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Geomorphic Processes

Gradation Processes –
Weathering, Mass Wasting,
Erosion, Transportation
and Deposition
Geomorphic Processes:

 Physical processes which create and modify landforms

on the surface of the earth

 Endogenous (Endogenic) vs.Exogenous (Exogenic)


 Rock Cycle 
A. Exogenous Processes
Also called Gradational Processes, they comprise
degradation and aggradation

 a continuum of processes – Weathering  Mass

Wasting  Erosion  Transportation  Deposition
 these processes are carried through by Geomorphic
Agents: gravity, flowing water (rivers), moving ice
(glaciers), waves and tides (oceans and lakes), wind,
plants, organisms, animals and humans

1. Degradation Processes  Also called Denudation Processes

a. Weathering , b. Mass Wasting and c. Erosion
and Transportation
2. Aggradation Processes
a. Deposition – fluvial, eolian, glacial, coastal

Weathering is the process of degradation or breaking down of

rocks into smaller fragments known as sediments.
 More precisely, it involves the mechanical or physical
disintegration and/or chemical decomposition that fragments
rock masses into smaller components that amass on-site, before
being moved by gravity or transported by other agents
 The processes begin in microscopic spaces, cracks, joints,
faults, fractures, lava vesicles and other rock cavities

Types of Weathering: 1) Physical or Mechanical Weathering,

2) Chemical Weathering
 Physical or Mechanical Weathering
 Disintegration and decay of rocks via weather elements: high
temperatures, extreme cold and freeze-thaw cycles
 No change in chemical composition of rocks

Example of physical/mechanical weathering:

1. Frost heaving and wedging – this occurs when water seeps
into the rocks or occupies spaces in between rocks and
freezes, acting like a wedge.
 Physical or Mechanical Weathering

2. Plant roots – huge trees that produced large roots

anchor themselves on rocks and force their way into
 Physical or Mechanical Weathering
3. Burrowing animals – some animals create their homes by
making holes on the rocks.

4. Abrasion – rocks in the river, seas, valleys, mountains, or

deserts, degrade or disintegrate due to fraction or repeated
collisions or impacts.

5. Temperature changes – sudden changes in temperature

weaken the integral structure of rocks, resulting to
 Chemical Weathering
 decomposes rocks through a chemical change in its minerals

Oxidation – important in iron-rich

rocks – reddish coloration like rust

Hydrolysis – igneous rocks have

much silica which readily combines
with water

Carbonation and Solution –

carbon dioxide dissolved in water
reacts with carbonate rocks to
create a soluble product (calcium
 Biological Weathering
– plants and animals contribute to weathering.

 Roots physically break or wedge rock

 Lichens (algae and fungi living as single unit),

remove minerals and weaken rock by releasing acids

 Burrowing animals can increase weathering.

Mass Wasting

these processes are
responsible for
of Earth’s surface
• EROSION- happens when fragments of rocks move
from one place to another

• MASS WASTING – is the movement of large

fragment of rocks down the slope due to gravity
• Landslide, mudslide, slumps, and debris flow are
examples of mass wasting.

– Various Geomorphic Agents, associated Processes,

and resulting Erosional Features

• Flowing Water – Fluvial Morphology

Humid regions:
Perennial streams and entrenched
channels, rapids, waterfalls, plunge
pools, potholes, meandering streams,
bank erosion, oxbow lakes, etc.
• Wind – Eolian Landscapes
deflation hollows, ventifacts, etc

• Tides and Waves – Coastal Morphology

Sea cliffs, sea caves, sea arches, sea stacks,
wave-cut beaches, etc..

• Moving Ice – Glacial Morphology

glacial troughs (U-shaped valleys), hanging

valleys, glacial lakes,.
– Various geomorphic agents, associated processes and
resulting Depositional Features
• Fluvial – Humid regions: Braided streams, sand bars, floodplains
(alluvium deposits), natural
levees, distributaries, deltas
Arid regions: Alluvial fans, bajadas,
piedmont alluvial plains, playas,
playa lakes, Salinas (salt flats)

• Eolian – Sand dunes (Barchans, Parabolic, Transverse,

Longitudinal, Star), and sand sheets

• Coastal – Sea beaches and coral reefs

• Glacial – Alpine: Glacial drifts, tills, moraines (lateral, medial, end,

terminal, recessional, and ground)
Continental: Till plains, outwash plains, drumlins, eskers,
kames, erratic
B. Endogenous Processes
Endogenous Processes are caused by endogenic
factors, or agents supplying energy for activities that are
located within the Earth or below the Earth’s surface.

1. Igneous Processes

a. Volcanism: Volcanic eruptions  Volcanoes

b. Plutonism: Igneous intrusions

2. Tectonic Processes (Also called Diastrophism)

a. Folding: anticlines, synclines, mountains

b. Faulting: rift valleys, escarpments
c. Lateral Faulting: strike-slip faults

Earthquakes  evidence of present-day tectonic activity

• Magmatism
- explains the movement of magma to form igneous
- responsible for the formation of mountain

• Mountains, volcanoes, or island arcs at convergent plate

boundaries, as well as mid-ocean and seafloor spreading ridges at
divergent plate boundaries of the Earth are additional mass and
volume formed due to magmatism.
• Plutonism
▫ - also known as volcanism, explains that the rocks are formed in fire by
volcanic activity
▫ - rocks gradually weather through time are washed away and then
deposited on the seafloor, forming layers of sedimentary rocks through
heat and pressure
Talus Cones
in the Canadian Rockies
Talus – pieces of rock at bottom of a rock fall

Can cause much destruction

A massive 300-ton boulder blocks

a road in Southern California
La Conchita Landslide, January 10, 2005
Monterey Park Debris Flow, 1980
PCH near Pacific Palisades, November 1956