Plants can cause mechanical weathering by sprouting and growing in soil that has collected in the cracks of a rock. As the plant grows, the roots extend and spread the crack until the rock eventually breaks.Continue Reading
Any plant seed that begins to grow inside a crack or fissure in a rock has the potential to cause mechanical weathering. Even plants with small root structures can eventually crumble a rock. Trees have much larger root systems and can break apart even large rocks and rock structures over time. These seeds may arrive in a variety of ways that range from birds carrying and dropping them to being blown by the wind or traveling via water.
Mechanical weathering is also referred to as physical weathering and occurs anytime there is a physical breakdown caused by animals, plants, water, salt or other factors. Mechanical weathering is what causes rocks to crumble or break. This type of weathering is constantly ongoing in nature, but is it generally a slow process that occurs over time. Nature is in a constant state of flux.
Other examples of mechanical weathering function in similar ways. Fluctuating temperatures can cause stress in pre-existing cracks that eventually cause the rock to break. Water collected in the cracks can freeze and thaw repeatedly, enlarging the cracks over time.Learn more about Environmental Science
Groundwater is the water that is in the cracks and spaces between sand, soil and rock underground, and it sometimes bubbles up to the surface through springs. It is naturally replenished by rain and melting snow that seeps into the ground, and in turn, replenishes rivers, lakes and wetlands.Full Answer >
There are four types of physical forces that cause physical weathering: frost action, temperature fluctuation, abrasion and salt crystal growth. Physical weathering is a process that causes rocks to weaken, disintegrate and eventually break down completely over time.Full Answer >
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, may be detrimental to the environment due to the potential hazards the procedure presents, including air and water pollution, soil and oil spill contamination and induced seismic activities. Fracking also poses serious health concerns to the workers and the people within the general vicinity of the operation.Full Answer >
Sandy soil is soil comprised of particles that are larger than 0.05 millimeters and smaller than 2 millimeters. Sandy soil retains little water and aerates well because of the large size of its particles.Full Answer >