Denudation, Weathering, Mass Wasting and Erosion

Denudation – this includes all processes of weathering, mass movement, transportation and the natural agents of erosion through which the earth’s surface is reduced. (also termed degradation)

Erosion – is the process of earth sculpting by natural agents such as running water, ice, wind and waves.


Weathering – this is the process whereby rocks exposed to the weather are broken up, altered, decayed or disintegrate into soil in situ, that is, at or near the surface of the earth. The rock is broken up into its constituent minerals or particles but this is a slow and timeless process. The unconsolidated weathered materials which accumulate are termed regolith or saprolith. They are the main products of weathering. The weathered materials are later removed or transported (i) through the action of mass movement and or (ii) by moving agents such as wind , water, ice and waves.



Mass Wasting – is a movement in which bed rock, rock debris, or soil moves downslope in bulk, or as a mass, because of the pull of gravity. Landslides is a general term for the slow-to-very rapid descent of rock or soil.

Types of Mass Wasting

Flow – The debris is moving downslope as a viscous fluid. A mudflow is a flowing mixture of debris and water, usually moving down a channel.

Slump – involves movement along a curved surface, the upper part moving downward while the lower part moves outward.

Slide – A descending rock mass remaining relatively coherent, moving along one or more well defined surfaces. A rock slide is the rapid sliding of a mass of bed rock along an inclined surface of weakness. such as bedding plane or a major fracture. In contrast, a rock avalanche is a very rapidly moving, turbulent mass of broken-up bed rock.

Fall – occurs when material free-falls or bounces down a cliff.


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