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Compare and Contrast the Weathering Found in an Area of Limestone Country with that Found in an Area of Granite.”

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Introduction

Geography Essay - "Compare and Contrast the Weathering Found in an Area of Limestone Country with that Found in an Area of Granite." Limestone is physically strong and is able to form steep slopes without collapsing, and is composed of calcium carbonate thus making it vulnerable to chemical weathering by carbonation, which dissolves the rock. The rock contains both joints and bedding planes that allow water to penetrate deeply into the rock, and is highly permeable. Water is able to travel rapidly through the limestone and due to its strength is also able to form underground cave systems. Unlike chalk, limestone is a non-porous rock. Areas of limestone have relatively thin soils due to much being dissolved during weathering, and are unable to support much vegetation, for example it is very rare to see trees. This means that bare rock outcrops and scars are a common feature of a limestone landscape. Scars are steep cliffs of bare rock that are vulnerable to weathering processes such as frost shattering and carbonation leading to solution. Limestone is quarried for cement and road stone, and many limestone exposures in the Pennines are due to human activity as much as natural processes. ...read more.

Middle

Underground caverns are also a main feature of the area of Ingleborough. The caverns contain features such as stalactites and stalagmites, curtains and columns. Stalactites are formed as calcium carbonate is deposited like an icicle formed in caves by chemical precipitation from drips or films of water. They are built up from many successive growth layers and almost always have pointed tips. Drops of water leave a few crystals of calcite mineral behind, and a stalactite begins to grow. Stalagmites are formed when water containing dissolved limestone falls to the floor of a cave causing a build up of deposits forming a mound growing up from the floor. Columns are formed when stalactite and a stalagmite grow so much that they join together to form a vertical limestone pillar from floor to ceiling. Other features in the cave are curtains, formed when water seeps down along the length of a joint, producing a type of stalactite, which resembles a curtain of calcite. They can, after many years reach the ground. Caverns themselves are formed solely due to carbonation leading to solution, sped up by the possible occurrence of humus, or vegetation remains. ...read more.

Conclusion

The rapid weathering can be seen where the joints are closest, and the core stones of the tors can be distinguished. All of the regolith has been removed in stage three, and the core stones are left protruding the surface. The tors are made of rectangular blocks of granite in a pillar formation. The depressions where the joints were most dense are now filled with china clay (kaolin) that is left when the feldspar in the granite is chemically weathered. Granite has a very different type of landscape to limestone, and different types of weathering are the cause of this. Granite's main features are above ground, but limestone has features both above and below the surface. On the other hand, they are similar because in both, the areas that are most heavily jointed are the areas that are weathered the most rapidly. Granite and limestone features are both protected by national parks, but each of them is also exploited for different reasons, for example granite is exploited for furniture decoration and as bulk aggregate for roads. Limestone is quarried for use in fuel production. Therefore I conclude that there are a few similarities and many differences in the weathering of granite and limestone. ...read more.

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