Which of the following is not related to chemical weathering? A Guide to Understanding Weathering Processes

Weathering is the process of breaking down rocks and minerals on the Earth’s surface. It can be caused by physical, chemical, or biological factors. Weathering can change the appearance, composition, and shape of rocks over time. It can also create soil, caves, and other landforms.

In this article, we will focus on chemical weathering, which is the type of weathering that involves chemical reactions between rocks and the environment. We will also look at some examples of chemical weathering and how it differs from other types of weathering.

What is Chemical Weathering?

Chemical weathering is the breakdown of rocks and minerals by chemical reactions with water, air, acids, or other substances. Chemical weathering can alter the mineral composition, structure, and color of rocks. It can also dissolve some minerals completely and form new ones.

Some of the common processes of chemical weathering are:

  • Hydrolysis: This is the reaction of water with minerals that contain silicates, such as feldspar, quartz, and mica. Water molecules split into hydrogen and hydroxide ions, which then react with the minerals to form clay minerals and dissolved ions. For example, feldspar can be hydrolyzed to form kaolinite, a type of clay.
  • Oxidation: This is the reaction of oxygen with minerals that contain iron or other metals. Oxygen molecules combine with metal atoms to form metal oxides, which are usually more brittle and less resistant to weathering than the original minerals. For example, iron can be oxidized to form hematite or limonite, which are reddish or brownish in color.
  • Carbonation: This is the reaction of carbon dioxide with minerals that contain carbonates, such as limestone or marble. Carbon dioxide dissolves in water to form carbonic acid, which then reacts with the minerals to form bicarbonates and hydrogen ions. The bicarbonates are soluble in water and can be carried away by runoff or groundwater. For example, limestone can be carbonated to form calcium bicarbonate, which can form stalactites and stalagmites in caves.
  • Acid rain: This is the reaction of acidic rainwater with minerals that are sensitive to acidity, such as calcite or dolomite. Acid rain is formed when sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from air pollution combine with water vapor in the atmosphere. Acid rain lowers the pH of rainwater and makes it more corrosive to rocks. For example, acid rain can dissolve marble statues or buildings over time.

Examples of Chemical Weathering

Chemical weathering can be observed in many natural and human-made environments. Some examples are:

  • The Grand Canyon: The Grand Canyon is a spectacular example of how chemical weathering can shape the landscape over millions of years. The Colorado River and its tributaries have eroded and carved the canyon through a combination of physical and chemical weathering processes. Chemical weathering has contributed to the formation of different rock layers, colors, and shapes in the canyon walls. For instance, the red color of some rocks is due to oxidation of iron minerals, while the white color of others is due to leaching of minerals by acidic water.
  • Karst topography: Karst topography is a type of landscape that is characterized by sinkholes, caves, springs, and underground rivers. It is formed by chemical weathering of carbonate rocks, such as limestone or dolomite. Carbonation dissolves the rocks and creates openings and channels that allow water to flow through them. Over time, these features can expand and collapse, creating distinctive landforms on the surface.
  • Statue of Liberty: The Statue of Liberty is a famous example of how chemical weathering can affect human-made structures. The statue is made of copper, which is a metal that reacts with oxygen and water to form copper oxide. Copper oxide has a greenish color, which gives the statue its characteristic appearance. However, copper oxide also makes the metal more susceptible to corrosion and damage by acid rain or saltwater.

How Does Chemical Weathering Differ from Other Types of Weathering?

Chemical weathering differs from other types of weathering in several ways:

  • Chemical weathering changes the chemical composition of rocks and minerals, while physical weathering only changes their size and shape.
  • Chemical weathering produces new minerals or substances from the original ones, while biological weathering only adds organic matter or organisms to the rocks.
  • Chemical weathering depends on the availability of water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, acids, or other chemicals in the environment, while physical weathering depends on temperature changes, pressure changes, wind, water, ice, or gravity.
  • Chemical weathering is more effective in warm and humid climates where chemical reactions are faster and more frequent than in cold and dry climates where they are slower and less frequent.


Chemical weathering is an important process that affects rocks and minerals on Earth. It can create soil, caves, and other landforms. It can also change the appearance, composition, and shape of rocks over time. Chemical weathering is influenced by various factors, such as the type of rock, the type of chemical, the climate, and the relief. Chemical weathering is different from physical weathering and biological weathering in several ways.

We hope this article has helped you understand what chemical weathering is and how it works. If you want to learn more about weathering and other related topics, you can check out our other articles on this website. Thank you for reading!

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