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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Fryrear, Donald

Submitted to: Handbook of Soil Science
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Wind erodes the land surface producing surface features like yardangs, ventifacts, pedestal rocks, blowouts, ergs, dunes, lag deposits, desert pavement and desert armor. On every continent, landscape features document the persistence and magnitude of wind forces. Wind erosion can remove the entire nutrient-rich soil surface. In the wind erosion process, soil particles are removed leaving coarse particles on the eroded surface. The loss of wind eroded soil from agricultural lands degrades the soils in the source area, deteriorates the atmosphere in the transport area, and impacts citizenry throughout the depositional area. Proven wind erosion control practices include deep plowing to increase the clay content of the surface soil, roughening the surface with soil ridges, straw barriers in a checkerboard pattern, shelterbelts to reduce wind speeds, erosion, and evaporation losses, and surface residues.

Technical Abstract: Wind erosion is one of the basic geological processes that shape and mold the landscape. Deep deposits of rich loess soil are evidence that wind erosion and deposition have played a major role in transforming earth. Research on wind erosion began in the 1700's and continues today. This research is aimed at understanding the mechanics of wind erosion, measuring the products of erosion, and modeling the processes. Progress has been made in modeling wind erosion with WEQ, but WEQ represents mature technology. New models (WEAM, TEAM, RWEQ, and WEPS) are much more flexible and reflect new science not available in WEQ. These models represent the current knowledge of wind erosion mechanics but will be improved as new studies are conducted. Field erosion measuring techniques have progressed to the point where it is possible to detect the moment soil erosion begins. With these field samples the vertical and horizontal distribution of eroded material within an eroding field can be described. These field data permit the verification of estimated erosion. The new model permits designing erosion control systems that effectively utilize the available resources.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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