A landscape is the result of the impact of various forces. The roots of the common beech highlight one type of forces which have an effect on shaping the Earth’s surface. These are known as exogenous forces.
As they grow thicker, roots develop such high pressure that they can split giant boulders or layers of asphalt apart. This process is known as root wedging and is a kind of weathering. The rock is broken down into smaller pieces but its composition remains unchanged. However, this breakdown of the rock gives rise to additional weathering processes as it increases the surface area of the rock and exposes more surface area to attack by water and acids. These processes alter the composition of the rock and form new minerals. Thus the erosion of rocks, their removal and the change in their composition cause whole mountains and landscapes to disappear over millions of years.

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