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31 Jan

Erosion and Deposition: Action of Running Water and Groundwater

In the previous articles, we were discussing various types of endogenic and exogenic processes. We have also seen that erosion and deposition are some of the exogenic processes. In this post, we are dealing with the geomorphic agents – running water and groundwater, which causes erosion and deposition. They form various erosional (destructional) and depositional (constructional) landforms.

Even though we are considering the erosional and depositional activities and their landform creation, it should be kept in mind that they are always aided by weathering and mass movements. There are some other independent controls like (i) stability of sea level; (ii) tectonic stability of landmass; (iii) climate etc. which influence the evolution of these landforms.

What does Running Water do?

  • • Running water, which doesn’t need any further explanation, has two components: one is overland flow on the general land surface as a sheet and the other is linear flow as streams and rivers in valleys.
  • • The overland flow causes sheet erosion and depending upon the irregularities of the land surface, the overland flow may concentrate into narrow to wide paths.
  • • During the sheet erosion, minor or major quantities of materials from the surface of the land are removed in the direction of flow and gradual small and narrow rills will form.
  • • These rills will gradually develop into long and wide gullies, the gullies will further deepen, widen and lengthen and unite to give rise to a network of valleys. (Note: A valley can be formed in various ways like faulting, but here we are dealing only with the formation by means of exogenic geomorphic agent).
  • • Once a valley is formed, it later develops into a stream or river.


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