Physical weathering, also called mechanical weathering, refers to the process of breaking rocks apart while retaining their chemical composition, according to the American Geosciences Institute. It means that rocks slowly wear away due to physical changes, such as temperature changes, freezing and thawing, wind, rain and waves, explains the BBC.Know More
Physical weathering caused by temperature changes often occurs in deserts, as it is extremely hot during the day but very cold at night, states the BBC. When rocks are heated and cooled repeatedly, cracks form and the rocks gradually break off in small pieces. The wind causes weathering by blowing small grains of sand that wear away rocks over long periods of time. Water is also an agent of physical weathering, as it is capable of breaking rocks when it expands and freezes into ice. Water seeps into cracks and expands the cracks as it freezes. This process of freezing and thawing continues until the cracks grow very big and cause pieces of rocks to fall.
The AGI says that swiftly moving water is capable of lifting rocks from the stream bottom for short periods of time. Rocks collide with other rocks when they drop, breaking off small pieces of rocks. Plant roots can also grow in cracks and cause rocks to fall apart.Learn more about Erosion & Weathering
In physical or mechanical weathering, abrasion occurs when moving particle sediments abrade the surface of exposed rocks. As these particles rub against exposed rocks, it leads to wearing away of the rocks through friction. The particle sediments, such as smaller rocks, are carried through media that includes water, ice and wind.Full Answer >
A few causes of physical weathering, also known as mechanical weathering, are swiftly moving water, ice and growing plants. Physical weathering refers to the process that breaks rock structures apart but does not change their chemical composition.Full Answer >
Freeze-thaw weathering is a form of physical or mechanical weathering that induces stress on rocks when water repeatedly seeps into cracks, freezes and expands, eventually causing the rock to break apart. This type of weathering is largely driven by the intensity and frequency of freeze-thaw cycles and the structural properties of the rocks subject to weathering.Full Answer >
Weathering occurs when materials are eroded or broken down by natural means, such as ice, water and wind. Acid, plants and animals can also cause weathering.Full Answer >