How do plants cause weathering?
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Plants can cause both mechanical and chemical weathering.
Mechanical weathering occurs when roots grow and cause the rock to break (just like the roots that crack the sidewalk).
Chemical weathering occurs when roots release chemicals, like acid, which then break down the rocks.
The roots of plants can grow and slowly cause rocks to break as the pressure of their roots increase.
Biological weathering is the weakening and subsequent disintegration of rock by plants, animals, and microbes.
Growing plant roots can exert stress or pressure on rock. Although the process in physical, the pressure is exerted by a biological process (ex. growing roots). Biological processes can also produce chemical weathering, for example, when plant roots or microorganisms produce organic acids which help to dissolve minerals.
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