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Difference Between Chemical and Mechanical Weathering

Chemical vs mechanical weathering

Weathering is a term in physics that means a gradual and ongoing transformation of rocks that are exposed on the Earth’s surface. No it is not directly connected with the Monsoon and thunders and lightning and other weather terminologies (although these natural phenomena have something to do with the process of weathering). It’s a natural occurring where other forces of nature take part in. The stampedes of animals have something to do with weathering, so is man’s industrial activities. Weathering is another part of erosion. It is generally defined as the transformation or alteration of the original rocky figure into something new or different.

Because of weathering, natural wonders of the world are made. These natural wonders are also proofs that weathering really occurs. Grand Canyon for example is only one of the most spectacular and natural rock formation made by weathering. You can also visit Philippine’s Chocolate Hills too and see that weathering can really make such spectacular views. But you don’t have to travel all across the world just to see evidence that weathering takes place. Just stroll down your garden and observe some natural rock formation. There are two types of weathering and these are chemical weathering and mechanical weathering and these two occur even without human intervention. To know more about weathering, you need to understand more of its two types. So here are the distinctions between chemical and mechanical weathering.

Chemical weathering, to begin with, includes chemicals for rocks to transform. Chemical weathering categories of rocks include dissolution, oxidation, carbonation, and hydrolysis. The transformation occurs only when water is mixed with the chemicals that acid rain delivers or when rocks form in river banks gets washed down with the chemicals from nearby certain chemical factories. Warm temperature and the tropical weather speed up the process of chemical weathering because these are the ideal conditions that chemical weathering respond to. When rocks are chemically weathered it means that it losses its original formation and transform into a new one. In the process of hydrolysis, rock mineral called as silicates combine with the acid brought about by acid rain and transformation of the rock makes it a clay mineral. In carbonation, Carbonic Acid reacts with the rock mineral called feldspar and dissolves it transforming the rock to have a new shape. Water basically plays a major role for chemical weathering to happen. Rocks cannot naturally be mixed with acid without water.

Mechanical weathering on the other hand involves external factors for rocks to be broken down into smaller pieces. These external factors include abrasion (frequently happens in the dessert; it is a process that includes friction by which the upper layer of the rock is removed because of exposure to abrasive agents), exfoliation (occurs when there’s rapid tectonic movements; the rock cracks because of the pressure and exposes its underlying layer), and freeze and thaw weathering (this commonly occur in places with low temperature; the frozen land creates large cracks on the rocks leading it to be fragmented into so many different shapes of particles).



Both chemical and mechanical are types of weathering that are basically defined as the transformation or alteration of the original rocky figure into something new or different.

Chemical weathering involves chemicals for the process of rock transformation, while mechanical are more of external participation that includes pressure.

Chemical weathering has four different categories include dissolution, oxidation, carbonation, and hydrolysis while mechanical weathering includes abrasion, exfoliation, and freezing and thawing.

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  2. This gives alot of information

  3. Thx i’m working on homework and this helped me

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