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The Impact Weathering Has Had On Human Activity

1062 words - 4 pages

The Impact Weathering Has Had on Human Activity

Weathering has impacted human activity in a variety of ways. There are
both positive and negative aspects of the result of weathering.

Firstly, the negative impacts are to be discussed. Weathering often
seems to be at a higher rate in urban areas than that of rural areas
due to the large volumes of gases and pollution given out by
industries and vehicles. When coal and oil are burnet sulphur dioxide
is releases and when it combines with water vapour in the air dilute
sulphuric acid is the product. Nitrogen oxides combine in a similar
way to produce nitric acid. The result is acid rain. The acid rain
chemically weathers materials away by decomposing the minerals. London
is widely known for burning large doses of fossils fuels increasing
the amount of acid rain. This rain has then fallen on buildings such
as St. Paul’s Cathedral and increased chemical weathering leading to
deterioration on its surface. Also, if cracks and joints present will
have allowed this rain to enter and chemically weather there as well
as on the surface. This chemical weathering has also been enhanced due
to the extremely large presence of birds in the area, particularly
pigeons whose faeces contribute to the chemical weathering. Very
recently this has had an impact because it has been such an economic
cost of £40 million to restore the western front of the building.

Sulphur dioxide also reacts with calcium carbonate which is a main
component of limestone. This causes limestone buildings to develop a
soft outer crust which in time is likely to exfoliate. This has
happened to the building of Oxford university which are largely made
up of limestone. Here acid rain is dominant and the university loses
much money each year in order to sustain it’s buildings.

Weathering also occurs on roads throughout the UK, in the main as a
result of there being extremely cold temperatures. This causes the
roads to become slippery and so to deal with the problem salt grit is
placed onto the roads. The salt crystallises and hydrates through the
pores within underlying material causing salt crystal growth. This
mechanical weathering exerts pressure on surrounding areas when water
is heated and hence evaporates leaving the salt behind. The result is
a pitted and uneven road surface that in time will need to be
replenished due to its unsuitability for driving on and thus this
costs large amounts of money. This process is also very common in arid
coastal regions of Greece and Turkey which water is very quickly
evaporated and leaves behind growing salt crystals.

Freeze thaw weathering also impacts human activity because it degrades
road surface quality. In Scotland for example due to the cold and icy
climate freeze-thaw...

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