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Weathering, Mass Movement & Groundwater

 Internal & External forces.
 Denudation: process of wearing away earth causes general lowering & leveling out
 Denudation in 4 phases: Weathering, Erosion, Transportation, and Deposition.
 This depends on relief, rocks, climate & human activities.
 Weathering
i.) CHEMICAL: slow & gradual decomposition. Granite (quartz, feldspar & mica) but
feldspar is quickly weathered than quartz. Regolith is decomposed remains of rocks. Soil
cover enhances chemical weathering as soil absorbs rainwater as organic acids. Main
forms of chemical weathering are:
a) Solution: minerals are dissolved, like calcium carbonate. Joints & cracks help.
Solution rate depends on type of rocks like sedimentary are porous. The water when
slightly acidic can carve out whole caves & passages in regions of limestone. The
regolith has corestone i.e solid rock that have resisted weathering while the
surrounding rock has weathered.
b) Oxidation: iron changes to brown rust on oxidation or green when reduction
c) Organic Acids: acids by bacterial action; lichens on rocks
ii.) MECHANICAL: actual forces in play. Faster if chemical weathering also in play.
a) Temp. change: continuous expansion & contraction & its faster at outer layer than
inner layer and causes rock to crack & split. Jointed rocks crack along joints (form
rect. blocks), shale & slate form platy fragments. The corners of rock slabs are worn
out. When surface layers of rounded boulders are split off it is like onion peeling & is
called exfoliation. It happens in deserts
b) Repeated wetting & drying: in happens in tropical & coastal region. On wetting the
outer layer absorbs moisture & expands & on drying it shrinks causing outer layer to
c) Frost action: in temperate region water enter cracks/pores of rocks freezes during
night & causes expansion & subsequent contraction causes breakdown. In mountain
regions it creates sharp pinnacles & angular peaks caused frost-shattered peaks.
When these angular peaks pries from mountain cliffs & deposit at slopes they
accumulate to form screes.
d) Biotic: Plant/tress roots break rocks; rodents, human activities like mining
 Mass Movement: Soil falls down slope by gravity. Move may be sudden or gradual.
Some of the methods are:
i.) Soil creep: slow, gradual but continuous movement down the slope. It isn’t
noticeable specially when slope is less or due to vegetation cover. Happens in damp
regions as water acts as lubricant; grazing also a factor. This movement is visible in
form of tilting of tress & poles.
ii.) Soil flow (Solifluction): Soil is saturated of water (suspended in water) soil/mud flow
occurs. In arid regions cause by sudden rains, in temperate & tundra region due to
melting of frozen thaw ground. It peat soil, peat absorbs much moisture but if it
exceeds saturation point its causes downward flow. In Ireland its called ‘bog bursts’.
iii.) Landslides (Slumping/Sliding): Rapid motion of large mass of soil/rock. Caused by
steep slopes, undercut by water, earthquake & volcanic activities, water may act as

) In well-jointed rocks. Types of springs are: i. (permeable & impermeable layers alternate) water emerges at base of permeable layers ii. The permeable rock in which water is stored is called aquifer. Boring wells depletes groundwater . steepening due to human activities etc. water goes underground & may re-emerge when limestone replaces some impermeable rock. Groundwater depends on climate. Most porous rocks are permeable. Spring: It is simply an outlet of water (gradual or like a fountain) at place where water table reaches surface. v. Excess of water causes waterlogging. Clearing of vegetation is also a reason Groundwater: Circulation of water between land.) In karst region.) Where dyke/sill of impermeable rock intrudes thru permeable rock water issues out at that place iv. flows into rivers which again reaches sea (run-off) or is absorbed by ground. Slumping is caused when permeable debris overlies impermeable strata (like clay). Mech pumping is req to draw water. Its called vauclusian or resurgence Wells: Hole bored thru earth till water table reached. Artesian well known for its structure. sea & atmosphere. Rainwater that falls is either evaporated immediately.) In areas of tilted strata. which is given back by transpiration. Depth is that of permanent water table to ensure uniform water level. relief features & rocks. This type of well has high water pressure present. Clay is porous but not permeable & granite in permeable but not porous Water table: Water moves down till it reaches impermeable strata. Surface of saturated area is called water table. absorbed by plants. Porous rocks are those that have pores & absorb water (sandstone) while Permeable rocks allow water to pass through. Rock layers are down folded into basin & permeable layer is sandwiched b/w 2 impermeable layer. Thus water can neither move down nor escape up (see fig). it emerges through a joint iii. Very useful in deserts.    lubricant.) In limestone/chalk escarpments where permeable rock lie b/w impermeable strata water emerges at foot of scarp as scarp-foot spring or near foot of dip-slope as dipslope spring.