Physical Weathering - Potholes By: RILEY MACK

CLAIM: Potholes, an effect of frost wedging, are not only caused by physical factors - humans have a large impact on this issue. Potholes are formed by the heating up and cooling down of water that gets in cracks of pavement. When cars (a human factor) create pressure on the top of the pavement, it collapses and makes potholes.

An example of a pothole caused by environment changed and one human factor - traffic.

Physical weathering is the disintegration or disaggregation of rocks by physically breaking them apart. This type of weathering is caused by the changes in an environment, like the increase of pressure, or the heating up and cooling down of rocks. Potholes are an affect of physical weathering because they are made by the heating up and cooling down of water inside the pavement, mixed with pressure from different directions on the rock.

Evidence & Process: The formation of potholes begins like this: rain or melted snow collects in cracks of pavement, the water goes through processes of freezing and thawing, the gravel becomes looser due to the changes of water composition, the pressure from the traffic above the road causes the loose gravel to collapse, and finally, potholes are formed. This process is called frost wedging (a type of physical weathering). Potholes are especially prevalent in urban areas due to the high traffic flow, further proving that the human impact of traffic has a large impact on this frost wedging.

Negative Impact: Potholes and bad road conditions are one of the leading causes of car accidents in the world. Uneven roads cause a lot of drivers to lose control at the wheel, and this can be especially dangerous in urban areas, where traffic is heavy. Not only do they cause car accidents, but damage to cars that is similar to one. Attorney Michael Pines states that "Potholes put a huge strain on your car's suspension and shocks" which can cause "an impact similar to that of a 35-mph car accident" (Serious Accidents). This impact of physical weathering and human impact needs to put to an end, as there are many road injuries being caused because of it.

Solution: My solution is to use a sealant on all roads in urban areas, where potholes are very evident. In order to fill potholes that are already formed, crack sealing is the right substance to use; this consists of liquid asphalt, cutbacks, and asphalt emulsions. In order to prevent potholes to begin forming, workers would need to fill hairline cracks in the asphalt, which cannot be done with crack sealing. Surface sealing for these smaller cracks is the better substance to use; this includes fog seal, chip seal, slurry seal, or sand seal (Asphalt Magazine). Ultimately, these revisions will help with the physical weathering and the human impact on the weathering. Hopefully, with my solution, potholes can be a thing of the past.


Created with images by Incase. - "Tokyo" • waitscm - "Pothole caves at Oakdale Mall" • Efraimstochter - "snow ice winter" • Rusty Clark - "Connecticut River Boat Ramp - West Springfield MA" • CARLISLEHVAC - "Liquid Sealants Family"

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