Baker, Victor R. Department of Geosciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Last reviewed:December 2019
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The mantle or blanket of unconsolidated or loose rock material that overlies the intact bedrock and nearly everywhere forms the land surface. The regolith may be residual (weathered in place), or it may have been transported to its present site. The undisturbed residual regolith may grade from agricultural soil at the surface, through fresher and coarser weathering products, to solid bedrock several meters or more beneath the surface (see illustration). The transported regolith includes the alluvium of rivers, sand dunes, glacial deposits, volcanic ash, coastal deposits and the various mass-wasting deposits that occur on hillslopes. Scientific results from the Apollo space program show that the lunar surface also has a regolith. This layer of fragmental debris is believed to derive from prolonged meteoritic and secondary fragment impact. See also: Soil; Weathering processes
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