Results from long term microerosion meter (MEM) studies indicate that microenvironments are characterized by different erosion rates. A complementary study, carried out on the same sites, examines the microscale morphology in each environment. Optical and scanning electron microscopy were used to identify a range of features thought to reflect different processes. Under subaerial conditions micromorphology is dominated by biological weathering features owing to the presence of microflora. Sites permanently covered by soil or stream water have only dissolution etch features, though stream sites may exhibit microfractures. Sites with periodic exposure exhibit both dissolution and biological etch features. The natural environment is more accurately reflected by allowing some microflora colonization of MEM sites rather than preventing colonization by artificial means.
- biological erosion
- limestone weathering
- microerosion meter
- optical and scanning electron microscopy