Limestone weathering in contemporary arid environments: A case study from southern Tunisia

Smith, B J, Warke, P A and Moses, C A (2000) Limestone weathering in contemporary arid environments: A case study from southern Tunisia. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 25 (12). pp. 1343-1354. ISSN 0197-9337

Full text not available from this repository.


Weathering features are described from a meteorologically arid area in southern Tunisia. Active weathering is concentrated in topographic lows (pits and pans) that concentrate available moisture and are associated with endolithic and epilithic algae responsible for algal boring, plucking and etching of the limestone substrate. Deposits of gypsum have concentrated through evaporation within hollows and occur as isolated patches of tabular crystals indicating an additional weathering agent characteristic of arid environments. The active development of a complex microkarst and associated salt weathering are combining to destroy linear karstic features such as rillenkarren, widespread case-hardening and in places patches of iron- and manganese-rich rock varnishes. The complexity of active and inherited weathering features belies the perceived simplicity and lack of weathering opportunities associated with aridity. Instead it focuses on the need to consider the nature of microclimatic conditions at the rock/air interface especially when seeking to define desert weathering environments. It also highlights the difficulties of interpreting polygenetic landforms and the importance of microscale studies for identifying the impact of contemporary climatic conditions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Weathering Processes, Products and Environments
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Depositing User: Cherith Moses
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:21
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2012 13:25
📧 Request an update