The Effect of Persistent Weathering on Rocks

Written by
weathering on rocks

Every type of rock and stone on this earth will go through stages of weathering. Weathering is a process that breaks down rocks and minerals on the earth’s surface usually through rain and extreme temperatures.

Two Different Weathering Types

There are two different types of weathering processes that exist and they are known as physical weathering and chemical weathering.

Physical Weathering

physical weathering of stone

Physical weathering contributes to breaking down of rocks through the Earth’s atmospheric conditions – temperature, wind, ice etc.

Chemical weathering

chemical weathering of stone

Chemical weathering is the breaking down of rocks using the atmospheric chemicals to do so. This process can become intense where the climate is hot and wet. All rocks on this Earth’s surface go through a cycle known as The Rock Cycle where there is a group of changes that the rocks are forced to go through in a sequenced event.

Once the weathering process has come to an end, the leftover material is now soil. Depending on the type of rock that has been grinded down by the process will give you different types of soil. You may get basic soil to organic, most fertile soil.

Rocks You Say… What about Stones?

Technically rocks are stones, and stones are rocks! So yes they are both affected.

Rock (1) To the geologist any mass of mineral matter, whether consolidated or not, which forms part of the Earth’s crust … (2) The civil engineer regards rock as something hard, consolidated, and/or load bearing, which, where necessary, has to be removed by blasting. This concept also accords with the popular idea of the meaning of the word.

Stone In geology the word ‘stone’ is admissible only in combinations such as limestone, sandstone, etc., or where it is used as the name for extracted material – building stone, stone road. It should not be used as a synonym for rock or pebble.

The Penguin Dictionary of Geology by D. G. A Whitten & J. R. V. Brooks, published in 1979

The Rock Cycle

rock cycle
  1. Rocks start out as Igneous rocks which means they have been formed by the cooling of magma and lava. Igneous rock is known to form underground where the lava is cooled much more slowly but when it is formed above ground, the lava is cooled quicker, forming the rocks faster.
  2. The rocks will then take their next turn in the cycle by turning into Sedimentary rocks. Sedimentary rocks are pieces of rock that have been broken or chipped off of Igneous rocks and have found their way to the river.
  3. The river will then carry them into the sea or a lake where the sedimentary rocks will gather at the bottom. As time goes by the rocks will build up in layers which is called sediments. The whole process is known as Sedimentation.
  4. The final stage of the rock cycle is where we look at Metamorphic rocks. Metamorphic rocks are when the rocks have been put through extreme heat to enable them to turn into different types of rocks. The stage of Metamorphic rocks usually leads them into being very weather resistant and acceptable to all kinds of wear and tear.

Metamorphic rocks are also given the names of marble, quartzite and others that are commonly found in art and building work.

Does Rustic Stone Memorials or House Signs suffer from Weathering?
example of nyan cat pet memorial

We often get asked this question and the answer is yes. All our memorials, pet memorials and house signs suffer from both Physical and chemical weathering, but… in defence of stone! Its an extremely long process! All of the stone weathering effects you see in the images on this page has occured over million of years! We will be long gone before you notice these effects, also metals, wood and plastics are also affected by the impact of weathering.

If you need a memorial stone but you’re unsure which material to use then we recommend you check out our blog post about the various types of memorial stones.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>