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Some huge landslides have occurred in deeply weathered rock, but most geologists and engineers do not appreciate the great depths that weathering can attain. Rocks can be weathered to depths of hundreds of metres, often in a very irregular manner. Fresh rock is converted to weathered rock called saprolite by isometric chemical alteration. Some saprolite is later eroded, and fresh rock appears in the landscape in distinctive landforms. This erosion of an irregularly weathered landscape is called stripping (meaning the stripping of saprolite from fresh rock). The age of the weathering may be measured in geological periods, as can the age of stripping, and may be related to past climate different from that of today. Deep weathering occurs basically by hydrolysis, which requires groundwater. Slope failure in saprolite depends on the engineering property of the material, and its relation to bedrock and corestones, and relationship to degree of weathering of adjacent saprolite. This paper emphasizes the deep weathering phenomenon itself, but a few examples are given to illustrate the variety of landslides in deeply weathered material.

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