Soil erosion is a naturally occurring phenomenon when wind, water or other elements either break down or move geological features. Erosion is a natural process that can be accelerated with human or animal interference. Soil erosion experiments teach students about erosion, how it happens and how to prevent erosion.
For this soil erosion experiment, you need a paint-roller pan, a measuring cup, water, six cups of aquarium gravel, a ruler and 3 pounds of sand. Pour 5 cups of sand into the paint-roller pan and build up a small beach at the shallow end of the pan. Pour in 5 cups of water in the deep end of the pan and let sit 5 minutes. Take a picture of your beach. Place a pencil in the water and let it bob for about 2 minutes. The pencil will create waves that will erode the model beach. Take a picture of your beach again. Repeat taking pictures and bobbing the pencil five times. Look at the sequence of pictures that show erosion over time.
To find out which liquid would erode limestone the most, you would need three pieces of limestone that are roughly the same size. Weigh the pieces of limestone and immerse them totally into three different containers. One container should contain hydrochloric acid, the other vinegar and the last one water. After the liquid has evaporated totally from all three containers, weigh the limestone pieces again. The weight of the limestone before immersion minus the weight after evaporation will equal the amount of residue that has eroded. The conclusion should be that the higher the pH in the liquid, the more erosion will take place.
Collect different types of soils from your local area. Make sure they are different in texture. Place a cup of each kind of soil into a container. The containers need to be the same size. Weigh and mark each container with the weight. Pour 1 cup of water slowly on each sample. Wait 30 minutes and slowly pour off the water into a measuring cup. You will see that some soil will retain more water than others. Collect your data. Your conclusion should be that the higher the gravel content of the soil, the higher the absorption.
Build a small hill, about 3 feet high, out of sand or soil. Place a rock about the size of a shoe on top of the hill. Measure the angle of the slope from top to bottom on three sides of the hill. Mark the place where the angles are measured. Measure the circumference of the base of the hill. Write down the data. Each day, measure and collect data on the hill the same as you did at the beginning. As time goes by, you will see the base expand and the angles of the hill grow smaller.