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Field rock block exposure trials

By Cherith Moses


The exposure of rock blocks to monitor environmental controls on rock weathering and erosion processes and rates has become an established technique in geomorphology. Such exposure trials using rock blocks, ranging in size from discs of diameter 20 mm and 5 mm thickness to large blocks of dimensions 200 mm x 200 mm x 200 mm, are used to examine weathering and erosion rates over a variety of different spatial and temporal scales. This paper discusses the original design and purpose of rock block exposures and the range of environments in which they have been used. Subsequent modifications of the original technique have been used to measure not just erosion rates, but also rates of accumulation of travertine, rates of solute uptake and to monitor rock surface temperature changes. Two examples are given of field trials in which weathering gradients have been determined using a range of rock block exposure types. Little research has been carried out to correlate weathering and erosion rates determined from rock tablet exposure and other techniques, though one study suggests that there is an order of magnitude difference between solution rates measured using this technique and water hardness methods. Rock blocks, however, are often used to give a more detailed picture of spatial and temporal variations in weathering and erosion rates that would otherwise be masked by such indirect mass balance approaches

Topics: G0001-0922
Year: 2000
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