What is Erosion?

Erosion is the process that breaks things down. It can happen when big waves hit the shoreline, when huge winds whip over a farmer’s field or when thousands of years of rain hit big boulders and turn them into small, smooth pebbles. The energy in the water or the wind MOVES or CHANGES the rocks, soil or sand from one form to another.

With erosion, boulders become sand; mountains become hills – the pieces of the mountain become smaller pieces and go down the sides of the hills. On our shorelines, rock is eroded away over thousands of years when waves continuously crash against them. During one big storm, sand on a shoreline can be swept away by waves and moved to another place – sand is much easier to move than rock.

What makes Waves?


When wind blows over the lake, it loses some of its energy, but that energy is taken up by the water and ends up as a wave. Stronger winds cause larger waves. When the wave hits the shore, all that energy has to go somewhere and can result in erosion….you can see it when rocks break away from a hard shore or sand moves around on a soft shore.


Waves are also caused by boating, wakeboarding, tubing or waterskiing. Look behind you next time you’re out on the lake and watch where your wake goes when you are driving close to shore. Your wake could be causing erosion AND it could be disturbing or even destroying loon nests or turtle eggs that have been laid on shore.