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Although we can’t see it, wind is a powerful force that affects the Earth’s surface all the time. In this lesson, you will learn what wind erosion is, what types there are, and some of the awesome features created by wind erosion.

What Is Wind Erosion?

Have you ever heard of Invisible Woman? This Fantastic Four superhero can make herself unseen to others while she saves people or destroys supervillains. Did you know that nature has an invisible superhero of its own called wind. Wind affects the land through a process called wind erosion, which breaks up land and then carries that land debris (like dirt and bits of rock) to other places. Wind erosion can create and destroy landforms.

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Types of Wind Erosion

There are different types of wind erosion, each based on how the particles of rock, dirt or other debris are moved from one place to another. Let’s take a look at the three main types of win erosion:

  1. Creep involves larger particles of soil rolling or sliding along the ground’s surface. (Think of dirt creeping along the ground.

    )

  2. Saltation is when the wind causes particles (usually dirt) to bounce along the surface of the ground. Most soil is moved by wind through this method.
  3. Suspension occurs when the smallest particles are lifted up and sit suspended in the air, like when dust floats in the air.

    The wind comes and carries these particles long distances–we’re talking up to hundreds of miles!

The types of wind erosion are based on how the wind carries the particles. (1=Creep, 2=Saltation, 3=Suspension, and 4=Wind current.)
Ventifact
ventifact

Another interesting aeolian landform is the yardang, a thumb-shaped piece of bedrock that’s created when wind erodes pieces of rock away from it and also blows sand against it.

When you look at a yardang, you can tell which way the wind blows there, because it looks like it’s leaning forward.

Yardang
Yardang

Lesson summary

Wind erosion causes the breakdown and movement of rocks and other land debris by the wind’s force. The three types of wind erosion include saltation, creep and suspension. Wind erosion is responsible for aeolian landforms like ergs, yardangs and ventifacts.

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