Differential Erosion in Paparoa National Park

October 29, 2018

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Photographer: Oscar Webb 
Summary Author: Oscar Webb 

The photo above shows how the sea has eroded different layers of coastal rock at different rates. It was taken in Paparoa National Park, near Punakaiki, New Zealand. The rocks in this region are mostly comprised of limestone and granite that respond to erosion in very different ways. Limestone, composed of molecules of calcium carbonate, reacts to and is soluble in salt water (chemical erosion). Also, the limestone, as well as the granite, erodes mechanically (physical erosion), from the impact of waves. As a result the layers of limestone in this rock formation erode at different rates. The stacked nature of the rocks here have led to them being called the Pancake Rocks. Photo taken on September 30, 2018.