By the end o this chapter students will have studied:
The dierent components o soil
A soil prole
The characteristics that are used to dierentiate soil types
Soils develop rom theweathering o rocks in situ and rom redeposited weathered material.
Soil is the thin layer of
loose weathered and eroded material
thatcovers the Earth’s surface. It is one of the Earth’s most important
Soil is made up of both
organic and inorganicmaterials. Climate
is one of the most important factors in theformation of soil.
General composition o all soil types
All soils are made of the following components but in differentamounts. This gives rise to many different soil types around the world.
Mineral matter is the
broken-down material of the parent rock
of most soil types. The parent rock was brokendown into
mineral matter by denudation.
The mineral matter couldhave been either derived from the area or transported by rivers, sea orice. Some minerals are soluble. These are very important as they
growing in the area.
This was once the
of the plant, such as leaves and
owers, as well as the remains of animals. Dead plant material is
known as plant litter. As the material decays it is
bybacteria into a thick, black, sticky substance called
rich in nutrients
essential for plant growth.
It also gives soils a
dark brown appearance
and because of its sticky nature
helps to bindsoil particles
Living organisms can be anything from
such asbacteria and fungi, to earthworms. They live in the soil and help withthe
breakdown of organic matter, aerating
mixing the soil.
It takes approximately 400years to create 1 cm o soil.