What impact do humans have on physical weathering?

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c67julie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Humans affect the rate of physical weathering in several ways. The first way I am going to discuss is acid rain. Humans have increased the rate of acid rain through our use of pollutants. Cars do a lot of damage because of their exhaust fumes. The sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide released from the tailpipes of cars go into the atmosphere and return back to Earth in the form of acid rain, snow, fog, or dust. Factories throw away waste and release gases into the atmosphere. This affects the environment in a similar way cars do. Another way humans affect the rate of weathering is through the mass removal of vegetation. This is done when we are building highways, malls, subdivisions, and other structures. Deforestation exposes soil to high levels of rainfall and runoff, leaving areas open to wind and chemical weathering. Deforestation also exposes rocks that were once covered by vegetation. These rocks are now susceptible to all types of physical weathering, including acid rain weathering and biological weathering. Forest fires can cause the rocks that are located along the surface of the ground to weather as well.

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