Rocks found on the surface ar of the earth undergo a process over time contact weathering. Weathering is the breaking down of rock material.

What is a Rock?

A absent is a solid aggregate of mineral materials. Rocks room categorized right into three key groups based on chemical composition and also how they room formed: igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks, and sedimentary rocks.

You are watching: What is the difference between physical and chemical weathering?

Some examples of typical rocks room granite, basalt, limestone, and sandstone.

An selection of rocks through vegetation interspersed. Photo: john J. Mosesso, USGS. Public domain.

What space the two Main types of rock Weathering?

There are two main species of weathering: physical and chemical.

Physical, or mechanical, weathering happens once rock is damaged through the force of another substance ~ above the rock such together ice, to run water, wind, fast heating/cooling, or plant growth.

Chemical weathering occurs once reactions in between rock and another problem dissolve the rock, resulting in parts of that to autumn away.

Here space some examples of physical and chemical weathering of rocks.

Physical Weather Examples

Physical weathering occurs once rock is damaged down with mechanical processes such together wind, water, gravity, freeze-thaw cycles, or the development of roots right into rock.

Water Weathering

Water activity is a major force in physical weathering. The persistent crash that waves versus rocks causes physical weathering.

Physical weathering by tide at Arcadia nationwide Park in Maine. Photo: man J. Mosesso, USGS. Publicly domain.

Freeze-thaw Weathering

When water seeps into rocks and also freezes, it expands and also causes the absent to crack. Once water transforms from a liquid state to a frozen state, it expands. Fluid water seeps right into existing crack in the rock, freezes and also then broadens those cracks.

This type of physical weathering is dubbed freeze-thaw.

Horsetail Falls, Columbia flow Gorge. Photo: USDA, publicly domain

Wind Weathering

These mushroom-shaped absent pinnacles in Bryce Canyon, well-known as hoodoos, are created by wind weathering the sandstone.

Bryce Canyon is a distinct sandstone formation in southerly Utah. It is residence to a big number that hoodoos, which room oddly shaped pillars of rock that formed due to different erosion prices for the dolomite the caps them and the sandstone that develops their base. Photo: Alex Demas, USGS. Public domain.

Thermal Stress

As rocks heat up (and expand) and then cool (and contract) they deserve to weaken over time and also break up right into smaller pieces. This temperature related weathering is well-known as thermal stress.

For example, warm days can trigger rockfalls on Yosemite’s granite cliffs.

A big pinnacle might be seen surrounding to Yosemite Falls. Pinnacles form as the granite is weathering away via ice, water, or plant growth. Photo: Alex Demas, USGS. Public domain.

Root Weathering

Roots from plants flourish into rocks, cracking the rocks and causing weathering. Roots generally will increase into existing cracks and also cause them to widen.

Precambrian metamorphic rock wall in Lamar Canyon. Yellowstone nationwide Park, Photo: Jim Peaco, NPS, public domain

Chemical Weathering Examples

Chemical weathering have the right to been seen in this photograph of Blue basin located in the man Day national Monument in Oregon.

The green shade of the claystone is indigenous by chemistry weathering that a mineral called celadonite.

Blue Basin, Oregon. Photo: Bonnie Moreland, public domain

Chemical and Physical Weathering

Honeycomb weathering is a kind of weathering the is thought to have actually both physical and also chemical weathering components.

Salt weathering is where widening salt crystals break pieces of absent that create an significantly larger hole over time. The sample that outcomes is known as honeycomb weathering.

This absent in Puget Sound, Washington is an instance of honeycomb weathering that sandstone.

Honeycomb weathering that sandstone situated on the shores of Puget Sound. Photo: Collin blacksmith , U.S. Geology Survey. Windy domain.

See more: Conflicts In A Raisin In The Sun Conflict In A Raisin In The Sun

The honeycomb weathering viewed in this photo from Utah.

Honeycombs, Utah. Photo: Utah geology Survey, windy Domain



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