The interaction of chemical weathering and physical erosion shape landscapes and set biogeochemical cycles that influence global climate over geological timescales and make life possible on the surface of the Earth. Weathering and physical erosion are traditionally investigated separately, but emerging research shows that the rate and style of chemical weathering is linked to physical processes during exhumation of rock, regolith development, sediment transport through river networks, and deposition in basins. Yet, fundamental questions remain unanswered regarding basic controls on weathering rates, the locus of weathering in landscapes, and how to account for the stochastic nature of the system arising from the diversity of lithologies and denudation rates to the patchiness and variability of biota and climate, thus limiting our ability to understand the drivers of climate evolution and biogeochemical cycles over geological timescales.
In this session, we highlight studies that use a variety of techniques and address a range of spatial and temporal scales to investigate the coupling between chemical weathering and physical erosion. These include both geomorphic techniques and the wide variety of elemental and isotopic systems that have become increasingly useful in understanding the complex lithologic, hydrologic, geomorphic, and vegetative feedbacks that yield the complex patterns of weathering observed on the Earth’s surface.