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Mechanical and Chemical Weathering Processes

Considering the various processes involved in mechanical and chemical weathering, what are some of the factors that influence or control the weathering of earth materials? Also, discuss which of these factors would be most important and why?

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RESPONSE:

1. Considering the various processes involved in mechanical and chemical weathering, what are some of the factors that influence or control the weathering of earth materials? Also, discuss which of these factors would be most important and why?

Often, the place to begin a question like this is to look up the definitions, which are easily expanded on. As well, definitions help a person to understand the concepts that the question is asking you to discuss. In general, weathering is the disintegration and decomposition of rock at or near the surface of the earth. It affects the rocks in place and no transport is involved. This distinguishes weathering from erosion. There are two kinds of weathering to consider: mechanical/physical weathering and chemical weathering.

1. Mechanical/physical weathering is the physical disintegration of a rock into smaller fragments, each with the same properties as the original. It occurs mainly by temperature and pressure changes. In other words, temperature and pressure changes are two factors that influence or control mechanical/physical weathering of earth material. Weathering results in either fracturing or abrasion e.g. like the difference between a hammer and sandpaper (2). Others further classify different types of mechanical weathering according to the influence of the different factors: temperature (freezing water, heating of rocks) and pressure changes. For example,

· Frost Wedging - water expands when it freezes. Weathering occurs by individual layers within the sedimentary rock break apart through repeated cycles of freeze-thaw. And, a similar process happens when the rock is repeatedly wetted and dried as salt crystals dissolve ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the various processes involved in mechanical and chemical weathering, including some of the factors that influence or control the weathering of earth materials. It also discusses whether or not any of these factors would be the most important and why.

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