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Physical Geography Chapter 15 Notes

by: Ashley Trecartin

Physical Geography Chapter 15 Notes GEOG 110

Marketplace > Southwestern Michigan College > Science > GEOG 110 > Physical Geography Chapter 15 Notes
Ashley Trecartin

GPA 3.43

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The notes for the chapter over weathering and mass wasting.
Physical Geography
Mr. Thomas
Class Notes
physsical, geography, mass, wasting, weathering
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ashley Trecartin on Thursday October 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GEOG 110 at Southwestern Michigan College taught by Mr. Thomas in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Physical Geography in Science at Southwestern Michigan College.


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Date Created: 10/06/16
Chapter 15: Weathering and Mass Wasting I. Nature of Exogenic Processes A. The breakdown of rock material at and near Earth’s surface is known as  weathering.   B. Gravity­induced downslope movement of rock material that occurs without the  assistance of a geomorphic agent, as in the case of a rock falling from a cliff, is  known as mass wasting.  II. Weathering A. Physical Weathering 1. Physical weathering, also called mechanical weathering, disintegrates  rocks, breaking smaller fragments from a larger block or out crop of rock.  2. Unloading a. High elevation helps drive erosional stripping of the overlying  rocks, through this removal of overlaying weight, which is called  the unloading process, the upper part of the granite is exposed at  the surface where it can experience the pressure of the atmosphere. b. The successive removal of outer rock sheet is noon as exfoliation,  and each concentric broken layer of rock is an exfoliation sheet.   c. The term exfoliation dome designates an unloaded exfoliating  outcrop of rock with a dome­like surface form.  3. Thermal Expansion and Contraction a. Scientists cited widespread existence of split rocks in arid regions  as evidence of thermal expansion and contraction weathering.  b. The notion that differential thermal expansion and contraction of  single mineral grains in coarse crystalline rocks is contributed to  granular disintegration, which is the breaking free of individual  mineral grains from a rock.   4 .     Freeze­Thaw Weathering a. In areas subject to numerous dual cycles of freezing and thawing  weather, water repeatedly freezing in fractures and small cracks in  rocks contributes to rock breakage by freeze­thaw weathering,  sometimes referred to as frost weathering or ice wedging.   5 .     Salt Crystal Growth a. With salt crystal growth, water containing dissolved salts  accumulate in the cracks and fractures.  6. Hydration a. In weathering by hydration, water molecules attach to the  crystalline structure of a mineral without causing a permanent  change in that mineral’s composition.  b. Salts and dry minerals, which are clay­sized materials formed  during chemical weathering, commonly occupy cracks and voids  in rocks and are subject to hydration and dehydration.  B. Chemical Weathering 1. Chemical wreathing decomposes rock though chemical reactions that  remove ions from the original rock­forming minerals.  2. Oxidation a. The chemical union of oxygen atoms with another substance to  create a new produce it called oxidation.   3 .     Solution and Carbonation a. Some rock­forming minerals get dissolved in water in the process  of solution which is a chemical reaction causing mineral­forming  ions to dissociate and the separated ions are carried away with the  water.  b. The chemical weathering process of carbonation is a common type of solution that involves carbon dioxide and water molecules  reacting with and decomposing rock material.  4. Hydrolysis a. In the weathering process of hydrolysis, water molecules react with chemical components of rock­forming minerals to create new  compounds of which the H+ and OH+ ions of water are a part.  III. Variability in Weathering A. Structural Weaknesses 1. Multiple joints that parallel each other form a joint set, and two joint sets  will cross each other at an angle.  2. This distinctive, rounded weathered form, known as spherical weathering, develops especially well on jointed crystalline rocks such as granite.  B. Differential Weathering and Erosion 1. Because erosion removes small, weathered rock fragments more easily  than large intact rock masses, areas of diverse rock types undergo  differential weathering and erosion.  IV. Mass Weathering A. Materials and Motion 1. In a mass wasting sense, soil means a relatively think unit of  predominantly fine­grained, unconsolidated surface material.  2. A thicker unit of the same type of materials is called earth.  3. Debris specifies a given mass of sediment that contains a wide range of  grain sized, at least 20% of which is gravel.  4. Mud indicates saturated sediment composed mainly of clay and silt, which are the smallest particle sizes.  5. With these slow mass wasting types we can measure the movement an  observe its effects over long periods.  6. The motion of fast mass wasting can be witnessed by people.  B. Slow Mass Wasting 1. Creep a. Most hillslopes covered with weathered rock or soils undergo  creep which is the slow migration of particles to successively  lower elevations.  b. It is typically the result of the heaving process, which causes  individual soil particles or rock fragments to be pushed upward at a perpendicular angle and then eventually fall straight downward  because of gravity.  2. Soilfluction a. Soilfuluction is the slow downslope movement of water saturated  soil, and/or regolith. b. Is it most common at high­elevation tundra regions that have  permafrost, which is a subsurface layer of permanently frozen  ground.  c. Above the permafrost layer is the active layer, which freezes  during winter but thaws in the summer.  C. Fast Mass Wasting 1. Falls a. Mass wasting events that consist of earth materials plummeting  downwards freely through the air are falls.  b. Rock falls are the most common type of fall.  c. Over time, a sloping accumulation of angular, broken clasts piles  up at the base of a cliff that is subject to rock fall, this slope is  called a talus.  2. Avalanches a. An avalanche is a type of mass movement in which much of the  involved materials is pulverized and then flows rapidly as an  airborne density current along the surface.  3. Slides a. In slides, a cohesive or semi cohesive unit of material slips  downslope in continuous contact with the surface.  b. Slumps are rotational slides where a thick block of soil called earth  moves along a concave curved surface.  c. Landslide has become a general term popularly used to refer to any form of rapid mass movement.   4 .     Flows a. Mass wasting flows are masses of water­saturated unconsolidated  sediments that move down slope by the force of gravity.  i. When a relatively thick unit of predominantly fine­grained,  unconsolidated hillside sediment or shale becomes  saturated and mixes and tumbles as it moves, the mass  movement is an earthflow.  ii. Earth flows happen as independent gravity­caused events  or due to slumps in a compound feature called a slump­ earthflow.  b. Debris flows and mudflows differ from each other primarily in  grain size and sediment attributes.  i. Both flow faster and an earthflow and move down gullies  or stream channels to create a raised channel rim called a  flow levees and leave deposits where they spill out of the  channel.  c. During eruptions emitted steam, cooling and falling as rain,  saturates the ash, sending down dangerous and fast­moving  volcanic mudflows known as lahars. 


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