Erosion by Wind: Principles

Authored by: Larry D. Stetler

Managing Soils and Terrestrial Systems

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138342651
eBook ISBN: 9780429346255
Adobe ISBN:


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Erosion of sediment and soil by wind arises when the kinetic energy in the passing airstream exceeds the energy employed in adhering the grain to the surface. Initial grain motion is achieved at this instant and the grain will be transported in saltation as a series of short hops along the surface. Each time the grain impacts the surface, additional grains are released into the flow until at some distance downwind the carrying capacity of the wind is reached. From this point on, the mass of sediment in transport remains relatively constant; e.g., it is self-balanced. However, mass is lost from the process primarily through deposition of heavy particles behind surface roughness elements. In addition, suspendable particles of fine dust are released vertically through the saltation layer. Many additional factors, such as climate and surface conditions, complicate the simple mechanics involved.

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