Difference Between Weathering and Erosion


Main Difference

The main difference between Weathering and Erosion is that Weathering means a change in wind or temperature, whereas Erosion means movement rock, soil, etc. to a new location.

Weathering vs. Erosion

Weathering occurs in a specific place. Erosion causes the movement of objects to a new location. Weathering can be a physical or chemical change in different objects due to weather. Erosion is mainly done due to the several actions of wind, water, etc. The process of weathering can result in the formation of sharp round edges of the rocks. The process of erosion results in the slowly time-to-time dunes migration, and a case of flood quickly dunes migration.


Weathering causes degradation of rocks without moving from the original place. Erosion causes degradation of rocks and soil sediments by carrying away the soil or rocks from the original location. Weathering can lead to the process of erosion after reaching a stage. However, erosion can’t lead to the weathering process.

The main cause of weathering is different atmospheric factors. The main cause of erosion is different human activities. Weathering just refers to the breakdown of rocks and change the structure and shape of rocks. Erosion refers to the overall changing of the location. It is also said that weathering is a process through which rocks are dissolved. Erosion is the process through which rocks are transported.


Weathering is related to the breakdown of the earth. Erosion is related to settle down the broken pieces. Weathering is under the action of biotic and other abiotic agents. Erosion is under the action of mechanical agents like water etc. Humification is the effect of weathering. Erosion is the cause of glacier or gravity activity, glacier activity, etc.

Comparison Chart

A geological process which deals with change in climate is called weatheringThe geological process deals with the transfer of objects is called erosion
Mainly Occur
Biological, physical or chemical actionWind action, water, temperature changes, etc
Movement of Material
Doesn’t occurOccur
Mechanical weathering, chemical weathering, etcWind erosion, water erosion, etc
Only destructionDestruction and removal from the original site

What is Weathering?

The process of weathering is to alternate or degrade the rocks by different methods. Weathering is about the breakdown of rocks and minerals. It occurs with no or as well as with little movement. Mostly weathering occurs in the same place. Earth landscapes are also the result of weathering along with erosion. Plants and animals also show biological weathering and can also create chemical weathering by releasing acidic components. Mainly weathering is about two distinct kinds.

One type is physical weathering. In physical weathering, only the physical structure of the rocks or other material is getting affected, and it starts to break. For instance, when the rain comes on rocks in the winter season, then the water seeps into the holes of the rocks, and due to cold weather, it freezes in it, after which the holes start to expand and eventually break and separate from the rock. Such a process can also occur in the case of salt build-up and trees. Physical weathering also occurs when rocks rub each other due to water and wind and make their surfaces smooth.

Chemical weathering is another form of weathering. Due to chemical weathering, chemical changes occur in the rock. Such chemical changes lead to the rocks to become softer or sometimes brittle. For example, during chemical weathering, an iron mineral present in the rocks react with the oxygen and change into rust. Sometimes chemical weathering is a result of acid rain. Acid rains seep away from the calcium mineral from the marble, milestones, and rocks. It is also claimed that physical weathering is the result of chemical weathering.

What is Erosion?

Erosion is a continuous permanent removal of softened and rocks fragments to different locations generally to the downhill carrying through the water. Transportation of material is an important characteristic of the erosion process, which is mainly performed with the help of air, water, etc. Erosion causes damage to rocks and removes them from the original site. Erosion causes mechanical disturbance like fracturing of rocks, corruption, and disaggregation, etc.

Erosion is of several types that are distinguished from each other by the procedure of carrying rocks, stones, and even soil from their original location. Water is the main source that is used as a force for the transportation of material and causes erosion. Sometimes, different rivers and canals carry rocks, fragments, and soil, along with their banks. “Grand Canyon” basically is the result of such type of erosion. It takes about a million years. Such type of erosion is also taking place in the ocean by moving water and waves; it is responsible for carrying the dust, ash, and rock particles from the coastline rock.

Such types of erosion can also move large quantities of such particles to create massive dunes away from the source. In different parts of the world, ice erosion is rare, but it is effective because it can move an extremely large rock, which isn’t possible by other erosive forces. With the help of ice as an erosive force, huge boulders can easily carry several miles away from the original site. Some geologists also said that erosion is a mechanical occurrence.

Key Differences

  1. Weathering is a set of processes to break down the rocks, whereas erosion is a set of processes to loosen the rock or soil to settle around by downhill or downwind.
  2. Location changing isn’t a necessary process of weathering; on the other hand, the location changing of an object is necessary for erosion.
  3. Weathering is the result of atmospheric conditions; conversely, erosion is the result of wind, water, humans, etc.
  4. The weathering process doesn’t involve the transfer of objects; on the flip side, erosion involves the transfer of objects.
  5. Weathering takes place at the original site of the material, while erosion takes place on different locations of the material.
  6. Weathering is just a contribution process, although erosion is an overall the whole process.
  7. Weathering is a small process as compared to erosion, and it is a large scale process.
  8. Weathering is a chemical process pair with a physical process. However, erosion is a mechanical process.
  9. Weathering is a less complex process compared to erosion, that is a complex and slow process.
  10. Weathering happens when rocks break; on the other side, erosion happens when broken rock move from that site.


It is concluded that weathering is about the decomposition of material, and erosion is the displacement of material.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss