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Weathering Definition

Weathering breaks down Earth's surface into smaller pieces. For example, water can wear away rocks.

View Lesson on Weathering & Erosion
Grades 3-5 VideoWeathering & Erosion player orange
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Weathering & Erosion

Fun Facts

  • For as long as the Earth has existed, weathering has helped shape the landscape.
  • Over long periods of time, weathering from wind can create amazing landscapes, such as rocks that look like mushrooms.
  • Plant roots can wedge into cracks, eventually breaking off rock pieces.

Why Do We Need To Know About Weathering

Learning about how rocks and soil break down (weathering) helps us understand how the Earth changes. This is really important for many jobs. For example, people who build roads or keep them in good shape need to know about weathering to fix problems like potholes that happen because of ice. This shows why knowing about weathering is key to taking care of our roads and buildings.

Knowing about weathering and erosion is also important for jobs in environmental science, farming, tourism related to nature, and managing parks. It helps these professionals stop the land from getting ruined, take care of natural places, and keep people safe from things like mudslides. This knowledge is used for protecting the environment, designing landscapes, and studying rocks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did Split Apple Rock form in New Zealand?
Split Apple Rock was formed by weathering from ice! When water gets into a small space and freezes, it expands and can crack whatever is containing it (just like the metal pipe in the video.)
How does a crack in the sidewalk form?
Izzy mentioned that cracks in the sidewalk formed because the concrete expanded and contracted over time. When the sun heated the sidewalk it caused the concrete to expand. At night the sidewalk cools and the surface contracts. Since this happened many times, the sidewalk eventually cracked. It’s like bending something over and over again – eventually it breaks!
How did mushroom rocks form?
Wind carried sand particles close to the surface and they hit the bottom of the rock more than the top. Since the bottom is carved more it looks like a mushroom.
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