Coastal weathering and erosion

A summary of mechanical and chemical weathering at coasts

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Coastal weathering and erosion
Weathering is the breakdown of rocks where they are. Erosion is when the rocks are
broken down and carried away by something.
Mechanical Weathering
Mechanical weathering is the breakdown of rock without changing its chemical
composition. There's one main type of mechanical weathering that affects coasts-
freeze thaw weathering;
It happens when the temperature alternates above and below 0oC
Water gets into cracks in rocks
When the water freezes it expands, which puts pressure on the rock
When the water thaws it contracts, which releases the pressure on the rock
Repeated freezing and thawing widens the cracks and causes the rock to break
up
Chemical Weathering
Chemical weathering is the breakdown of rock by changing its chemical composition.
Carbonation weathering is a type of chemical weathering that happens in warm and wet
conditions:
Rain water has carbon dioxide dissolved in it, which makes it a weak carbonic acid
Carbonic acid reacts with rock that contains calcium carbonate e.g. carboniferous
limestone, so the rocks are dissolved by the rainwater

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