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GEOLOGICAL PROCESSES

It is an established fact that the development of the surface features of the globe is mainly due to
the complex interaction of internal forces, atmospheric processes, rocks, ocean waters and living
creatures. The surface of the earth is a zone where the rocks uplifted by internal earth forces
come into contact with the atmosphere and hydrosphere. Thus, they are subjected to a range of
processes powered by energy from the Sun. The processes which have been playing dominant
roles in shaping the surface of the earth are both constructive as well as destructive in nature. All
the geological processes can be conveniently grouped into two categories viz. endogenous and
exogenous processes.
1. ENDOGENOUS PROCESSES
These are also known as hypogene processes. These are the processes of internal origin. In other
words, a process which originates within the earth's crust is termed endogenous. These processes
take place inside the globe and are governed by forces inherent in the earth and affected little by
external influences. These processes cause phenomena, like earthquakes, emergence and
development of continents, ocean troughs and mountain ridges, generation of volcanic activity,
metamorphism of preexisting rocks, deformation and movement of the earths crust both
vertically and laterally etc.
The geomorphic features produced by these processes provide the setting for exogenous
processes to operate upon. All features which owe their origin to an endogenous process are
invariably modified by exogenous processes.
The endogenous processes are mostly caused by the thermal energy of the mantle and the crust
This thermal energy is derived from the decay and disintegration of the radioactive elements and
from gravitational differentiation in the mantle. Some of the important endogenic processes and
their role in the evolution of land forms are as described below:
(i) Earthquake: It is a form of energy of wave motion transmitted through the surface layers of
the earth, ranging from a faint tremor to a wild motion capable of shaking builidings apart and
causing gaping fissures to open up in the ground. The earthquakes are mostly produced due to
underground dislocation of rocks.
(ii) Tectonic movements Tectonic movement of earth's crust are of various forms and are
characterized by great complexity. In the course of geological history of the earth's crust, the
rocks have been crumpled into folds, thrust over one another, broken up etc giving rise to
mountains, ridges, ocean through and other landforms. The tectonic process of elevating or
building up portions of the earth's surface is called diastrophism, which prevents the exogenous
process from ultimately reducing the earth's land areas to sea level. It is of two types viz. (a)
Orogeny and (b) Epeirogeny.
While 'Orogeny' refers to mountain-building activities with deformation of the earth's crust,
Epeirogeny refers to regional uplift with marked deformation.
The lateral displacement of the crustal blocks are manifested in the phenomenon like continental
drift, ocean floor, spreading etc.
(iii) Volcanism It is the phenomenon in which matter is transferred from the earth's interior and
erupted onto its surface. It is one of the important manifestations of the dynamic nature of the

earth. The process of effusion of magmatic material on to the surface of the earth, thus forming
various volcanic structures and/ or flowing over the surface is called the volcanism.
Sometimes the magma on its way upward does not reach the surface and coo1s at various dep hs
giving rise to magmatic bodies of irregular form, which are called intrusive or plutons. The
phenomenon is known as Intrusive magmatism. Even though the intrusions are not directly
responsible for topographic features their existence in the upper crust of the earth may affects to
a great extent,the topographic features of the area formed by exogenous processes.
Matamorphism: According to Turner & Verhoogen , the mineralogical and structural
adjustments of solid rocks lo physical and chemical conditions which have been imposed at
depths below surface zones of weathering and cementations and which differ from the condition
under which the rocks in question originated is known as metamorphism Metamorphism
involves transformation of pre-existing rocks into new type by the action of temperature,
hydrostatic as well a directed pressure and chemically active fluids. The main feature of the
metamorphic processes is that the changes are isochemical and take place in solid state.

2. EXOGENOUS PROCESSES
These are the processes of external origin or, in other words, the processes derive their energy
from sources external in relation to the earth viz.
(1) Energy from the sun which causes differential heating of the atmosphere giving rise to
differences in pressures that make the wind to blow , suns energy drives the hydrological cycle
which involves the transfer of moisture from water bodies to a atmosphere to land again to
ocean etc.
(2) The force of gravity
(3) Activity of organism etc. Thus the exogenous process are closely linked with role of various
external agents such as weathering, blowing wind, running water, underground water, waves
and current in water bodies, (seas and oceans), glaciers etc. on the surface of the earth. Since
these processes are restricted to the surface of the earth, they are called epigene processes. These
processes constitute a very complex sum of mutually dependent changes i.e. all the exogeneous
process are involved with each other.
The exogenous processes action the landforms to break up the rocks (weathering), to wear down
the surface and carve out valley features (erosion) and the products of destruction are either
dislocated under the influence of the force of gravity or are carried away by the blowing wind,
flowing waters, moving glaciers etc. to lower areas like lakes, seas, oceans etc. where deposition
takes place.

The term Denudation. is used for the total action of all processes by which the exposed rocks of
the continents are worn away and the resulting sediments are transported to suitable areas for
deposition.
Thus denudation is an overall lowering of land surface. The exogenous processes tend to remove
all the unevenness on the surface of the earth. As we know, the unevenness of the earth's surface
is developed due to crustal movement, unequal erosion and deposition. The process by which the
earth's surface irregularities are remove and a level surface is created, is known as gradation. All
Gradation-processes are directed by gravity. The processes of gradation are divisible into two
major categories viz. Degradation and Aggradations.

Degradation is the process in which material from the high lands are removed by the geomorphic
agents as a result of which the altitudeof the highlands are red6ced. Degradation of the earth's
surface is mainly carried out through:
(a) Weathering,
(b) Mass-wasting, and
(c) Erosion.
Weathering is the process of mechanical disintegration and chemical decomposition of the rocks
at the earth's surface, under the influenceof factors like temperature functions, water, oxygen,
carbon-dioxide and organic life. It is a static process and does not involve any transport of the
degraded rock materials.
Mass-wasting is- the process that involves the spontaneous downward movement of soil, regolith
and rock under the influence ofgravity. Mass-wasting is usually aided by the presence of water
but without any dynamic action of it or in other words the amount of water present is not
sufficient to act as a transporting medium. The process occurs at speeds ranging from those
which are so slow that the movement is imperceptible to rapid flow and catastrophic slumping
and rock falls. An evidence of the down-slope movement of rock and soil is found almost
universally.
Erosion is the process associated with the geomorphic agents like wind, river, glaciers etc. by
which rock materials are loosened or dissolved and then transported from one place to the other.
According to Arthur Holmes "all the destructive processes due to the effects of the transporting
agents are described as erosion".
Erosion consist of processes like:
(i) Collecting together of the loose material produced by weathering.
(ii) Wearing down the surface and carve out valley features which is commonly known as
abrasion or corrnsion.
(iii) Mechanical wear and tear of the transported materials while they are in transit by the
geomorphic agents, and

(iv) Chemical solution through the dissolving power of the geomorphic agents like river water,
sub-surface water etc, which is also known as Corrosion.
Aggradation is the process of deposition of sediments. As we know, under favourable conditions,
when the transporting agents lose their carrying power, the transported materials get deposited,
sometimes in the sea, sometimes on the land. Thus the low lying tracts are gradually filled up
$rough deposition of sediments by running water, ground water, wind, glaciers, wave, currents,
tides in seas, oceans etc.
Thus, in the nature the process of gradation is considered as a three-fold process because the
eanh's surface is first decayed and eroded, secondly the products of the decay and erosion are
transported and finally the transported materials ate deposited in low lying areas. The geological
processes, -as already indicated, play significant roles in shaping the stirface of the earth.
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