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Weathering

TermDefinition
Weathering Decomposition and disintegration of rocks in situ
Decomposition Involves chemical weathering or rocks creating new materials with a changed mineral structure
Disintegration Involves mechanical weathering of rocks creating smaller fragments of the same type and occurs in desert areas where there is a large temperature range therefore expanding during day, and contraction at night
Freeze-Thaw Weathering When water in joints freezes at 0 degrees, then expands by 10% which prises open rocks
Pressure Release Overlying rocks suddenly removed cause underlying rocks to expand and fracture parallel to the surface
Hydration Certain minerals absorb water, expand and then change into other (weaker) minerals
Plant Roots Fill cracks in rocks and cause pressure to be exerted on the rock
Animal Erosion Burrowing animals can dislodge rock fragments to the surface, exposing them to chemical, physical and biological weathering
Hoff's Law The rate of chemical weathering increases two or three times for every 10 degree increase in temperature (up to 60 degrees)
Rock Type Influences the rate and type of weathering due to chemical composition and vulnerability to chemical weathering processes and the presence of vertical or horizontal bedding planes representing lines of weakness
Frost Wedging [Physical] Water seeps into a crack in a rock. When the water freezes it expands and pushes and cracks the rock.
Exfoliation [Physical] Sheets of rock fall/slide off of an exposed rock and can cause a rock hill.
Thermal expansion and contraction [Physical] Heat causes the rock to contrast and when night comes the temperature becomes colder and that causes the rock to expand. This contrasting and expansion causes the rock to break off.
Crystal growth [Physical] Salt-water rain gets into fractures in a rock and when the water evaporates the salt stays and expands causing the rock to break.
Tree root growth [Physical] The tiny ends of tree roots grow into fractures of a rock and when the roots grow it causes the fractures to get bigger and the rock breaks.
Abrasion [Physical] Rocks are pulled down a mountain or a hill and they hit hit other rocks and cause them to break.
Dissolution [Chemical] Some chemicals in rocks are dissolved by water. In limestone calcite is easily dissolved by water thus forming caves.
Oxidation [Chemical] Rust is the commonly know word for oxidation. Iron, a common example, when mixed with water it gains a reddish stain.
Hydrolysis [Chemical] Water reacts with feldspar and it changes into clay causing the surrounding rock to break off.
Lichens [Biological] Combinations of fungi and algae live on rocks and slowly eat away at the surface of the rock.
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