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New research published today in the journal Science Advances challenges the conventional view of how a vital and life-sustaining feature of weathered rock is created. Porosity, the void space found in rock, was traditionally thought to be formed as water flowed through, chemically dissolving minerals. Now, researchers have found physical weathering, such as tree root wedging or ice cracking, bear a larger responsibility for creating porosity than previously thought. These pores, or empty spaces, are crucial reservoirs for water and life-sustaining nutrients within rocks.
Geophysicist Jorden Hayes, assistant professor of earth sciences at Dickinson College, and a team of researchers from the University of Wyoming, Virginia Tech and the University of California, Davis, conducted geochemical and geophysical analyses of granitic saprolite rock in the southern Sierra Nevada in California. In the field, researchers collected seismic data and gathered core samples of the subsurface material. Both the geophysical and...
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