Excerpt from Soil and Bedrock Properties: Weathering and Alteration Products and Processes in the Idaho Batholith
The mechanical properties of granitic rock and the derived weathered materials are intimately related to slope stability in the Idaho batholith. Processes and pro... ducts of physical weathering, chemical weathering, and hydrothermal alteration of batholithic rocks can be ranked in terms of degree of weathering and used to predict slope stability.
Bulk density, hardness, unconfined compressive strength, and velocity of sonic wave transmission of weathered rock samples are all strongly correlated with weathering properties. Following subtle, initial hydrolysis of biotites, physical weathering processes are dominant in the breakdown of rock to grus at and near the soil surface. Grus is often formed with little alteration of biotites and feldspars to secondary minerals or amorphous oxides of silicon, aluminum, and iron.
Bedrock buried at depths below the rooting zone is subject to intense chemical weathering and mineral alteration. The degree to which chemical weathering processes can proceed is related to the inherent slope stability of the site. On gentle slopes with low erosion rates, chemical weathering can advance to a point where the weathered product consists of quartz grains embedded in a matrix of clays and crystalline and amorphous oxides of silicon, aluminum, and iron.
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