A New Conceptual Model for Understanding Geographical Variations in Weathering

Gregory A. Pope, Ronald Dorn, John C. Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The prevailing theory used to explain geographical variability in weathering is based on visual correlations with climatic regions. For instance, mechanical weathering is assumed to predominate in warm and cold deserts. Yet this visual perspective fails to account for a diversity and quantity of data at the mineral‐atmosphere‐hydrosphere‐biosphere interface where weathering processes actually occur. To address these discrepancies, a new model is proposed which views geographical variability in weathering as a function of synergistic biological, chemical, and physical processes that are controlled by factors that vary at the microscopic weathering boundary‐layer. The new multivariate model better explains weathering observations at hygroscopic, capillary, pedogenic, landform, and landscape scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-64
Number of pages27
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995


  • climate
  • desert
  • geomorphology
  • microscopy
  • periglacial
  • soils
  • weathering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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