Profile of weathering sedimentary rocks to limonites and also clay minerals. Concepcion, ChileImage Credit: MBG


Minerals weather chemically when they react through air and also water. In these procedures some minerals dissolve and others integrate with atmospheric contents (mainly water, oxygen and also carbon dioxide) to type new minerals. The certain reactions incorporate solution, oxidation, hydration and hydrolysis.

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Solution: Carbon dioxide (CO2) exit from decaying necessary matter and also from the atmosphere liquified in rainwater form the weak carbonic acid:

CO2 + H2O -> H2CO3 -> H+ + (HCO3)-

This acid strikes limestone, dissolve carbonates (e.g., CaCO3) yielding an aqueous solution of calcium and also bicarbonate ions:

CaCO3 + H2CO3 -> Ca++ + 2(HCO3)-

Limestone carbonic mountain calcium ions bicarbonate ions

Dissolution the limestone may create extensive underground cavern systems.


Oxidation and hydration: Oxidation produces steel oxide minerals (hematite and also limonite) in fine aerated soils, normally in the presence of water.

Pyroxene, amphibole, magnetite, pyrite, and olivine are most susceptible come oxidation due to the fact that they have high iron content.

Iron included in mineral combines v oxygen and water to type hydrated iron oxides as follows:

4Fe++ + 3O2 + 6H2O -> 2(Fe2O3 3H2O)

Iron-rich mineral Oxygen Water Limonite


Hydrolysis: This reaction is responsible for the formation of clays, the most vital mineral in soils. A typical hydrolytic reaction occurs when orthoclase feldspar reacts with slightly acidic water to form clay minerals, potassium ions, and also silica in solution:

2KAlSi3O8 + 2H+ + 9H2O -> Al2Si2O5 (OH)4 + 2K+ + 4H4SiO4

Orthoclase feldspar mountain water clay mineral potassium ion dissolve silica

The ion released from silicate mineral in the weathering process are sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, and also magnesium ions. Lock are brought away through rain and river waters or come to be important floor nutrients.


The price of chemical weathering is controlled by:

The chemical security of minerals: This is pertained to the tendency of a mineral to continue to be in a offered chemical kind rather than to reaction spontaneously to end up being a different chemical substance. The security of a certain mineral is identified by the specific collection of conditions (e.g. Pressure and also temperature) under which they formed. Quartz, because that example, is the last mineral come crystallize native a silicate magma and has a greater chemical stability under physical problems at the Earth’s surface than olivine, pyroxene, and also feldspar. This minerals crystallize earlier and at higher temperatures and pressure, are because of this least stable and also most subject to chemical weathering.

Relative stability of assorted minerals enables us come ascertain the strongness of weathering in a provided area.

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Surface area: A massive volume the unfractured rock is less susceptible to weathering than an same mass of broken rock. This is because the substantial rock has actually less surface ar area on which atmospheric processes can act, conversely, smaller pieces have a bigger area ~ above which chemical and also physical weathering have the right to act.