushed by the water that perpetually grinds at the ground surface channeling deeper and deeper as it continues for eons.

Moving over any surface, it will erode all the soil eventually until it reaches solid rock, and then will continue to erode the solid surface of stone as well.
As long as there is time for it to do so, water can reshape land masses in a way that if we could fast forward what ten million years would provide, we would not recognize what was once familiar to us.

More about this author: Richard Serra

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