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MAKING A BIT OF EROSION

We'll go outside and do a simple experiment to see how some landforms are "made." Fill several flower pots or cans with loose soil until the soil is just level with the edges.
Let's also build a little hill by piling up some soil and compacting it with our hands, so that the surface is hard in some places, and softer in other places. Place some small
stones or bottle caps on the surface of the soil.

Water them, using a watering can to simulate rain, gradually increasing the flow. When you are finished, note how the unprotected soil has splashed away (eroded), leaving columns of soil under the stones.

Did the erosion on the little hill form a sort of "fan" shape at the very bottom of the hill and a little beyond? That is called an "alluvial fan." (Say "al-LOOV-ee-al.")

After a rain, look for the same or similar effects in unplanted areas. There are many rocky mountain and canyon areas where swiftly-moving water or wind has eroded some soil from beneath large rocks and left the rocks at the top of columns. Erosion makes many interesting and beautiful landforms.

 
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