Erosion Vs. Weathering

Difference Between Erosion And Weathering Today’s world is becoming environmentally aware and conscious. Consequently, erosion is a common…

Difference Between Erosion And Weathering

Today’s world is becoming environmentally aware and conscious. Consequently, erosion is a common subject that often appears in the news. This term is also used by some in place of weathering. But the basic process of weathering and erosion are very different.

The most important factor is the characteristics linked to erosion. It can be described as the movement of mineral particles and soil that are detached out of the substrate.

Weathering on the other hand does not require any movement like erosion instead it is caused by the chemical or physical factors.

Types of Erosion

Gravity- cut loose particles which fall down from the hill. This can sometimes have a snowballing effect.

Ice – is the most common means that glaciers scraped away the loose surface and push it forward.

Water -the particles are released and trapped by raindrops or even in the flowing water over the surface.

Shoreline “is sand and rocks on the beach pounded by the movement of the river, or vibrations. Particles are loosened and blown away in the water.

Wind causes the loosening up of rocks and soils hence displacing them.

Types of Weathering


Dissolving- Rain water is usually acidic and the acid is in the process gives way to slow degradation of the rocks.

Hydration – ions of oxygen and hydrogen from water molecules attach themselves to the rock minerals. The extra weight can lead to cracking and breaking.

Oxidation- minerals such as iron upon contact with oxygen in the air and moisture get weak. This is also termed as rusting.

Biological- Acid out of the plants for example mosses breaks the rocks.


Thermal expansion “when the temperature rises, stones have a tendency to expand. The reverse applies to the decreasing temperature. When this happens quickly, rocks can easily break up.

Frost disintegration- when water seeps into the cracks and due to low temperature freezes causing pressure the result is breaking down of the rocks.

Hydraulic- Incoming waves create pressure in the form of the trapped air present in crevices. The outgoing air lets out this pressure but with great force.

Biological- The roots of plants and other organisms that live in burrows disturb the substrate and hence let loose the physical and chemical forces linked to the process of weathering.

Weathering and erosion work together to break down soil and wear away the rocks and beaches. People also share a great contribution towards the intensity of these two processes by damaging the natural balance and washing away the foundation of soil through harmful agricultural practices and construction methods.




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