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Erosional Processes

Marine and Subaerial Processes that erode the coastline

TermDescription
Freeze-thaw water collects in the cracks; water freezes and expands, melts and contracts; repeated expanding and contracting results in progressive weakening of the rock; this is most effective in cool maritime climates
Heating and Cooling thermal expansion and contraction of rock in daily cycle of heating and cooling; different crystals in the rock cause uneven contraction which sets up stresses in the rock
Wetting and Drying minerals such as montmorillonite in clay rocks expand and contract due to wetting and drying, causing stresses in the rock
Crystal Growth saline water enters cracks in the rock and evaporates, leading to the growth of salt crystals (e.g. sodium carbonate and magnesium sulphate); growing crystals prise the rock apart
Hydrolysis hydrogen ions from water react with minerals in the rock, causing it to disintegrate; this is common in granite; reactive ions are removed
Hydration water is absorbed, causing structural changes in certain mineral crystals (e.g. calcium sulphate becomes softer); absorption causes rocks to swell, creating stress
Carbonation hydrogen carbonate reacts with calcium carbonate from limestone and sedimentary rocks to form calcium bicarbonate which readily dissolves
Solution some minerals readily dissolve in sea water (e.g. halite - the mineral form of NaCl)
Oxidation some minerals react with oxygen (e.g. Fe2+ is oxidised to form Fe3+, leading to the collapse of its molecular structure)
Created by: GraceAlston