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ECS Chapter 2


Weathering The chemical and physical processes that break down rock at Earth's surface.
Erosion The process by which water, ice, wind or gravity moves weathered rock and soil.
Mechanical Weathering The type of weathering in which rock is physically broken into smaller pieces.
Abrasion The grinding away of rock by other rock particles carried in water, ice or wind
Ice Wedging Process that splits rock when water seeps into cracks, then freezes and expands
Chemical Weathering The process that breaks down rock through chemical changes.
Permeable Characteristics of a material that is full of tiny, connected air spaces that water can seep through.
Soil The loose, weathered material on Earth's surface in which plants can grow.
Bedrock The soild layer of rock beneath the soil
Humus Dark-colored organic material in soil
Loam Rich, fertile soil that is made up of about equal parts of clay, sand and silt
Soil Horizon A layer of soil that differs in color and texture from the layers above or below it
Topsoil Mixture of humus, clay and other minerals that forms the crumbly, topmost layer of soil
Subsoil The layer of soil beneath the topsoil that contains mostly clay and other minerals
Litter The loose layer of dead plant leaves and stems on the surface of the soil
Decomposers Soil organisms that break down the remains of organisms and digest them.