Mass wasting is the movement of soil or rock particles down a slope over a certain period. Mass movement is of the basic land formation processes that determine the formation of various land features. Mass wasting has resulted in the formation of various land shapes and affected the quality of the lives of people living in various places. Mass wasting is a process that can be influenced by both natural and human factors. The natural processes of the earth can influence mass wasting, but human activities can catalyze the speed by which mass wasting takes place. Some of the natural factors that affect mass wasting include volcanic activities in the soil, earthquakes and water movements. Human activities that might catalyze mass movement include cultivation and the use of heavy machinery. Among the many forms of mass movement, the soil creep is the slowest form of mass movement. The effects of creep mass movement are seen after a long time. Creeping occurs because of the consistent changes in climate during the season changes. The constant expansion and contraction of the soil particles cause them to weaken, erode, and gradually move the terrain of the earth surface downhill. Despite their slow movement and little interference with the human activities on earth, their effects can be harmful over a long time.
The rate of the down creep of the soil depends on the gradient of the slope. The plants and building on the slope face are altered during the sloping gradual process of the creep. The effects might not be immediate but over a long period, they are clear. One of the major effects of the creep is that it damages buildings. Buildings that are built on slopes become weaker as the mass slides downhill. These buildings develop cracks and risk falling. Buildings on such slopes risk falling as the erosion continues to take place. They have to consider rebuilding their houses after their houses fall. Creeping reduces the durability of houses at a considerable rate.
Creeping also causes the bending and weakening of post and power lines. Over a long period, the bending of power lines can lead posts is the most common evidence of creeping. Over time, the creeping causes the loosening of the power lines making them risky. If these power lines are not repaired and replaced, they eventually fall. Human activities taking place on the surface of the creep may determine the pace at which creeping takes place. In cases where land is bare and has less vegetation, creeping happens much faster, and the effects are more visible.
Over a long time, creeping causes the breaking away of terrains. Although creeping is a gradual process, it makes the land vulnerable to other forms of mass wasting and risks the lives of the people living therein. The causes of creeping cause the soil particles to become loose and free from each other. The loosening of these soil particles makes the land vulnerable to other forms of rapid mass wasting if exposed to the right conditions. For instance a slope where creeping has weakened the soil particles can fall easily in the presence of heavy water flow or glacier movements. Creeping is one of the forms of mass wasting considered harmless because of the long duration it takes for its effects to become visible. However, measures that can prevent creeping can help in the prevention of the ultimate damage to the environment. The slow wasting away of the land surface will have a great impact on the lives of the people in the future.
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