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What turns rocks into sand?  

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Lupe Tanner, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Weathering processes turn rocks into sand. There are a number of ways weathering can do this. Plants growing in cracks in rocks can widen the cracks as they grow and ultimately break the rock down into smaller fragments. Many plants also release organic acids that will cause chemical weathering. Water, through freeze and thaw cycles, causes weathering. Any water that is stored in the cracks may freeze during colder nights or seasons and may melt during warmer times. This happens again and again and causes the cracks to widen. Thermal stresses develop when temperature varies over a wide range causing expansion and contraction cycles. These stresses also cause the weathering of rocks. There are a number of other ways that the weathering of rocks takes place.

Weathering is not to be confused with erosion, since erosion refers to the transport of weathered material.

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