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Earth’s Systems: Processes that Shape

Aug 19, 2022
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Session Name: Earth Materials and Systems_ Slow process: Weathering  

Introduction: 

Earth is the place where we live. Earth is round in shape, and it’s not a solid piece of rock. It is made up of various layers. Earth is also called the water planet or blue planet due to the presence of water on it.  

earth's systems

There are many features on the Earth’s surface, such as plains, mountains, hills, rivers, oceans, etc. These features are called landforms. There are many processes that shape the Earth. 

Now look at the following pictures. Do you think it happened slowly, or it happened quickly? 

Landslide  

 

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Various shapes of rock 

True, a landslide and various shapes of rock can appear out of nowhere. However, many factors have been at work on that piece of land for a long time, and one of them is weathering, which has resulted in landslides and various shapes of rock. 

The landslide and various shapes of rocks are formed by a slow process. The name of the slow process is ‘WEATHERING.’ There are slow and quick processes that shape the Earth. Most weathering takes hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years to occur. 

Weathering and erosion are slow processes. 

Volcanoes and earthquakes are quick processes

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Quick fire 

Identify the picture that shows a quick process. 

1
2

Identify the picture that shows a slow process. 

3
4

Weathering 

Weathering is a slow and natural process of breaking down of rock into smaller pieces. Even the large rocks can break apart due to weathering (Fig. no. 3). In the future, the rock seen in the image can look very different, or even it may break into pieces due to weathering.  

Weathering of rocks

 

Types of weathering 

There are various factors such as flowing water, living things, rainfall, waves, plants, and chemicals that cause the weathering.  

There are three types of weathering.  

Types of weathering 

Physical weathering: 

The breakdown of an object into smaller components is called physical weathering.  

Physical weathering is also referred to as mechanical weathering.  

This type of weathering is caused by plants, animals, wind, freezing water, or moving water. 

Weathering of rocks by flowing water 

Weathering of rocks by freezing water 1
Weathering of rocks by freezing water 2
Weathering of rocks by freezing water 3

Weathering by wind 

Chemical weathering: 

It occurs when the rocks are broken down by chemical means. The strong or powerful agents of chemical weathering are water, acids, and oxygen.  

Chemical weathering

Biological weathering 

Biological weathering occurs when living organisms cause the breakdown of rocks.  

Plants and animals cause biological weathering.  

In this type of weathering, plant roots can enter the rocks through the cracks present in the rock. As the roots of the plants grow, they force the cracks to widen up, and eventually, this force leads to breakdown. In this way, the rock breaks apart. 

Weathering of rock by plant

Summary:

  • Earth is the place where we live.
  • There are many events, such as slow and fast, that shape theE arth.
  • Weathering is a slow and natural process of breaking down of rock into smaller pieces.
  • There are three types of weathering — Physical weathering(mechanical weathering), chemical weathering, and biological weathering.
  • Physical weathering is a process in which rocks are broken down into smaller pieces.
  • Chemical weathering is the breakdown of rock by means of chemicals.
  • Biological weathering occurs when living organisms cause the breakdown of rocks.

 

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