Bedrock essentially refers to the substructure composed of hard rock exposed or buried at the earth's surface; an exposed portion of bedrock is often called an outcrop. Bedrock may have various chemical and mineralogical compositions and can be igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary in origin. The bedrock may be overlain by broken and weathered regolith which includes soil and the subsoil.
The surface of the bedrock beneath the soil cover (regolith) is also known as rockhead in engineering geology, and its identification by digging, drilling or geophysical methods is an important task in most civil engineering projects. Superficial deposits (also known as drift) can be extremely thick, such that the bedrock lies hundreds of meters below the surface.
Weathering of bedrock
Bedrock when exposed or within the subsurface may experience weathering and erosion by external factors. Weathering may be physical or chemical and alters the structure of the rock and may cause it to erode and or alter over time based on the interactions between the mineralogy and its interactions. Bedrock may also experience subsurface weathering at its upper boundary, forming saprolite.
A geologic map of an area will usually show the distribution of differing bedrock types, rock that would be exposed at the surface if all soil or other superficial deposits were removed.