weathering

Weathering explains the breaking down or dissolving of rocks and minerals on the surface of the Earth. Water, ice, acids, salts, plants, animals, and changes in temperature room all agents the weathering.

You are watching: The process called involves physical forces that break rock into smaller pieces


Weathering explains the breaking under or dissolve of rocks and also minerals on the surface ar of the Earth. Water, ice, acids, salts, plants, animals, and changes in temperature space all agents the weathering.
Once a rock has actually been damaged down, a process called erosion transports the bits the rock and mineral away. No rock on earth is hard sufficient to resist the forces of weathering and also erosion. Together, these processes sculpted landmarks such as the cool Canyon, in the U.S. State the Arizona. This massive canyon is 446 kilometers (277 miles) long, as much as 29 kilometers (18 miles) wide, and 1,600 meters (1 mile) deep.
Weathering and erosion constantly adjust the rocky see of Earth. Weathering wears away exposed surfaces end time. The size of exposure frequently contributes come how breakable a rock is come weathering. Rocks, such together lavas, that space quickly hidden beneath various other rocks are less breakable to weathering and erosion than rocks that are exposed come agents such as wind and water.
As that smoothes rough, sharp rock surfaces, weathering is regularly the an initial step in the manufacturing of soils. Small bits of weathering minerals mix through plants, pet remains, fungi, bacteria, and also other organisms. A single kind of weathering rock often produces infertile soil, while weathered products from a collection of rocks is richer in mineral diversity and also contributes to an ext fertile soil. Soils types associated through a mixture of weathering rock include glacial till, loess, and also alluvial sediments.
Weathering is often split into the processes of mechanically weathering and also chemical weathering. Biological weathering, in which life or once-living organisms add to weathering, can be a component of both processes.
Water, in either liquid or solid form, is frequently a crucial agent of mechanically weathering. For instance, fluid water have the right to seep right into cracks and also crevices in rock. If temperatures drop low enough, the water will freeze. When water freezes, it expands. The ice cream then works as a wedge. It gradually widens the cracks and splits the rock. When ice melts, liquid water performs the action of erosion by transferring away the small rock fragments lost in the split. This specific process (the freeze-thaw cycle) is referred to as frost weathering or cryofracturing.
Temperature transforms can additionally contribute to mechanical weathering in a process called heat stress. Changes in temperature reason rock to broaden (with heat) and contract (with cold). As this happens over and over again, the structure of the absent weakens. End time, that crumbles. Rocky desert landscapes are an especially vulnerable to thermal stress. The outer layer of desert rocks undergo repetitive stress together the temperature alters from day to night. Eventually, outer layers flake turn off in thin sheets, a procedure called exfoliation.
Exfoliation contributes come the development ofbornhardts, among the most dramatic functions in landscapes developed by weathering and also erosion. Bornhardts space tall, domed, isolated rocks often found in tropic areas. Sugarloaf Mountain, an top landmark in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is a bornhardt.
Changes in press can likewise contribute to exfoliation as result of weathering. In a process called unloading, overlying products are removed. The underlying rocks, exit from overlying pressure, can then expand. As the rock surface ar expands, that becomes delicate to fracturing in a procedure called sheeting.
Another form of mechanically weathering occurs when clay or other products near absent absorb water. Clay, much more porous than rock, deserve to swell with water, weathering the surrounding, more tough rock.
Salt also works to weather absent in a process called haloclasty. Saltwater sometimes gets into the cracks and pores of rock. If the saltwater evaporates, salt crystals space left behind. Together the crystals grow, lock put push on the rock, progressively breaking that apart.
Honeycomb weathering is connected with haloclasty. As its name implies, honeycomb weathering describes rock formations through hundreds or even thousands of pits developed by the development of salt crystals. Honeycomb weathering is typical in seaside areas, whereby sea sprays constantly force rocks to connect with salts.
Haloclasty is not restricted to coastal landscapes. Salt upwelling, the geologic process in which secret salt domes expand, can contribute to weathering of the overlying rock. Frameworks in the ancient city of Petra, Jordan, to be made unstable and often fell down due come salt upwelling native the ground below.
Plants and also animals can be agents of mechanical weathering. The seed of a tree might sprout in soil the has gathered in a cracked rock. As the roots grow, lock widen the cracks, at some point breaking the rock right into pieces. End time, trees can break personally even huge rocks. Even little plants, such as mosses, deserve to enlarge tiny cracks as they grow.
Animals that tunnel underground, such together moles and also prairie dogs, additionally work to rest apart rock and also soil. Other pets dig and also trample rock aboveground, leading to rock to gradually crumble.
For instance, carbon dioxide indigenous the wait or soil occasionally combines v water in a procedure called carbonation. This produces a weak acid, referred to as carbonic acid, that have the right to dissolve rock. Carbonic acid is especially reliable at dissolve limestone. As soon as carbonic acid seeps with limestone underground, it have the right to open up large cracks or hollow out substantial networks the caves.
Carlsbad Caverns national Park, in the U.S. State of brand-new Mexico, includes more than 119 limestone caves created by weathering and erosion. The largest is called the huge Room. V an area of around 33,210 square meter (357,469 square feet), the huge Room is the size of six football fields.
Sometimes, chemical weathering dissolves huge portions the limestone or various other rock top top the surface ar of the earth to type a landscape referred to as karst. In this areas, the surface ar rock is pockmarked v holes, sinkholes, and caves. Among the world’s most spectacular instances of karst is Shilin, or the stone Forest, near Kunming, China. Numerous slender, sharp towers of weathered limestone rise from the landscape.
Another type of chemical weathering functions on rocks the contain iron. These rocks turn to rust in a process called oxidation. Rust is a compound created by the interaction of oxygen and iron in the visibility of water. Together rust expands, it weakens rock and also helps rest it apart.
Hydration is a type of chemical weathering in which the chemical bonds of the mineral are adjusted as it interacts with water. One instance of hydration occurs as the mineral anhydrite reacts with groundwater. The water transforms anhydrite right into gypsum, one of the most typical minerals ~ above Earth.
Another familiar form of chemical weathering is hydrolysis. In the procedure of hydrolysis, a new solution (a mixture of two or an ext substances) is formed as chemistry in rock interact with water. In many rocks, because that example, sodium minerals interact with water to form a saltwater solution.
Hydration and hydrolysis add to flared slopes, another dramatic example of a landscape created by weathering and also erosion. Flared slopes are concave absent formations periodically nicknamed “wave rocks.” their c-shape is mostly a result of subsurface weathering, in i m sorry hydration and also hydrolysis wear away rocks in ~ the landscape’s surface.
Living or once-living organisms can also be agents of chemistry weathering. The decaying continues to be of plants and some fungi form carbonic acid, which can weaken and dissolve rock. Part bacteria can weather rock in stimulate to access nutrients such as magnesium or potassium.
Clay minerals, consisting of quartz, are among the most usual byproducts of chemistry weathering. Clays do up about 40% of the chemistry in all sedimentary rocks ~ above Earth.
For example, specific kinds of wait pollution increase the price of weathering. Burning coal, natural gas, and petroleum releases chemistry such as nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide right into the atmosphere. As soon as these chemicals integrate with sunlight and moisture, they adjust into acids. They climate fall back to planet as mountain rain.
Acid rain swiftly weathers limestone, marble, and other kinds of stone. The results of acid rain can frequently be watched on gravestones, making names and other inscriptions impossible to read.
Acid rain has likewise damaged countless historic buildings and monuments. Because that example, in ~ 71 meters (233 feet) tall, the Leshan gigantic Buddha at mountain Emei, China is the world’s biggest statue of the Buddha. The was carved 1,300 years ago and satellite unharmed for centuries. An imaginative drainage system mitigates the natural process of erosion. Yet in recent years, acid rain has turned the statue’s nose black and made few of its hair crumble and fall.

