Definition - What does Attrition mean?

Attrition is a type of erosion that occurs when bed load erodes. It is characterized by wearing of land as well as the removal of dune sediments, rocks and other particles by the action of tidal currents, wave currents, high winds and other factors.

In attrition, rocks and other particles are carried downstream throughout river beds. This kind of movement causes these particles to be broken into tinier fragments. This phenomenon can also take place in glaciated regions, where attrition is typically caused by ice movement.

Corrosionpedia explains Attrition

Attrition is a destructive process that wears away coastal regions. In this process, waves and other activities cause pebbles and rocks to bump against each other, resulting in fragmentation.

Attrition can produce both non-dramatic and dramatic erosion in regions where coastlines have fracture zones or rock layers with unstable erosion resistance. Typically, softer regions erode faster than harder areas. This leads to the formation of pillars, columns, bridges and tunnels. In some cases, abrasion also occurs in regions that have loose sand, strong winds and soft rocks.

The capacity of waves, currents and other variables to cause attrition depends on different factors. For instance, attrition can be controlled by the strength of rock and the existence of fractures and fissures. Other factors include fall debris rates that also depend on wave strength.

To control attrition, various measures can be employed such as the construction of seawalls. Other strategies include nourishment of coastal areas and using sandbags.

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