It’s a scientific fact that humans are one of the most dangerous enemies of planet Earth. Human activities, such as agriculture and cutting down entire forests have a destroying impact on the erosion of the soil. Humans would do to the soil in a few decades what nature could, over the passing of thousands of years.
The soils is a non renewable natural resource that once its affected by erosion, it cannot be restored. The erosion of the soils is a permanent process of changes of the main consistency of the soil. Hundreds of years ago, the American landscape had a totally different appearance. Things started to lose control in the 1700s after the European people came over and settled. The farming and clearing of trees was the beginning of the changes yet to come. The mission of geologists is not an easy one at all. They have to accurately calculate the soil’s natural rate of erosion and how much human activities have speed up the process.
New researches on the rivers Roanoke, Savanna and Chattahoochee plus on seven more large river basins in the south eastern parts of the United States, have helped scientists to calculate a more precise rate of the erosion of the soil.
The results showed that the erosion of the hill slope before the Europeans settled was around one inch at every 2,500 years. As people hves started to make use of the land, reaching its high at the end of the 1800s, beginning of 1900s, the erosion rate had turned 180 degrees, increasing to one inch at every 25 years. A difference of more than 100 times bigger, said researcher Paul Bierman.
The main factor which causes the speed up of the soil erosion is the removal of vegetation. Scientists collected river sediments samples and analyzed the quartz. Out of the quartz they extracted beryllium and calculated the quantity it had accumulated. Beryllium builds up are directly proportionate with the rate of erosion, the slower the rate, the bigger the beryllium quantities.
Due to the human intervention, scientists cannot get an accurate estimation of what nature could do by itself but with the help of beryllium researchers were able to see the soil beyond the “human touch” and get a grip on how nature runs Earth compared to how humans do it.
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