Elements: Weathering Across the Earth Sciences

July 29, 2019

Weathering processes play and integral role across a range of geoscience fields. Chemical weathering – the loss of mass by mineral dissolution and export – is key to understanding how Earth's skin functions. Weathering is the starting point for the biogeochemical cycles of most elements. It determines river and groundwater chemistry and provides nutrients to ecosystems. Weathering alters rock structure and susceptibility to erosion; soil and landscape evolution cannot be understood without considering the role of chemical weathering. Weathering of silicate rocks is a long-term sink for atmospheric CO2, and has been crucial in maintaining our planet's habitability over billions of years ... and may constitute a geoengineering strategy. This issue explores the linkages between them.

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