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Difference Between Erosion and Weathering

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Difference Between Erosion and Weathering - Explanation, Types

In the subject of Biology there are many concepts, and more often than not, you may find yourself a little confused between the various concepts, and you may use them interchangeably, to avoid this type of mistake it is necessary for the students to have a good understanding of the topic, but even more importantly it is necessary for the students to know the difference between the same. And the topic of Erosion and Weathering is one such topic in the subject of Biology. Oftentimes, students get confused between the Erosion and Weathering and use both the terms interchangeably, that is to say, using the term “Erosion” in the place of the “Weathering” and Vice Versa.

An Introduction to Weathering and Erosion

Weathering and erosion are forms by which rocks are separated and moved from their unique location. They vary depending on whether a rock's location is changed: weathering debases a rock without moving it, while erosion diverts rocks and soil from their unique locations. Weathering frequently prompts erosion by making rocks separate into little pieces, which erosive forces would then be able to move away. 


Primarily, the difference between erosion and weathering is that weathering happens to set up though erosion includes movement to another location. Both are brought about by quite similar factors such as wind, water, ice, temperature, and even natural activity. They can likewise happen together. In this article, we will learn about the weathering and erosion differences in detail. Let us go through the difference between weathering and erosion.


An Overview of Erosion

Erosion is the natural process that takes place on the surface of the Earth’s crust. It removes the soil, and the rock from the surface of the earth, as well as dissolves the material of the earth’s crusts and transports it to another location. As seen, the movement is important here in the process of erosion, and it makes it distinct from the weathering.

Rainfall, Bedrock wear in the rivers, Coastal erosion that is done by the sea and the waves, plucking of the glacier, Abrasion, which is to say, the wearing of the material while being transported, areal flooding, also the abrasion caused by the wind are all the agents of the erosion.

An Overview of the Weathering

As seen in erosion the process of transportation of the materials plays an important role, while on the other hand no such thing is included in the weathering. Because Weathering is the process of deterioration of the rocks, soils, and all the other minerals, including the artificial minerals and the wood. And it happens naturally over a period of time. It happens when the given materials come in contact with the gases which are present in the atmosphere, that is to say, atmospheric gases, and other biological organisms, as well as with the water.

It always occurs on the site, with almost no or maybe a little movement involved, it is also called “In Situ”. And this is the major point in differentiating it from the weathering. While the Agents of Erosion such as water transports the material from one place to the other; the same agent deteriorates the material in the case of weathering. The process of weathering is divided into two parts, which are physical weathering and chemical weathering. The breakdown of the rocks and soils by the mechanical effect of the water, or heat, or ice is called Physical weathering. While the deterioration done by the chemical reaction of water or the atmospheric gases is called Chemical Weathering.

Erosion vs Weathering

Let us compare and contrast weathering and erosion in detail. The primary difference between weathering and erosion in points is given below.


Types of Weathering 

There are two unmistakable kinds of weathering, which modify and corrupt rock in various manners. 

  • Physical weathering separates a rock's physical structure. For instance, in cool environments water that gets into holes in rock and freezes will make those holes grow and in the long run break and split the rock. A similar procedure might be brought about by salt development or developing tree roots. Another form of physical weathering happens when wind or water makes rocks rub against one another, smoothing their surfaces. 

  • Chemical weathering changes the chemical structure of rock, making it become milder or increasingly brittle. For instance, iron in a rock may respond with oxygen to form effectively degradable rust, or acids in water may remove calcium from limestone and marble. Chemical weathering regularly goes before physical weathering, making rocks progressively defenseless against forces like breeze and downpour. 


Types of Erosion 

Various sorts of erosion are normally separated by the force that conveys rocks, stone, or soil away from its location. Water is the most widely recognized force that causes erosion. Waterways wear out and carry away rock and soil along their banks. The Grand Canyon was formed from a great many long stretches of this kind of erosion. Comparable erosion happens in the sea, where moving water and waves debase and carry away particles of coastline rock. 


Wind erosion can just happen on little particles of ash, dust, and rock, however, it can, in any case, move huge amounts of these particles from their unique locations and make amazing formations, for example, sand rises. Erosion by ice is uncommon in many pieces of the world, yet ice can move a lot bigger rocks than most other erosive forces. Ice may carry colossal boulders miles from their unique locations.


If you have to differentiate between weathering and erosion, here is an explanation of weathering versus erosion in detail.


Distinguish Between Weathering and Erosion



Erosion refers to the displacement of the solids through wind, water, and ice.

Weathering refers to the decomposition of the rocks, soil, and minerals through direct contact with the atmosphere.

The eroded materials are displaced in the case of erosion.

The weathered materials are not displaced in the case of weathering.

The several types of erosion include water, wind, thermal, ice, and gravity erosion

The several types of weathering include physical, chemical, and biological weathering

Wind, ice, water, and human activities are some of the major causes of erosion.

Weathering is caused because of atmospheric factors like air pressure.

Last updated date: 25th Sep 2023
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FAQs on Difference Between Erosion and Weathering

1. Explain the difference between weathering and erosion.

Weathering and erosion are both natural geological processes that act on the matter on the surface of the earth such as rocks and soil and cause them to move and reshape the surface of the earth. Weathering refers to the breaking up of the rocks into smaller fragments that ultimately change the size and structure of the rocks. Forces of nature are for the most part responsible for this process. Erosion, on the other hand, involves several processes such as wind, water flow, and movement of ice, which results in the change from one location to another.

2. What are the effects of weathering and erosion on the surface of the earth?

Both weathering and erosion have a major impact on the surface of the earth. The various effects of weathering and erosion are given as follows:

  1. Several changes in the shape, the size, and the texture of land-forms such as mountains, riverbeds, and beaches

  2. Wearing away of the buildings, statues, and roads

  3. Landslides

  4. Formation of soil

  5. Washes away the soil, the pollutants, and the harmful sediments into the water bodies

  6. Causes metals to form rust

  7. Reduces the shorelines and beaches

  8. Formation of delta

  9. Formation of several new landforms

3. What is the difference between physical and chemical weathering?

Physical weathering depicts a change that influences the structure of a rock, however not its composition. It is sometimes additionally called mechanical weathering since it just motivates mechanical changes to the rock's structure. Forces that break rocks, rub away rock surfaces, or form cracks inside the rock are instances of physical weathering. Physical weathering doesn't change the chemical composition of rocks.

While physical weathering separates rocks without altering their composition, chemical weathering alters the chemicals that form the rocks. Depending upon the chemicals that are used, the rock may break down completely, or may essentially become gentler and increasingly vulnerable to different forms of weathering. Physical and chemical weathering regularly work inseparably: chemical weathering debilitates the rock and physical weathering separates it.