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Earth sciences science fair project:
Type of liquid (pH) and limestone erosion

Science Fair Project Information
Title: Find out what type of liquid (pH) breaks down limestone the most
Subject: Earth Sciences
Grade level: Elementary School - Grades 4-6
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Awards: Second Place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (2007)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (VSF)
Year: 2007
Description: In order to discover which liquid causes the most erosion in limestone, equal limestone pieces were immersed into 3 different liquids with different pH: hydrochloric acid, vinegar and water. After liquid evaporation, material mass dissolved in each liquid will be calculated: mass of the limestones before immersion (A ) minus the mass of the rocks after evaporation (B) equals the mass of the residue eroded (C).
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2007/hill7s2/
Short Background

Soil erosion (or simply erosion) is the washing or blowing away (by the wind) of the top layer of soil (dirt).

This is a serious problem for people who want to grow crops.

Crops are the foods that farmers grow.

If the soil has eroded, the crops will not grow very well.

Erosion also leaves large holes in the earth, which can weaken buildings and even cause them to collapse. Another type of erosion is called Decomposition and is when waves wash away sand and other material from cliffs or beaches.

Soil erosion can be prevented several ways:

  • Planting wind breaks can be effective. A wind break is a line of plants that are planted to stop or slow the wind. A thick row of bushes planted next to a field of plants can stop the wind from blowing the soil away. This method also helps against water erosion, as the soil gets caught up against the roots of the bushes, rather than washing away.
  • Terracing can also be effective. Terraces are level places that have been made by people on hill sides. People can cut level sides into the side of hills to create a place to grow crops.
  • If the crops are growing on a slope, then one should plant them in lines that run across, the slope, rather than up and down. So, if the slope goes downhill to the south, then the plants should be in rows that run from east to west.
  • To prevent decomposition the government can put up groynes (wooden planks) along the beaches, or they could build sea walls against the cliffs.

Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the mineral calcite (calcium carbonate: CaCO3).

Coastal limestones are often eroded by organisms which bore into the rock by various means. This process is known as bioerosion. It is most common in the tropics, and it is known throughout the fossil record.

Limestone is partially soluble, especially in acid, and therefore forms many erosional landforms. These include limestone pavements, pot holes, cenotes, caves and gorges. Such erosion landscapes are known as karsts. Limestone is less resistant than most igneous rocks, but more resistant than most other sedimentary rocks. Limestone is therefore usually associated with hills and downland and occurs in regions with other sedimentary rocks, typically clays.

For More Information: Erosion K-12 Experiments & Background Information

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)

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Last updated: June 2013
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