Weathering by water\"s freeze-thaw bike has separation this rock in two.

Photograph through George F. Mobley, national Geographic


Spheroidal weathering is a kind of chemistry weathering that occurs when a rectangular block is weathered from three sides in ~ the corners and also from two sides follow me its edges. The is also called “onion skin” weathering.

Weathered MountainsThe Appalachian hills in eastern North America as soon as towered more than 9,000 meter (30,000 feet) high—taller 보다 Mount Everest! Over countless years, weathering and erosion have actually worn them down. Today, the highest possible Appalachian peak reaches simply 2,037 meters (6,684 feet) high.


chemical compound the reacts v a basic to form a salt. Acids have the right to corrode some herbal materials. Acids have actually pH levels lower than 7.


precipitation v high levels of nitric and sulfuric acids. Acid rain deserve to be manmade or occur naturally.


process in which living or once-living organisms add to the disintegration of rocks and also minerals (weathering).


(c. 563-483 BCE) Indian prince, spiritual leader, and also founder of the buddhist religion. Additionally called Prince Siddhartha and Gautama Buddha.


process alters the composition of rocks, frequently transforming them when water interacts with minerals to create various chemical reactions.


chemical weathering procedure in which the freeze-thaw cycle of ice cream cracks and disintegrates rock. Likewise called frost weathering.


type the mineral the is clear and, as soon as viewed under a microscope, has a repeating sample of atoms and also molecules.


process that rocks crumbling because of rain, wind, or other atmospheric conditions. Also called mechanical weathering and physical weathering.


C-shaped landform consists of a concave rock wall formed by weathering and erosion the subsurface rocks. Also called a “wave rock.”


chemical weathering process in i beg your pardon the freeze-thaw bike of ice cracks and also disintegrates rock. Additionally called cryofracturing.


stone marking a person\"s interment place, frequently engraved with the person\"s name and dates the birth and also death.


type of sedimentary rock mostly made of calcium lead carbonate from shells and also skeletons of maritime organisms.


process the rocks crumbling due to rain, wind, or various other atmospheric conditions. Likewise called physics weathering.


chemical procedure of a problem combining v oxygen to change the substance\"s physical and also molecular structure.


process the rocks crumbling as result of rain, wind, or other atmospheric conditions. Likewise called mechanically weathering.


part of a plant that secures it in the soil, obtains water and also nutrients, and often stores food make by leaves.


structure developed as water evaporates native a braided lake or sea. The remaining salt is hidden by sediments, yet eventually pierces with the rock, developing a hill.


type of physical weathering in i m sorry a solitary layer of absent is broken off. Likewise called edge weathering.

See more: Bath And Body Works Little Rock, Bath & Body Works


existing in the tropics, the latitudes between the Tropic that Cancer in the north and the Tropic the Capricorn in the south.


\"*\"


join our community of educators and also receive the latest information on national Geographic\"s resources for you and your students.


Educational sources in her Inbox

sign up with our neighborhood of educators and also receive the latest information on national Geographic\"s resources for you and your students.