Human-caused erosion equal to that of glaciers, rivers: Study

Humans are causing erosion comparable to the world’s largest rivers and glaciers, according to a new University of B.C. study.

Humans are causing erosion comparable to the world’s largest rivers and glaciers, according to a new University of B.C. study.

Researchers found that large-scale farming projects are reshaping the planet. They also found that — contrary to previous scholarship — rivers are as powerful as glaciers at eroding landscapes.

“Our initial goal was to investigate the scientific claim that rivers are less erosive than glaciers,” said Michele Koppes, a geography professor at UBC.

“But while exploring that, we found that many of the areas currently experiencing the highest rates of erosion are being caused by climate change and human activity such as modern agriculture.”

In some cases, the researchers found large-scale farming eroded lowland agricultural fields at rates comparable to glaciers and rivers in the most tectonically active mountain belts.

The study was published online in the journal Nature Geosciences.

 
 
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