I would like to thank my family for the assistance they gave me in the acquisition of data that helped in the compilation of this research. I would also like to thank my instructor for the support and encouragement that made me conduct this research.
The effects of weathering, erosion, and mass movements have seen the attention of geographers shift to these processes and interventions are in place to prevent their occurrence. While focusing on the research conducted to determine the effects of the three processes, this research paper entails a research focus, research methods used, findings of the research, as well as conclusions and recommendations.
Weathering, erosion, and mass movements
Weathering, erosion, and mass movement are all common geographical processes, which involve the removal and deposition of materials at or near the surface of the earth. The occurrence of the three processes at or near the surface of the earth results in landscape changes, which are regarded as effects of the mentioned processes. First, weathering is defined as the physical disintegration or the chemical alteration of rocks either at or near the surface of the earth (Goudie, 2004). Erosion refers to the physical, biological, or chemical removal of materials from the surface of the earth, and these materials are then transported from one place to another by gravity, ice, water, or wind (Goudie, 2004). On the other hand, mass movement is the movement of soil or rock materials down a slope due to the influence of gravity (Goudie, 2004). It is argued that the three processes have both positive and adverse effects on human beings and the environment. Some of adverse impacts of these processes are that they result in the loss of life and the destruction of property. The aim of this research was to determine the effects of weathering, erosion, and mass movement.
Research Methods Used
Data for this study was collected through the use of questionnaires, which were developed by the research team and presented to the study participants. The questionnaires were divided into two sections; section 1 had closed questions that required the participants to give yes/no responses whereas section 2 contained open-ended questions that required the participants to give their opinions regarding the effects of weathering, erosion, and mass movement on human beings and the environment in general. In section 1 of the questionnaires, the respondents were asked to tick either yes or no whether they agreed with the facts regarding the effects of the three processes indicated on the questionnaire. In section 2, the respondents were asked to give the specific consequences of the three processes on human beings and how the resultant features from the processes impacted the environment.
The respondents involved in this study were individuals living around Cheaha Mountain in the US state of Alabama. The sampling technique that was used to sample the respondents was non-probability, and this helped in the collection of primary data. The research team had three members, and each had the responsibility of distributing one questionnaire to each member of the sample. For confidentiality purposes, other than a questionnaire, respondents were issued with stamped envelopes in which they were to put their questionnaires once completed. Duplication of the responses was eliminated through controls.
After collection of data, simple statistical analysis techniques helped in the tabulation of the data results. The analysis of the primary data leveraged on a percent of the response, which was computed by dividing the number of response to every choice by the total number of respondents who responded to the question.
Findings of the Research
13 respondents took part in the study, and the number of participants who were and those who were not in agreement with the fact that erosion, weathering, and mass movement have an impact on human beings and the general environment is as follows.
|Impacts human beings
|Affects the general environment
Other than determining the exact number of those who were in agreement with the impact of the processes on human beings and the general environment and those who were not, respondents gave different opinions regarding the effects of the processes on people and the general environment. Below are responses from three sampled participants:
- This participant indicated that erosion adds toxic organic materials and metals to the soil which affect the health of humans who feed on farm produce.
- This participant indicated that constant erosion results in the ruggedness of the land surface.
- This participant indicated that erosion interferes with agricultural land.
- This participant indicated that weathering causes damage to human infrastructure, such as buildings and also damages crops.
- This participant indicated that weathering interferes with agricultural land.
- This participant indicated that weathering weakens rocks making construction difficult for humans.
- This participant indicated that weathering helps breakdown parent rock material resulting in the formation of soil that is used for agricultural purposes by humans.
- This participant indicated that mass movement can lead to the damage of infrastructure as well as telecommunication systems.
- This participant indicated that mass movement can lead to the loss of human life when large rocks or boulders move from the top of slopes and move downwards.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Based on the research findings, several conclusions concerning the effects of weathering, erosion and mass movement can be drawn. First, it can be noted that erosion, weathering, and mass movement cause damage to human infrastructure, such as buildings and roads as well as telecommunication systems. Second, from the research findings, it is imperative to note that weathering, erosion, and mass movement result in the removal of the top soil surface, and thus interfere with agricultural land (Blaschke et al, 2000). Third, from the findings it can be concluded that continuous erosion, weathering, and mass movement cause the removal of rocks or boulders from the soil, which in the long run result in land dereliction. Fourth, it is important to note that weathering, erosion, and mass movement have an adverse impact on the lives of human beings as they can cause the loss of life. Erosion can cause the loss of human life by adding toxic materials that contaminate the soil and water, which if later consumed result in health complications and eventual death. Weathering causes the removal of rock layers, which if occurs continuously, results in the movement of rocks and boulders down the slope and may cause death. Mass movement takes place when rock materials move down the slope due to the influence of gravity, and might eventually result in loss of life (Migoń, 2010).
It is important for people to prevent the occurrence of erosion, weathering, and mass movement. As such, some of the recommendations are as follows:
- People should embrace the construction of terraces and gabions to prevent erosion.
- People should embrace afforestation, which is the planting of trees to cover the ground, and this will, in the long run, prevent erosion, weathering, and mass movement.
- To prevent erosion, people should avoid downslope cultivation but rather embrace cultivation along contours.
- Mass movement is common in sloppy areas, and thus to prevent unnecessary deaths, people should refrain from settling in sloppy areas.
- People should avoid practices such as overgrazing, which results in erosion and weathering.
Blaschke, P. M., Trustrum, N. A., & Hicks, D. L. (2000). Impacts of mass movement erosion on land productivity: a review. Progress in Physical Geography, 24(1), 21-52.
Goudie, A. (2004). Encyclopedia of geomorphology (Vol. 2). Psychology Press.
Migoń, P. (2010). Geomorphological landscapes of the world. New York: Springer.