How of rock. One type of weathering

How did there get to be so many different types of rocks in the world? Well one reason for this is chemical weathering. Here you will learn about what chemical weathering is and three examples of it.

What is Chemical Weathering?

If you look at any rock collection, you may see rocks of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some of these differences might be the result of weathering, which is when rocks are broken down into smaller pieces or changed to the point where they become a different type of rock.

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One type of weathering called chemical weathering uses chemical reactions to change rock.A chemical reaction happens when a substance reacts with an element, such as oxygen, and this changes what it is made up of. The result is a substance made up of new elements, and it cannot be changed back.Chemical weathering happens mainly to the top layer of rocks and in hot, humid areas. It takes many years to see the results of chemical weathering. Next, we’ll discuss the three main types of chemical weathering: carbonation, oxidation, and hydrolysis.

Carbonation

Have you ever felt tiny little bubbles popping on your nose when you take a drink of soda? Or heard an ‘ssssss’ sound when you open a new bottle of soda? You are feeling and hearing carbon dioxide being released.

Carbon dioxide and other chemicals are also released into our atmosphere because of pollution from cars and factories. This results in something known as acid rain. Did you know that there is acid in the rain that falls on our earth? While it doesn’t usually hurt plants and animals, it can affect rock.Carbonation happens when this acid rain combines with rocks and changes the way they are formed.

Limestone and feldspar are two types of rocks that change when acid rain falls on them. The changed rock becomes a cave or even a sinkhole!

Chemical weathering made this cave
picture of a cave

Oxidation

Have you ever left your bike or a metal toy outside for a few weeks? Did you notice that some of the metal parts turned red or rusted? If you leave it outside for a very long time, it may even start to break apart. This happens because that metal was exposed to an element we need to survive…

oxygen! Isn’t it interesting that something so valuable to us can be so destructive to something else?Oxidation in rocks happens when they are exposed to oxygen. These rocks change to that red or rust color because the oxygen has changed the chemical makeup of that rock. The most common example is rocks containing iron. If you ever see a rust colored rock, it has been oxidized.

Oxidation caused this rock to turn red.
New minerals being formed from feldspar
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