Fundamentals of Physical Geography

2nd Edition
James Petersen
ISBN: 9781133606536



Fundamentals of Physical Geography

2nd Edition
James Petersen
ISBN: 9781133606536
Textbook Problem


FIGURE 12.7 Enchanted Rock in central Texas, a large outcrop of granite, (a) appears distinctly dome-shaped from the air, and (b) displays large slabs of exfoliating granite in ground view.

Why is granite so susceptible to unloading and exfoliation?

To determine

The reason why granite is so susceptible to unloading and exfoliation.


Most of the rocks that are formed in a higher pressure condition of deep burial may uplift by mountain building tectonic processes. For instance, during tectonism, an intrusive igneous rock known as granite can be uplifted in a fault block. The erosional stripping of the overlying rocks and the removal of overlying weight at high elevation results in the unloading process. As a result, granite will be exposed at the surface of the Earth.

The difference that exists between lower atmospheric pressure on the granite surface and the high pressure at depth results in the expanding of outer few centimeters to meters of the rock toward the atmosphere. Due to this expansion, shallow joints known as cracks are formed roughly parallel to the exposed surface of granite and sheets of the rocks are broken from the main granite mass...

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