It is a process in which hard rock and minerals on the surface of Earth gradually break down and change form because they are exposed to wind, water, salt and varying temperatures. Weathering is the first step in the formation of soil. There are two types of weathering: mechanical and chemical. In the first type, rocks break up into smaller fragments, whereas in the second, the original material transforms into another substance.

Weathering, disintegration or alteration of rock in its natural or original position at or near the Earth’s surface through physical, chemical, and biological processes induced or modified by wind, water, and climate.

During the weathering process the translocation of disintegrated or altered material occurs within the immediate vicinity of the rock exposure, but the rock mass remains in situ. Weathering is distinguished from erosion by the fact that the latter usually includes the transportation of the disintegrated rock and soil away from the site of the degradation. A broader application of erosion, however, includes weathering as a component of the general denudation of all landforms along with wind action and fluvial, marine and glacial processes. The occurrence of weathering at or near the Earth’s surface also distinguishes it from the physical and chemical alteration of rock through metamorphism, which usually takes place deep in the crust at much higher temperatures.

Credit: Britannica

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