The four main types of weathering include freeze-thaw, exfoliation, chemical and biological weathering. Weathering involves the process of rock breaking down into soil via various physical, biological and chemical reactions.Continue Reading
The freeze-thaw method of weathering takes place when water penetrates small cracks in the rock and then freezes. When the water freezes, it expands, causing the crack in the rock to be placed under pressure and expand. The ending result is a break in the rock. The broken rock pieces can then break down further in the weathering process.
Exfoliation, also called onion skin weathering, involves the dramatic temperature changes on the rock. During the day, the rock is exposed to elevated temperatures, and at night, the rock is subjected to much cooler temperatures. This effect over an extended period of time results in a "flaking" effect on the rock.
Chemical weathering can take place in a rock when water, which seeps into the rock, contains amounts of acid, causing a chemical breakdown of the rock. This especially affects limestone, and it can be seen on buildings and other structures that are built with limestone rock.
Biological weathering involves effects from a living organism, such as a tree or moss. Tree roots can break rocks apart, and moss can break down the surface of a rock over a longer period of time.Learn more about Erosion & Weathering
Popular soil stabilization methods include soil ramming, use of natural binding agents and incorporation of chemical additives, according to the Industrial Resources Council. Soil ramming involves physically compacting the soil to remove air pockets. It does not affect the chemical composition of the soil. Natural stabilizers such as clay are also effective and provide longer lasting results than soil ramming, especially when used together with polymer-based additives.Full Answer >
The process in nature that breaks down rocks is called physical weathering. Physical forces such as abrasion, frost action, salt crystal growth, thawing, freezing and temperature fluctuation weaken rocks and cause them to crack and disintegrate over time. Fluctuations in temperature over time can cause rocks to break as a result of constant stress from contraction and expansion.Full Answer >
Biological weathering is the effect that living organisms, such as plants and animals, have on rocks and other inanimate objects. This phenomena happens due to the molecular breakdown of minerals in the rock. When biological weathering occurs, the living organism breaks down the rock or other nonliving object through either mechanical or chemical erosion or the use of both.Full Answer >
Cliffs collapse for a number of reasons, one of the most common being the effects of weathering, but there other factors as well, such as water crashing against the cliff face, what the cliff is made out of and the climate of the area. These factors can also work in conjunction to cause a cliff to collapse.Full Answer >