Weathering and Erosion

Today we’re going to be talking about weathering and erosion and how it can affect the world around us.

Weathering and erosion have helped to shape the world around us in a way that has

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given us a variety of amazing landmarks such as the Grand Canyon and Niagara falls. The processes of weathering and erosion can often be hard to distinguish between for those not familiar with the two. The most important differences between the two are weather or not the rock in question stays in the same place or not. Weathering is when a rock, boulder, or other geological feature is broken down through either chemical or mechanical means. In this process, the geological feature being affected stays in the same place. Chemical weathering is any sort of chemical change in a rock that causes it to break down. This can be caused by any number of substances from water, which can cause the breakdown of minerals such as limestone through the process of dissolution, to oxygen, which results in the oxidation of minerals such as iron. Mechanical weathering is the physical breaking down of rocks into smaller pieces through a variety of processes. Water is one of the number one causes of mechanical weathering through processes such as crystallization, hydration, and frost action. When either chemical or physical weathering occurs and the sediment from the rocks is transferred to another place, this is known as erosion.

Erosion has helped to shape the landscape around us. In order to remember what processes cause erosion, it is important to remember “the three w’s” of erosion: wind, water, and wear. All three of these processes aid in transferring broken down sediment from one place to another. A great example of how erosion transfers sediment from one place to another is how wind has been able to move sediment from the mountains of San Bernardino all the way down to the beaches of Los Angeles.

Written By: Boo