Weathering and Erosion Study Guide

evaporation
changing of a liquid to a gas

transpiration
process by which plants that release water into the atmosphere from small pores on their leaves known as stomata

sublimation
changing of a solid to a gas

condensation
changing of a gas into a liquid

precipitation
water released from clouds in the form of rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, or hail

infiltration
water that is absorbed by the soil and funneled down to groundwater

runoff
water that flows over the surface of the earth into rivers and lakes

groundwater
water that is absorbed by the earth

weathering
process that breaks down rock into smaller pieces

erosion
process of transporting weathered material by natural agents

deposition
process of laying the weathered material down in a new location

chemical weathering
process by which rock’s minerals are changed into different substances

mechanical weathering
process by which rock is split or broken into smaller pieces without changing its chemical composition, disintegration

abrasion
the collision of rocks with other rocks, resulting in the breaking and wearing away of the rocks.

carbonation
carbonic acid reacts with calcite to dissolve limestone

oxidation
Oxygen in the atmosphere chemically reacts with minerals

regolith
weathered rock fragments

soil profile
a cross-section in which layers of the soil and bedrock can be seen.

humus
dark soil that contains decaying remains of plants and animals

acid rain
rain that is very acidic

glacier
large mass of ice and snow that moves over land

waves
curving swells of water caused by wind, tides, and earthquakes

beach
place where eroded particles are deposited parallel to the shore

wind
moving air

soil
loose, weathered rock and organic material in which plants with roots can grow

A horizon
topsoil horizon that is generally gray to black

B horizon
subsoil horizon that is generally red or brown

C horizon
horizon made of rock fragments on top of unweatered bedrock

parent material
material from which a soil is formed, determines composition and properties of the soil

bedrock
solid rock that lies beneath the soil

hydrolysis
any chemical reaction of water with other substances

aquifer
body of rock that holds the groundwater

zone of aeration
the spaces between the sediments above the water table and are not filled with water

permeability
indicates how freely water passes through open spaces

porosity
percentage of open space in a given volume of rock or sediment

zone of saturation
groundwater forms this zone where water fills all of the open spaces in sediment and rock

water table
upper level of the saturation zone

pores
holes in the rock

cavern
a cave

sinkholes
formed when a cavern loses its support and the ceiling caves in

natural bridges
formed when either several sinkholes collapse in a line, or a surface river enters a crack in a rock formation which eventually erodes through the rock

stalagmites
rocks that form from the ground in caves

stalactites
rocks that hang from the ceiling in caves

column
formed when a stalagmite meets a stalactite

toglobites
creatures that live only in caves

karst topography
regions where groundwater dissolves the rocks and leaves visible traces on Earth’s surface

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