DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Weathered limestone. Repeated freezing and thawing of water has caused this limestone cliff to be weathered along the bedding planes of the rock. The process, known as freeze-thaw action, occurs when water freezes in the cracks between solid rocks. It causes 9% enlargment of the fissures because water expands as it freezes. Repeated freezing and thawing eventually weakens the rock so much that it splits and a piece falls off. This final stage in the weathering process is called frost-splitting or congelifraction. The weathered rock collects beneath rock faces such as this in scree slopes (not seen). Photographed in the Dachstein Massif in the Austrian Alps.
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