Weathered rock

Weathered rock

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Credit: WAYNE LAWLER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Weathered rock. Plant growing in a crack in quartzite rock. The rock has cracked due to the action of heat and water. During the day the rock will heat up and expand. When the rock cools at night tiny fractures form in the rock. These cracks are aggravated and expanded by groundwater. The plant will contribute to the breakdown of the rock through physical root pressure and secretion of organic acids. Quartzite is a sedimentary sandstone rock that has changed structure as a result of intense heat or pressure underground. The red colouration is due to staining by naturally occurring iron oxide. Photographed by the Townamber River, Australia.

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Keywords: australia, cracked rock, erosion, geology, geomorphology, metamorphic sandstone, plant, quartzite, sedimentary, townamber river, weathering

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