rock formations and rock cycle Select a lesson

What are rocks made ofIgneous rocks formationFormation of sedimentary rocksFormation of metamorphic rocksphysical weathering of rocksChemical weathering of rocksBiological weathering of rocksRock erosion and transportExplain the rock cycle

Asexual Reproduction
Charact' of Living Things

States of Matter
The Five Senses
Water Cycle
The rock cycle for kids

Biological weathering

This process of weathering is very common and we see it around us. A good example is an animal that can burrow into a crack in a rock. There are many insects, rodents and bigger animals that live in holes in the ground or rocks. Constantly, they burrow and widen cracks and end up breaking rocks apart.

Algae, lichens, bacteria and mosses often grow on rock surfaces, especially in humid regions. They produce weak acids, which convert some of the minerals to clay. Algae growth can weaken many rock types and make it more open to weathering.

Humans are no exception. Walking and construction activities like road building, mining and the like involve people ripping rocks apart. They cause weathering too.

Tree roots and weathringAlso importantly, weeds and plant roots can get into cracks of rocks and grow from there. As the plant grows bigger the roots grow bigger and deeper, widening cracks and splitting them apart. Decaying roots also add organic acids to the joint, speeding up the weathering process.

Sometimes it is tricky to tell if a particular form of weathering is physical, chemical or biological. For example, if the pressure exerted by a root breaks up a piece of rock, what kind of weathering would it be? Pressure is physical weathering. At the same time, if chemicals released by roots enhance microbiological activity, then that can also cause chemical weathering. The same is true for biological weathering too, because weathering caused by plants and animals fall under that.
(learn about how weathering can impact landforms)

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Types of rocks for kids