Introduction to Weathering
Running Water (Mechanical): Water flows every where. It is considered one of nature’s most destructive forces. As the water flows over rocks, it cuts into the rock. Check out the link below!
Ice Wedging (Mechanical): Water expands when it freezes. As the water flows into the cracks of rocks and it freezes, the rock is split apart. Click the link below!
Frost Heaving (Mechanical): Water underground freezes, too. This freezing causes the ground to push up and become uneven. Click the link below to explore further!
Wind Abrasion (Mechanical): When the wind blows, small particles such as dirt, are picked up and pushed against exposed rocks. The blowing dirt abrades the rocks.
Root Pry (Mechanical): Plant roots grow into rock to find a source of water and nutrients in the soil. The plants pry apart the rock as they grow. Also called organic activity since the tree is living. Click the link below to explore further! Plants - Grand Canyon National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
Burrowing Animals (Mechanical): When an animal digs into the ground, they can claw into rock and move the soil. Soil is moved and changes the lay of the land. Water flows through and changes the land. Also called organic activity. Click the link below and explore further! NPS - Page In-Progress
Extreme Temperature (Mechanical): Extreme changes in temperature cause rocks to weaken and become brittle, opening the way for other forms of weathering to take effect. Click the link below to explore further! Weather - Grand Canyon National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
Hydration (Chemical): Water weathers rock by dissolving it. Water is absorbed by rock and it crumbles.
Oxidation (Chemical): Iron combines with oxygen in the presence of water in a processes called oxidation. The product of oxidation is rust.
Carbonation (Chemical): CO2 dissolves in rain water and creates carbonic acid. Carbonic acid easily weathers limestone and marble. Also called acid rain. Where does acid rain come from? Compounds from burning coal, oil and gas react chemically with water forming acids. Acid rain causes very rapid chemical weathering on rocks and plants.
Mechanical Weathering: Process by which rocks are broken down into smaller pieces by external conditions.
Chemical Weathering: The process that breaks down rock through chemical changes.
Click the link below and discover the geology of the Grand Canyon! Explore Nature (U.S. National Park Service)
Living Organisms (Chemical): Lichens that grow on rocks produce weak acids that chemically weather rock. Click the link below to explore further! Lichens - Grand Canyon National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
Check your knowledge on weathering by taking the short quiz below! *If you are having trouble understanding a particular concept, please feel free to let us know before you submit your quiz. We will review tomorrow and clear up any confusion! GEOLOGY ROCKS!

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