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Wind Erosion Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Dacia Upkins

Dacia has taught all core elementary subjects for 14 years with a Master's degree in Urban Teacher Leadership.

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.

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.)
wind erosion types

Wind-erful Landforms

When wind erodes the Earth's surface, all kinds of cool landforms can be created. Landforms created by wind erosion are called aeolian landforms (aeolian is pronounced EE-OH-LEE-AN).

Sand dunes are the most commonly known aeolian landform. Since they're made of such small granules of sand, they change form frequently due to wind. Many people don't know this, but not all deserts are filled with sand (for example, some are made of gravel). The ones that are made of sand have a special name: erg. An erg is a very large area that is filled with wind-blown sand.

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