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Mass Wasting Lesson

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What is Mass Wasting?

Mass wasting is the downslope movement of rock, regolith, and soil under the direct influence of gravity. It is also the step that follows weathering. The combined effects of mass wasting and erosion by running water produce stream valleys.

Location, Location, Location

Mass wasting events occur in every state and U.S. territory. Nearly all occur in mountainous regions. What causes these events? Basically weak or fractured materials + steep slope = landslides.

Not all mass wasting events occur in hilly or mountainous areas. Flat areas may not be as stable as they appear due to:

Flat land problems are amplified on hillsides

The Origins of Mass Wasting

There are many possible reasons behind why a slope might fail, but the number one cause is gravity. But there are other factors, which include: