Experiment Erosion - Water

Download the printable Experiment Sheet here.

Erosion is the relocation of sediment, be it weathered rocks and minerals, organic materials, or even dissolved material, from one place to another to be re-deposited elsewhere as a new sediment deposit. Erosion can be accomplished via wind, ice or water and is responsible for the reshaping of much of the exposed landscape.

Water erosion is the most prominent form of erosion in terms of volume of sediment moved, and the process is an important part of the formation of many landforms we live near. Canyons, cliffs, waterfalls, natural bridges, even river dunes are all made in large part by water erosion.

You can see how water erosion works in this easy experiment. 

Materials:

Sand, Fine to Medium Grained

Water

  1. Make a pile of sand on a table, and add enough water to cause the grains to stick together. 
  2. Pour water onto your new “rock” and observe how grains are "picked up" and moved from one spot to another. 
  3. Notice how as sand is removed, a hole or "canyon' is formed This also happens in nature, as canyons or arroys form when water removes sediment that has weathered from rocks.

    Questions to consider:
  • How did the addition of water effect the sand?
  • What do you think the effect would be on a harder rock?
  • What do you think would happen over a long period of time?

Examples of Landforms from Erosion

Canyon

Natural Bridge

Sand Dune in a River

Cliff

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