Difference Between Erosion and Deposition

Erosion vs Deposition

The physical features of the surface of the earth keep on changing all time on geological time scale. This is how we see mountains, valleys, plains, rivers and other relief features. These topographical features are a result of natural geological processes called erosion and deposition. These are closely related concepts though totally opposite to each other. This is why there is confusion in the minds of many students of physical geography. This article attempts to clarify the doubts regarding natural processes called erosion and deposition. Let us take a closer look.

The movement of rock pieces from one place to another, once they have been loosened by the action of physical or chemical weathering, is known as erosion. Erosion it is that is responsible for many of the relief features that we see on the surface of earth. Small pieces of rocks, sediment, and even soil are moved away by the action of natural geological agents such as flowing water, blowing winds and melting ice of glaciers under the influence of gravity. Most of the relief features such as hills and valleys are a result of erosion that is a constant, continuous process that goes on unabated in nature. Thus, in simplest of words, erosion is removal of loosened rock pieces from a higher elevation to a lowly point with the action of natural agents.

The process of erosion is complete when the journey of all particles falling and flowing under gravity is done with and all the sedimentation gets deposited and settles on the surface. This is the process of deposition that is technically speaking a part of the process of erosion. If erosion can be thought of as a sequence, it includes detachment, entrainment, transport, and finally deposition. Detachment is end process of weathering that finally results in loosening of rock particles. Entrainment refers to the actual transport of these particles through a natural agent such as water, wind or melting ice that slides down at some speed because of the action of action of gravity.

Deposition of sediments along the surface of earth creates relief features such as hills, plateaus, valleys, plains, slopes, and so on. One can see the effect of continuous deposition at a place in the way colors of layers of rocks change one over the other. It is through carbon dating that one can get to know about the ages of various rock layers that are deposited at a place over thousands of years.

In brief:

Difference Between Erosion and Deposition

• Erosion and deposition are continuous geological process that are natural and result in relief features seen over the surface of earth

• If erosion is seen as a sequence of events, deposition takes place at last when the rock particles finally settle down on the surface of earth.

• Erosion is the movement of rock particles once they have been loosened by the action of natural agents of weather and others like roots of plants.