Freeze-Thaw Weathering: The Key Facts

Process: Freeze-Thaw Weathering

  • Physical breakdown of rocks into particles as water turns to ice and expands
  • Water which enters the cracks freezes over night, when the temperatures fall to below 0*C
  • When water freezes it expands by 9% which puts pressure on the rock and widens the crack
  • This process is repeated and the crack continues to widen, until eventually pieces of rock break off
  • On steep slopes this leads to the collection of material at the base, known as scree
  • Occurs of high valleys and ridges

Landform: Blockfield or Felsenmeer (as shown above and below)

Located at the base of a cliff/valley

Large expanse of angular boulders

They don’t originate from mass movement, they’re not transported

Formed in situ, which means they’re not transported during or after their creation

Only form on slopes that are smaller than 25* otherwise the rocks will move due to gravity




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