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GEOL 101 : Weathering and Erosion

by: Natalee Stanton

GEOL 101 : Weathering and Erosion 101-017

Marketplace > University of South Carolina > Geology > 101-017 > GEOL 101 Weathering and Erosion
Natalee Stanton

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Geology 101-017
Class Notes
Geology 101
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Natalee Stanton on Wednesday March 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 101-017 at University of South Carolina taught by in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 10 views. For similar materials see Geology 101-017 in Geology at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 03/30/16
GEOL 101: Weathering and Erosion Interface between climate and Tectonics  1. Weathering – chemical and physical changes that occur in sediments and rocks  when they are exposed to the atmosphere and biosphere  The process by which rocks are broken down at the earth’s surface to form  soil   Some rocks weather faster than others   NOT EROSION  I. Weathering terminology   Bedrock – unaltered rock of any kind  Rehoboth – a layer of broken pieces of rock and slightly altered rocked that  overlays the bedrock o Starting to break down but haven’t moved. Separate bedrock and  soil.   Soil – a later of altered mineral material usually mixed with organic  materials (humus)  2. Erosion – set of processes that losses and transport soil or rock downhill or  downwind  3. Transportation  4. Deposition ­sedimentation 5. Burial  6. Diagenesis ­changes it from sediment to rock II. Factors that control Weathering   Properties of parent rock – different minerals weather at different times  Climate – temperature and rainfall  Presence or absence of soil – positive feedback   Length of exposure   Size – smaller rock fragments weather faster than larger rock fragments  III. Physical Weathering –  Fragmentation of solid rocks by mechanical processes that do not change  the chemical Weathering  o More common in arid regions  Preexisting fractures – natural zones of weakness  Frost wedging – water expands by 9% when it freezes  o Having water going back and forth between liquid and solid  Thermal expansion – differential thermal expansion of minerals creates  stress in rocks   Organic activity – tree roots to micro­organs  o  Roots grown into faults where the most water and maybe soil is   Mechanical abrasion – glaciers, wind, currents  IV. Chemical weathering – occurs because mineral formed deep in the earth’s  interior are not stable under the conditions on the surface of the earth  oThe principal agent of chemical weathering is water  oAtmospheric CO2 plays a role   Chemical Weathering of Silicate  oQuartz – very stable – doesn’t weather  oFeldspar – forms clay minerals (kaolinite)  oMagic minerals – decomposes to oxides  V. Weathering by solution.  ­ The complete breakup of minerals into ions in solution  ­ Magic silicate dissolve much more slowly than felsic silicates   Carbonates – easily soluble in water (especially when acid is present)  Sample Exam Questions  The greenhouse effect is caused by  a. Carbon dioxide and water vapor that trap heat radiating from the earth’s  surface b. Heating of homes and businesses, which releases excess hear into the atmosphere c. Oceans that trap heat radiating from the earth’s seafloor d. Too many plants on the surface of the earth , which prevent cooling  What is the general process by which rocks are broken down at the earth’s surface? A. Deposition  B. Erosion C. Lithification  D. Weathering Which of the following statements about weathering is false? a. Rocks of different compositions weather at different rates.  b. Heat and heavy rainfall increase the rate of chemical weathering.  c. The presence of soil slows down weathering of the underlying bedrock.  d. The longer a rock is exposed at the surface, the more weathered it becomes .


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