What is mass wasting?
Mass wasting is a geomorphic process. It refers to the movement of soil and rock that lie on a slope due to the pull of gravity. Mass wasting can occur slowly over several hundred years or if the conditions are right can take place in the time span of a few minutes.
Soil and rock that lies on a rock is kept in place by forces of cohesion. These include the forces of friction and biological growth. When the angle of the slope changes or there are other triggers like seismic activity or heavy rainfall, the cohesive forces are no longer able to resist the gravitational pull of attraction which leads to the soil and rock sliding downwards.
Examples of mass wasting are landslides, rockslides, growth of natural dam structures, etc.
Mass wasting, also known as slope movement or mass movement, is the geomorphic process by which soil, sand, regolith, and rock move downslope typicaly as a mass, largely under the force of gravity, but frequently affected by water and water content as in submarine environments and mudslides. Types of mass wasting include creep, slides, flows, topples, and falls, each with its own characteristic features, and taking place over timescales from seconds to years. Mass wasting occurs on both terrestrial and submarine slopes, and has been observed on Earth, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter's moon Io.