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Physical disintegration and chemical decomposition of rocks, minerals, and immature soils at or near the Earth's surface. Physical, chemical, and biological processes induced or modified by wind, water, and climate cause the changes. Weathering is distinguished from erosion in that no transportation of material is involved. A broader application of erosion, however, includes weathering as a component. Weathering is also distinguished from metamorphism, which usually takes place deep in the crust at much higher temperatures and elevated pressures.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on weathering, visit Britannica.com.