Processing, please wait...
It was processed successfully!
It was processed successfully!
Login Create Free Account
Create Free Account

Water Erosion Definition

Water erosion is the process where water carries soil, changing land shape over time. Rainfall, surface runoff, rivers, and oceans all shape the land with water.

View Lesson on Changing the Shape of Land
Grades K-2 VideoChanging the Shape of Land player orange
Preview Only
Oops! It looks like your security settings are blocking this video 🙁

If you are on a school computer or network, ask your tech person to whitelist these URLs:
*.wistia.com, fast.wistia.com, fast.wistia.net, embedwistia-a.akamaihd.net

Sometimes a simple refresh solves this issue. If you need further help, contact us.


Changing the Shape of Land

Fun Facts

  • Water erosion usually takes a long time, but can also happen fast such as in a flood.
  • Plants' roots holding soil in place and mulch covering soil slow down water erosion.
  • Scientists estimate that the Colorado River has been eroding the Grand Canyon for about 5-6 million years!

Why Do We Need To Know About Water Erosion

Learning about water erosion helps us see how it changes our world and why it’s important to take care of it. Water erosion can make farming harder and affect our cities and landmarks. By understanding it, we can find jobs in areas like earth science, protecting the environment, building strong structures, and managing coastlines.

People in these jobs work to keep our land, buildings, and natural areas safe from water damage. For example, people can prevent erosion by building dams and improving drainage. This helps both nature and people.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can wind change the shape of the land?
Wind can carry soil across a distance, such as sand dunes forming or being blown away. This is called wind erosion.
How can water change the shape of the land?
Water can carry tiny pieces of the Earth’s surface downstream, like how the Grand Canyon was formed by the flowing water of the Colorado River.
What are some examples of erosion?
Wind breaking down rocks and carrying the particles away is an example of erosion. You can also see how over time a river carries soil downstream and makes rocks in the river smoother.
Explore More Science Topics
We’ve sent you an email with instructions how to reset your password.
Choose Your Free Trial Period
3 Days

3 days to access to all of our teaching resources for free.

Continue to Lessons
30 Days

Get 30 days free by inviting other teachers to try it too.

Share with Teachers
Get 30 Days Free
By inviting 4 other teachers to try it too.
4 required

*only school emails accepted.

Skip, I will use a 3 day free trial

Thank You!

Enjoy your free 30 days trial