What Are Weathering and Erosion?

Water plays an important role in weathering and breaking down rock.
© www.istockphoto.com/Kirill Trifonov

Rocks are hard and strong, but they do not stay that way forever. Forces like wind and water break down rocks through the processes of weathering and erosion.

Weathering is the process that breaks down rocks. Many things cause weathering, including climate changes. Erosion breaks rocks down further and then moves them. Forces like wind and water move the rock pieces. They mix with matter like sand to become sediment. Weathering and erosion help shape Earth’s surface. They are part of a process called the rock cycle.