Field of Science

Increasing interest in studying Erosion

Erosion is a natural process in which by means of chemical, physical and biological processes rocks get dismantled and altered. Most rocks form under very different conditions then reign on Earth's surface, and they tend to adapt to these new conditions by erosion. In granite the feldspars and micas tend to be altered chemically to clay-minerals, quartz is more resistant, but also tends to decompose and will be rounded by transport and mechanical erosion. To understand erosion is not only significant for geologists, but has also significance for engineering, agriculture and so for society, for example to prevent soil degradation and limit the sedimentation in canals or reservoirs.

Here I present a German study published in 2007 that evaluates the research on “erosion” (without specifying exactly what they mean, I assume all kind of erosion in all environments).

Considering the numbers of publications dealing with the subject the United States (4.522) prevail with a large lead of 2.600 publications over the United Kingdom (1.895) and other countries. After France, with 1.264 publications, we fall under barely below the limit of 1.000 publications, with Canada (996) and Germany (983). Even summing up the remaining countries (Australia, China, Italy, Spain and Japan, with a total of 3.447) the American peak can not be reached.

Fig.2. Number of publications per country dealing with erosion between 2000-2005 (after MITTERMAIER et al. 2007).

Research and publications on erosion processes experienced in the last decade a slow but steady increase. In Germany the percentage of publications related to the subject increased by 65% between 2000 and 2005, with a total number of 213 publications in the year 2004. The worldwide average of increase in the same period is about 40%.

The greatest density of scientific publications per population can be found in New Zealand (4,3 million inhabitants), with 73 publications per 1 million inhabitants, a second group is formed by Norway (4,8), Swiss (7,7), Australia (21,9) and Denmark (5,5), followed finally by a third group comprising the United Kingdom ,Canada, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Fig.3. Publication per population, this index is a value for efficiency of the scientific process (after MITTERMAIER et al. 2007).


MITTERMAIER, B.; PLOTT, C.; TUNGER, D.; BURKARD, U. & LEXIS, H. (2007): WissdeX Erosion. (Access 24.06.2010)

Bibliometrie - Trenderkennung in der Wissenschaft (Access 24.06.2010)

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