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Eroded granite

Eroded granite

E460/0449

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Credit

MICHAEL SZOENYI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICHAEL SZOENYI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Eroded granite. This is the Remarkable Rocks formation, on Kangaroo Island, Australia. The type of erosion that has taken place here, tafoni (or cavernous) erosion, takes place at coastlines with high temperature and humidity differences and a high salt content in the air. It is a combination of physical and chemical weathering processes, and starts when water brings dissolved minerals to the rock surface. When the water dries, the minerals form crystals that force small particles to flake off the rock. Eventually, large cavities such as these form, having a cavernous and honeycombed shape because the surface layer of rock is harder than the interior.

Release details

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