Weathering is the gradual wearing and tearing of rocks on the surface of the Earth. The main agents of weathering are temperature, humidity, and precipitation. Weathering is of three types—mechanical, chemical, and biological Weathering. Here we have discussed Biological Weathering only.
Main characteristics of weathering
- Weathering is the wearing away or the disintegration of rocks.
- This process includes the breaking down and not the removal of rocks from the surface of the Earth.
- One of the most important results of weathering is soil formation.
- Rocks break into stones, pebbles and eventually fine particles, which get transported by the agents of gradation such as wind and water.
- It depends on climatic conditions. For example, in dry climate, mechanical weathering is very common.
- The nature of rock (texture, composition and hardness) also affects the process of weathering.
Biological weathering is also known as organic weathering. Animals, insects, plants, and humans are the main agents of this type of weathering. This is because all the organic or biological matter is made of oxygen and water which may lead to chemical reactions in rocks, resulting in their decomposition and physical disintegration. Biological weathering occurs in the following ways:
Burrowing animals: such as rodents and moles loosen the ground or surface materials resulting in their physical disintegration. When animals die, their decaying bodies release chemicals that also lead to the disintegration of rocks.
Vegetation: Rocks may disintegrate when the roots of trees reach deep into them. However, trees may also prevent the disintegration of rocks by protecting them from direct exposure to sunlight and wind.
Humans: Humans are the most active agents of physical and chemical weathering. Mining, construction of roads and buildings, agriculture, and dumping of chemicals lead to both physical and chemical disintegration.
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Weathering is the gradual wearing and tearing of rocks on the surface of the Earth. The main agents of weathering are temperature, humidity, and precipitation. Read more