Q:

Why does rainwater make rocks disintegrate?

A:

Quick Answer

Chemical reactions caused by acid in rainwater make certain rocks disintegrate. These reactions cause some minerals in rocks to become soluble and break down, weakening the rocks.

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Why does rainwater make rocks disintegrate?
Credit: Wesley Eller CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

Rainwater has naturally occurring acidic properties and causes a type of chemical weathering to occur. It contains dissolved carbon dioxide from the air, creating carbonic acid, which chemically reacts to susceptible rocks and minerals.

Rocks such as limestone are highly affected by rainwater due to the carbonic acid's reaction with calcite. Calcite is the main mineral in limestone and can be dissolved away quickly, weakening any rock formations in the affected area. Rocks such as gabbro and granite are not affected as easily by rainwater, as the minerals they contain are resistant to carbonic acid, slowing the weathering process.

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