Let’s say you made a cake and left it outside. What would happen? Maybe it would dry up and crack in the hot sun. Or perhaps rain would wash it away. If it froze, it might crack too. This process would probably take just a few days.
The Earth – and the rocks on the Earth – is a bit like that cake. The surface of the Earth is constantly being changed due to weathering processes. This process can take millions of years or happen relatively quickly.
Fun Facts about Weathering for Kids
- Rain is mildly acidic and it slowly eats away rocks. Rain slowly dissolves limestone. It turns the feldspar in granite into soft clay. The remaining quartz crystals are often crushed into grains of sand.
- Plants and microbes also attack rocks. All living things need elements, such as copper, potassium and iron, as nutrients. These minerals are found within rocks. Lichens grow on rocks and release acids to dissolve the minerals in them. Plant roots slowly grow into rocks, forcing them apart.
- In cold areas, water seeps into cracks in the rocks during the day. At night, the water freezes and expands, cracking the rocks even more. This continual freeze and thaw cycle causes rocks to splinter and break into small pieces.
- In the desert, rocks expand during the heat of the day and contract at night when temperatures cool. Sheets of rock slowly flake away.
- Weathering: the process of wearing away and changing
- Microbe: microscopic life form
- Expand: become larger
- Contract: Become smaller
Learn More All About Weathering
Check out this cool video about Weathering for kids:
This video explains the factors and the process of weathering.
Question: How are the types of weathering described?
Answer: Chemical weathering occurs when a chemical, such as acid rain, breaks down rocks. Mechanical weathering is the process of weathering through external forces, such as freeze and thaw cycles. When plants or microbes break down rocks, the process is known as organic weathering.