Erosion is a broadly defined group of processes involving the movement of soil and rock. This movement is often the result of flowing agents, whether wind, water, or ice, which sometimes behaves like a fluid in the large mass of a glacier. Gravitational pull may also influence erosion. Thus, erosion, as a concept in the earth sciences, overlaps with mass wasting or mass movement, the transfer of earth material down slopes as a result of gravitational force. Even more closely related to erosion is weathering, the breakdown of rocks and minerals at or near the surface of Earth owing to physical, chemical, or biological processes. Some definitions of erosion even include weathering as an erosive process. Though most widely known as a by-product of irresponsible land use by humans and for its negative effect on landforms, erosion is neither unnatural nor without benefit. Far more erosion occurs naturally than as a result of land development, and a combination of weathering and erosion is responsible for producing the soil from which Earth's plants grow.

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