Weathering and Erosion - Prince George's Community College
Weathering and Erosion Weathering - processes at or near Earths surface that cause rocks and minerals to break down Erosion - process of removing Earth materials from their original sites through
weathering and transport Weathering Mechanical Weathering processes that break a rock or mineral into smaller pieces without altering its composition Chemical Weathering - processes that change the chemical
composition of rocks and minerals Processes and Agents of Mechanical Weathering These are actions or things that break down Earth materials frost wedging
thermal expansion and contraction mechanical exfoliation abrasion by wind, water or gravity plant growth Processes and Agents of Mechanical Weathering
Frost Wedging cracking of rock mass by the expansion of water as it freezes in crevices and cracks http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/ozsvath/images/frost%20wedging.jpg Frost Wedging (in soil)
Ice crystals Processes and Agents of Mechanical Weathering Thermal expansion and contraction
repeated heating and cooling of materials cause rigid substances to crack and separate http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en-commons/thumb/d/dc/250px-Weathering_freeze_thaw_action_iceland.jpg
Processes and Agents of Mechanical Weathering Exfoliation As underlying rock layers are exposed, there is less pressure on them and they expand. This causes the rigid layers to crack and sections to slide off (similar to peeling of outer skin layers after a
sunburn). The expanding layers often form a dome. Dome Exfoliation Processes and Agents of Mechanical Weathering
Abrasion Moving sediments or rock sections can break off pieces from a rock surface they strike. The sediments can be moved by wind or water and the large rock sections by gravity. Wind Abrasion
http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/ritter/geog101/textbook/images/lithosphere/eolian/rock_wind_abrasion_p0772932441_NRCS.jpg Wind and Water Abrasion http://www.gsi.ie/Education/European+Landscapes/United+Kingdom.htm Photo Ref: P211442, "IPR/52-34CW BGSNERC Processes and Agents of Mechanical Weathering
Plant Growth As plants such as trees send out root systems, the fine roots find their way into cracks in the rocks. As the roots increase in size, they force the rock sections apart, increasing the separation and weathering.
Plant Wedging Plant Wedging Processes of Chemical Weathering
dissolving (dissolution) oxidation hydrolysis Processes of Chemical Weathering
Dissolving (dissolution) Water, often containing acid from dissolved carbon dioxide, will dissolve minerals from a rock body leaving cavities in the rock. These cavities may generate sinkholes or cave features such as stalactites and stalagmites.
Limestone cave feature result of dissolution Processes of Chemical
Weathering Oxidation Minerals may combine with oxygen to form new minerals that are not as hard. For example, the iron-containing mineral pyrite forms a rusty-colored mineral called limonite.
Limonite Processes of Chemical Weathering Hydrolysis Minerals may chemically combine with water to form new minerals. Again these are generally not as
hard as the original material. Feldspar Hydrolysis http://www.mii.org/Minerals/Minpics1/Plagioclase%20feldspar.jpg Feldspar
http://www.uwm.edu/Course/422-100/Mineral_Rocks/kaolinite1.jpg Kaolinite (clay) Factors in Chemical Weathering
Climate wet and warm maximizes chemical reactions Plants and animals living organisms
secrete substances that react with rock Time longer contact means greater change Mineral composition some minerals are more susceptible to change than others Weathering and
Erosion Weathering produces regolith (rock blanket) which is composed of small rock and mineral fragments. When organic matter is mixed into this material it is called soil. Erosion Transport Agents or Forces
Water rain streams and rivers
ocean dynamics ice in glaciers Wind Gravity Streams Flowing water will lift and carry small
sediments such as silt and sand. Stream Erosion and Deposition Where water moves more swiftly there will be more erosion. Where the water slows down, sediments will be deposited.
http://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/1000/50195183.JPG Glaciers Glaciers are large ice fields that slowly flow downhill over time. http://images.encarta.msn.com/xrefmedia/sharemed/targets/images/pho/t628/T628797A.jpg
Glaciers Glacial ice drags rocky material that scours the surface it flows over . The glacier deposits debris as it melts. http://www.geology.um.maine.edu/user/Leigh_Stearns/teaching/kelley_island.jpg
Wind Transport of Sediments Wind will carry fine, dry sediments over long distances. Wind Transport of Dust Photo shows Sahara Desert sand being transported over the Atlantic Ocean.
Transport by Gravity When sediments are weathered they may be transported downward by gravity. The general term for this is mass wasting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_wasting
Transport by Gravity When sediments are weathered they may be transported downward by gravity as a slump. Slump http://new.filter.ac.uk/database/image.php?id=594
Transport by Gravity Loose sediments transported by gravity are called scree. Scree field http://www.dave-stephens.com/scrambles/banff/aylmer/aylmer013.jpg
Deposition Formation Transported sediments are deposited in layers and generate strata like those found in the Grand Canyon. Deposition Formation
Weathering Tutorial This tutorial requires Flash but is a nice review of mechanical and chemical weathering with some animations. http://www.as.uky.edu/academics/departments_programs/Earth EnvironmentalSciences/EarthEnvironmentalSciences/Education al%20Materials/Documents/elearning/module07swf.swf
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