Forest Hydrology and Ecology at Coweeta

Volume 66 of the series Ecological Studies pp 93-102

Weathering and Soil-Forming Processes

  • M. A. Velbel

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Weathering of rocks and minerals is one of the most important processes operating at the surface of the earth. On a microscopic scale, mineral weathering reactions occur at the interface between solids and solutions. On a grander scale, weathering is a process which operates at the interface between the earth’s endogenic and exogenic cycles. The earth’s internal forces determine the distribution of rocks, minerals, chemical elements, and relief in time and space. The exogenic system then transforms rock-forming minerals and their constituent elements into residual and secondary solids and dissolved products, and redistributes them physically, chemically, and biologically. These interfacial interactions between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere profoundly alter both the surface of the solid earth and the chemistry of its fluid envelopes.