Notes on Weathering

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Class notes on weathering of Earth\'s surface

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Notes on Weathering

  1. 1. Weathering
  2. 2. <ul><li>Weathering is the breaking down of rocks and other materials on the earth’s surface </li></ul>
  3. 3. Two Types of Weathering
  4. 4. <ul><ul><li>No change in the rock’s chemical composition. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agents of mechanical weathering include: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Temperature : causes repeated expansion and contraction </li></ul></ul></ul>1) Mechanical/physical weathering
  5. 5. <ul><ul><li>Ice wedging (frost action, freeze-thaw cycle): when liquid water goes into cracks and then freezes causing the cracks to get wider </li></ul></ul>1) Mechanical/physical weathering
  6. 7. <ul><ul><ul><li>Organic activity (root-pry, burrowing animals, human activities) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 9. <ul><ul><ul><li>Gravity : rocks falling and colliding with other rocks </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 11. <ul><ul><ul><li>Abrasion : wearing away by solid particles </li></ul></ul></ul>Wind-blown Sand
  9. 12. <ul><ul><ul><li>Unloading : the expanding of high pressure rock when exposed to a lower pressure </li></ul></ul></ul>Classic sheeted granite along the Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park. The granite is broken into gently dipping plates by unloading joints. Unloading joints probably form as the rock is exposed by erosion. These joints, and others that are more steeply oriented, provide pathways for water to enter the rock.
  10. 13. Exfoliation or unloading - rock breaks off into leaves or sheets along joints which parallel the ground surface; caused by expansion of rock due to uplift and erosion; removal of pressure of deep burial
  11. 15. <ul><ul><ul><li>Contraction due to crystallization </li></ul></ul></ul>The surface pattern on this pedestal rock is honeycomb weathering, caused by salt crystallisation. This example is at Yehliu, Taiwan. Salt weathering of building stone on the island of Gozo, Malta
  12. 17. <ul><li>The altering of the composition of minerals within a rock that results in a reduction in size. </li></ul><ul><li>Agents of chemical weathering include : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Water: Dissolves minerals out of rocks making them weaker </li></ul></ul>2) Chemical weathering
  13. 18. <ul><li>Acid: D issolves minerals in rocks (examples: carbonic acid, acid rain, and plant acid) </li></ul>Chemical weathering
  14. 19. Lichens such as these growing on the rocks in the picture can produce weak acids that react with the rock.
  15. 21. 3000 year old Egyptian Obelisk 3000 year old Egyptian Obelisk after 100 years in NY
  16. 22. The Parthenon in Greece shows discoloration and chemical weathering effects from air pollution and acid rain.
  17. 23. <ul><ul><li>Oxidation: Oxygen combines with iron minerals and sulfur minerals changing the composition of the rock </li></ul></ul>Chemical weathering Oxidation turned these rocks in Nevada's Valley of Fire red.
  18. 24. <ul><li>Factors that determine the rate of weathering: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Composition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical conditions of rock </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cracks, holes, crevices – easier weathering </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Solid, unbroken – more weather resistant </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 25. In which shape will weathering occur faster?
  20. 26. <ul><ul><li>Climate : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cold Climates – mechanical weathering breaks down rocks rapidly </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Warm, wet climates – chemical weathering breaks down rocks rapidly </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 27. <ul><ul><li>Topography : the position of the rock </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Air pollution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exposure time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Surface area exposed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mechanical and chemical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>weathering work together </li></ul></ul>
  22. 28. <ul><ul><li>Weathering by Brainpop </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How long does the weathering process take? </li></ul><ul><li>What is carbonic acid a mixture of? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of rocks are formed by weathering? </li></ul>

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