Difference Between Weathering and Erosion (With Table)

Weathering and Erosion are more or less similar, and they are involved with the breaking and removal of soil minerals and particles. Weathering involves the breaking of soil particles and rock minerals into fragments due to the atmosphere. On the other hand, Erosion refers to the shift of soil particles to another location using the wind.

Weathering vs Erosion

The difference between Weathering and Soil erosion is that weathering involves the breaking down of soil particles and rock minerals due to its exposure to the atmosphere. Soil erosion is the shift of soil particles and rock minerals in the earth’s surface to some other location due to glaciers, water, and wind. 

Weathering is the first step of breaking down soils and minerals, followed by the process of erosion. Weathering means the decomposing of rock solids and soil minerals into finer particles on the earth’s surface. Weathering can occur due to glaciers, atmosphere, wind, and water. Weathering is followed by Erosion (Soil erosion).

Soil Erosion is the process of carrying out the broken soil particles and rock minerals to another location. It occurs in all types of lands. Soil erosion usually happens after the weathering process, where it will carry away the deteriorate topsoil through wind and water. Soil erosion is generally divided into four types. 

Comparison Table Between Weathering and Erosion

Parameters of ComparisonWeatheringErosion
MeaningWeathering is the first step in the process of erosion. It breaks down and decomposes rock solids into smaller particles on the surface of the Earth.The process of erosion follows after weathering. Soil erosion transports the fine soil particles and rock minerals to different locations.
TypesThe process of weathering can occur in three different types or methods. They are chemical weathering, physical weathering, and biological weathering.The process of soil erosion occurs in four types. They are water erosion, wind erosion, gravity erosion, and ice erosion.
MovementThere are no aspects of any movement in the process of weathering. The broken-down particles remain on the surface of the Earth.The aspects of movement are present in the process of erosion. The particles or sediments are transported to different areas.
FactorsSome of the major factors that influence the process of weathering are the atmospheric factors. Air pressure is influential in weathering.Some of the major factors that influence the process of erosion are the water, wind, ice and, humans. These factors cause erosion.
DurationThe time needed for the process of weathering to occur is very long. Weathering happens over long periods of time.The time needed for the process of erosion to happen is relatively shorter than weathering. It can happen quicker compared to weathering.

What is Weathering?

Weathering is the process of deteriorating the topic soil in a landform due to various factors that include glaciers, water, atmosphere, and so on. It is the breaking down of soil and rock solids into finer particles due to factors like glaciers, atmosphere, water, and animals. Even the hardest rock on the planet can be broken into simple particles due to the weathering process.

Weathering together with soil erosion can change the entire landscape of a particular area. Weathering is the first process of producing soil, which is then transported to other locations by the process of soil erosion. Weathering is divided into three types, namely chemical weathering, physical weathering, and biological weathering. 

Chemical weathering occurs due to the chemical substances present in the soil particles. The carbonation process is an example of chemical weathering. They are several different types of chemical weathering. They are carbonation, chelation, hydrolysis, solution, and so on. 

Hydrolysis weathering is a form of weathering that happens because of the reaction of water with rock solids. Carbonic acids presented in the soil surface are the cause of carbonation weathering. Solution weathering happens after rain releases carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere; it helps in the dissolving of rocks like limestone.

What is Erosion?

The term Erosion is interchangeably used to denote the process of soil erosion. Soil erosion is a geographical process of displacement or transportation of solids, such as broken soil particles and rock minerals, to another location. The erosion process generally occurs after the process of weathering. 

Soil erosion carries the rock particles situated in a place and deposits them at another destination. This process is performed by natural agents like air, water, and wind and also through animals and humans. The method of soil erosion is divided into four types.  

Gravity erosion is the result of the movements of the rocks. The gravitational pull attracts the rocks and other sediments downwards. This is also known as the mass movement and helps in transporting the sediments present in hilly regions. Wind erosion is another type of erosion found primarily in arid regions.

Water erosion is a vital factor that causes the process of erosion around the world. This erosion, influenced by the stream, moves downwards and headwords. Rivers tend to wear down in time and transport the rock and other sediments from the region. Ice erosion is the strongest, as it can even move large rocks. Ice erosion can transport huge rocks and sediments far away.

Main Differences Between Weathering and Erosion

  1. Weathering is the process of decomposition of rock solids and minerals into finer particles. Erosion is the process of displacement of the fine particles to other locations.
  2. The process of weathering occurs first. Erosion follows the process of weathering and transports the smaller particles.
  3. The time required to complete the whole processing of weathering is very long. The time required for the process of erosion is relatively shorter.
  4. There are no instances of any movement in the process of weathering. The process of erosion is based on the movement of fine rock particles from one location to another.
  5. Atmospheric factors like air pressure cause or influence the process of weathering. Erosion is made possible due to multiple factors like water, wind, ice, humans, etc.

Conclusion

The terms weathering and erosion are occasionally used interchangeably. Both the processes are closely related. In reality, they differ in their meanings but are part of a whole process. The erosion process continues after the end of weathering. 

The process of weathering is the first step of breaking down rock particles. Weathering is primarily caused by air pressure. The rocks and particles are disintegrated into finer particles. The disintegrated particles settle on the surface of the earth. Then, the process of erosion takes place. It is the displacement of the fine particles from one place to another place. Both of these processes together play a crucial role in shaping the surface of the Earth.

References

  1. https://doi.org/10.1144/GSL.QJEGH.1995.028.P3.03
  2. https://doi.org/10.1002/ldr.472
x
2D vs 3D