When raindrops fall on bare soil, much energy is suspended. Small clods of dirt are broken down by the impact of the falling drops and then splashed into the air during a rainfall.

You can see splashed soil in gardens and schoolyards, on sidewalks, on vegetables and flowers, on basement windows and picket fences. Soil erosion can be a very serious problem for farmers and gardeners.

The following is a project that will help you study splash erosion!

You will need:

2 boards: 1 inch thick, 4 inches wide and 3-1/2 feet long

White paint

2 small pieces of tin: 4 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches long

Marker

Building your Splashboards:

Ask an adult to help you assemble your splashboards.

Sharpen the end of each board so they can be pushed into the ground.

Paint each of them white. Let them dry for 2 days.

Mark lines across each board at 1-inch intervals beginning at the unsharpened end.

Attach the tin pieces (shields) to the top of each board. The shield helps to prevent rain from washing the splashed soil off the boards.

Locate 2 spots with different amounts of grass cover: examples are a nearly bare spot in a flower bed and an area in your lawn; or a spot on one side of a farm fence where the grass is heavy and one side that is bare.

Push each board into the ground about 6 inches. Check each board after it rains.

Did you know...

Raindrops fall between 7 and 18 miles per hour in still air!
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