Over time, chemical weathering can dramatically change the Earth’s landscape. It transforms rock chemically by changing its mineral makeup. The results can be visually stunning and sometimes lead to dangerous conditions. Here are five examples of chemical weathering.
Cave formed by weathering
Most caves are formed through chemical weathering. When minerals are dissolved and washed away, cracks are left behind, and, over extended periods of time, the cracks can expand to form caves and cave systems.
Stalactites meet stalagmites to form columns
When mineral-rich water comes through the roof of a cave and drips, it leaves a mineral deposit behind. Over time, the deposits build up and form a narrow, hollow tube called a stalactite.
Stalactites drip to form stalagmites
When mineral-rich water drips from stalactites and then falls to the cave floor, it leaves a mineral deposit. As the water continues to drip, a round or cone-shaped mineral mound will form on the floor. This mound is called a stalagmite.
When underground rock decays as a result of chemical weathering, it can cause the ground to collapse, creating a sinkhole.
Oxidation is an effect of chemical weathering. When iron and other metallic elements are exposed to moisture, they oxidize, or rust.