4 physical factors that affect mass wasting

Mass wasting, also known as slope movement or mass movement, is the geomorphic process by which soil, sand, regolith, and rock move downslope typically as a mass, largely under the force of gravity, but frequently affected by water and water content as in submarine environments and mudslides.

The following are physical factors that enhance the movement of materials down the slope in other words mass wasting

  • Nature of materials, Heavy and large materials move faster on a slope as they are more likely to be overcome by gravity thinly bedded layers have a tendency to move faster.
  • The angle of the slope, the steeper the slope, the faster the rate of movement also when rocks are dipping steeply, movement is faster.

  • Climatic factors (amount of water), the more saturated the material is the more likely it is to move as water adds weight and acts as lubricants also alternate freezing and thawing encourages movement. Bare surfaces are more likely to experience mass wastage because there is no vegetation to bind the materials together
  • Earth movements, earth movements (volcanic eruptions and isostatic adjustments) cause vibrations which may trigger widespread movement of weathered rock materials

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