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Changing Earth’s Surface
Ms. Maus
6th Grade
Science
Wearing Down and Building Up
Weathering, erosion, and deposition act
together in a cycle that wears down and
builds up Earth’s surface.
Erosion
Erosion is the movement of pieces of rock
and other materials on Earth’s surface.
Erosion can be caused by gravity, running
water, glaciers, waves, or wind.
Sediment
Sediment is the material moved by erosion.
Sediment is made up of pieces of rock or soil
or remains of living things.
Most sediment comes from weathering.
Remember, weathering is the break down of
rock and other materials at Earth’s surface.
Deposition happens when sediment is
dropped. Dropped sediment can build up over
time and make new landforms.
Check for Understanding
Draw a line from each term to its meaning.
Meaning
Term
weathering
•
the material moved by erosion
erosion
•
the rock movement of pieces of rock
and other materials on Earth’s
surface
sediment
deposition
a) the dropping of sediment
b) the breaking down of rock and other
materials at Earth’s surface
Mass Movement

The different types of mass movement
include landslides, mudflows, slump, and
creep.
Mass Movement
Mass movement is any process that
moves sediment downhill. Mass
movement is caused by gravity.
 Gravity is the force that pulls everything
down toward Earth’s center.

Mass Movement
Landslides happen when rocks and soil
quickly slide down a deep slope.
 Mudflows happen when rocks and mud
quickly slide down a steep slope.

Mass Movement


Slump happens when a mass of rocks and
soil suddenly slides down a steep slope.
Slump is different than a landslide. The
material in slump moves down the slope in
one large mass.
Creep happens when rocks and soil move
very slowly down a hill. Creep can happen
even on gentle slopes.
Check for Understanding
1)
Any process that moves sediment
downhill is called _________________.
2) Circle the letter of the cause of mass
movement.
a) rain
b) wind
c) gravity
Mass Movement
includes
Creep
Landslides
a)
b)
Glaciers

There are two kinds of glaciers:
Continental glaciers
 Valley glaciers

Glaciers can form in an area where more
snow falls than melts.
 Once the snow and ice reaches more
than 30-40 meters, gravity begins to pull
the glacier downhill.

What is a glacier?
Huge chunk of ice that moves over the
land
 A glacier form when snow and ice build up
year after year.

Continental Glacier
Covers all or most of a continent.
 This kind of glacier moves very slowly in
all directions.
 At times, continental glaciers have
covered much of Earth’s surface. This is
called an ice age.

Valley Glacier
A long, narrow glacier in a mountain
valley.
 A valley glacier moves only down the
valley.
 A valley glacier can move faster than a
continental glacier.

Let’s make a Venn Diagram!
How Glaciers Shape the Land

The two processes by which glaciers
erode the land are plucking and
abrasions.
Plucking
The weight of a glacier can break off
pieces of rock.
 The rock pieces stick to the glacier and
become sediment.
 This is the process called plucking.

Abrasion
As the glacier moves, the sediment on the
bottom scrapes the land.
 This scraping is called abrasion.
 Abrasion can make valleys wider.
 Abrasion can also scrape away
mountainsides.
 This leaves a sharp mountain peak called
a horn.

Check Point
Match the Terms
Plucking
a) process in which sediment scrapes
the land
Abrasion
b) process in which rocks are picked
up by glaciers
True or False:
Glaciers can make valleys wider and scrape
away mountains sides.
Let’s Summarize!
The Earth has been around for a LONG
time!
 Many slow processes cause changes to
Earth’s surfaces over history.
 Water is cycled through Earth both above
ground and underground.
 Glaciers have changed Earth’s surface.

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