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Weathering HTML5

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Summary

Rain, wind and freezing are the causes of the erosion of a landscape.

Wind erodes high places via a mechanical effect. Particles are torn away as it passes. The polishing or  abrasive power of the wind is reinforced by the presence of sand and dust.

Water has a mechanical effect (from the impact of water drops, known as the "splash effect"),  and a chemical one (dissolution of calcareous substances, like limestone).

The durations of the effects of these phenomena are quite variable -- from a few hours (avalanches, hurricanes) to several millions of years.

Note finally that gravity, which pulls all matter downward, is an omnipresent phenomenon in the levelling of terrain.

Learning goals

  • To illustrate the actions of wind and rain on landscapes.
  • To compare the duration of weathering phenomena at the scale of geological time.
  • To return to the role of erosion in the sedimenary rock cycle.

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