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Simple Raindrops Can Have A Dark Side

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Released : Saturday, January 20, 2007
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There is a dark side to even the humble raindrop.
A single drop is harmless, but when billions of raindrops fall from a cloudburst onto bare soil they strike like billions of tiny hammers, dislodging tons of soil per acre which is carried away by surface runoff.
This process, called splash erosion, is of critical importance to agriculture. It is the initial stage of water erosion, which causes an estimated $27 billion in on-site economic losses in the United States annually. In addition, rain splash has played a major role over geologic time in sculpting the features of the mountains and cliffs of the world, particularly those in arid and semi-arid regions.

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