Abstract

The breakdown of rock by forces attributable to the freezing of water is one of the various weathering processes included under the general term "frost action." Field observations in the Guillaume–Delisle Gulf area, subarctic Quebec, suggest that under certain conditions the process can be rapid, even explosive. By analogy to rockbursting, the term "frost bursting" is proposed as the equivalent to the French term "éclatement". Frost bursting is the process by which intact and massive rock is shattered when water saturated and submitted to intense and rapid freezing. Hydrostatic pressure developed either in pore spaces or rock cracks allows strain energy to be stored in the freezing rock. Frost bursting will occur if the material is stiff and strong enough to exhibit release of a large quantity of stored strain energy.

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