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Kirkbride-Soil Formation Paper2

Kirkbride-Soil Formation Paper2

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Published by jckirkbride
Biotic Contributions to Soil Formation and Classification Judy Kirkbride ENVL3432 Ray Mueller

Introduction Soil is described as a living body because it is not static but constantly changing. These changes are a result of processes of five factors of soil formation: climate, biota, parent material, topography, and time. These factors are closely intertwined and influential and commonly dependent upon each other.The single most important factor is climate because it dictates the amount of rainf
Biotic Contributions to Soil Formation and Classification Judy Kirkbride ENVL3432 Ray Mueller

Introduction Soil is described as a living body because it is not static but constantly changing. These changes are a result of processes of five factors of soil formation: climate, biota, parent material, topography, and time. These factors are closely intertwined and influential and commonly dependent upon each other.The single most important factor is climate because it dictates the amount of rainf

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Published by: jckirkbride on Apr 18, 2012
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Biotic Contributions to Soil Formation and ClassificationJudy KirkbrideENVL3432Ray Mueller
 
Introduction
 Soil is described as a living body because it is not static but constantlychanging. These changes are a result of processes of five factors of soilformation: climate, biota, parent material, topography, and time. Thesefactors are closely intertwined and influential and commonly dependent uponeach other.The single most important factor is climate because it dictates theamount of rainfall and temperature of which is the basis for chemicalreactions and mechanical and physical weathering (Mueller, Ray 2011).Topography controls rates of erosion, runoff and accumulation of sediments.Soil is thickest in valley bottoms and thinnest on steep slopes. Topographycan also influence climatic factors such as in the case of the rain shadoweffect. Biota, which will be discussed in more detail, is the effect of livingorganisms on soil formation. Soil forms as a result of the additions, removals,transformations, and translocations of these factors.Time is the independentvariable. Soil formation is a function of the other factors, which can be simplyconsidered change, over time. There are young soils and old soils.Horizonation is the development of horizons or visible horizontal layerswithin the soil profile. This is an overt result of soil formation.Distincthorizons are manifested because of chemical and physical propertiesthatexemplify color, texture and structural differences (Hausenbuiller, 1980).Older soils have developed over longer periods of time and display defined
 
horizons. Young soils in the early stages of formation lack distinct horizons.The worlds soils are classified mostly based on their defining soil horizons.
General Biotic Contributions to Soil Formation
 The biota factor holds such a great influence on soil formation becauseit is colossal group of many agents. Members from every kingdom play a roleat all stages of soil formation. If we were to start with the birth of new soilsfrom parent material we could begin with lichens and algae. Lichens areamong the first inhabitants of bare rock (Paul and Clark, 1989). Throughtheir biological processes lichens secrete acids that decompose or weatherrock, thus starting the soil formation process. Algae can also inhabit rocksurfaces as well as the inside of rocks in pores and cracks. Algae are able toexpand these crevasses by secreting acids, like lichens, that contribute to thedegradation of the rock (Sylvia, Fuhrman, Hartel, and Zuberer, 1998). Treeroots also enhance weathering in this manner as well by releasing carbondioxide that turns to carbonic acidin the presence of water (Muller, Ray2011).Biotic agents such as plant roots and worms release gums or slimesthat attract clay particles which dry out,creating water stable aggregates.When clay clumps together it acts like sand (Mueller, Ray, 2011). This allowswater to move more freely through the soil. Water-stable aggregates alsocontribute to soil structure. Animals such as worms, moles, and other

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