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SOIL FORMATION &

IDENTIFICATION
GEO-ENVIRONMENTAL
ENGINEERING
GEOTECHNICAL
ENGINEERING
ENVIRONMENTAL
ENGINEERING
What do you
understand about
rock?
ROCK FORMATION PROCESS
1. IGNEOUS
ROCK
2. SEDIMENTARY
ROCK
3. METAMORPHIC
ROCK
Summarize
Igneous Rock
Magma
Metamorphic
Rock
Sedimentary
Rock
Soil
Mt
Mt C
M
W
W
W
I
M
W
=Weathering
M =Metamorphosis Mt =Melting I = Indurations
C = Cooling
Pyroclastic Ejection
Pyroclastic Ejection
What do you
understand about
Soil?
SOIL
Minerals which have a common bond
fluid particles are weak or non-binding.
It is formed from rock weathering results.
There are voids which consist of
air and water among the particles.
Supportive role to the load structures built on it.
The term Soil has various meanings, depending upon the
general field in which it is being considered.

To a Pedologist ... Soil is the substance existing on the
earth's surface, which grows and develops plant life.

To a Geologist ..... Soil is the material in the relative thin
surface zone within which roots occur, and all the rest of the
crust is grouped under the term ROCK irrespective of its
hardness.

*To an Engineer .... Soil is the un-aggregated or un-
cemented deposits of mineral and/or organic particles or
fragments covering large portion of the earth's crust.
Soils are a mixture of different things; rocks, minerals, and dead, decaying
plants and animals. Soil can be very different from one location to another,
but generally consists of organic and inorganic materials, water and air.

The inorganic materials are the rocks that have been broken into smaller
pieces. The size of the pieces varies. It may appear as pebbles, gravel, or as
small as particles of sand or clay.

The organic material is decaying living matter. This could be plants or
animals that have died and decay until they become part of the soil. The
amount of water in the soil is closely linked with the climate and other
characteristics of the region.

The amount of water in the soil is one thing that can affect the amount of
air. Very wet soil like you would find in a wetland probably has very little
air.
SOIL
Geologic definition: Loose surface of the earth as distinguished
from solid bedrock; support of plant life not required.
SOIL
Traditional definition: Material which nourishes and
supports growing plants; includes rocks, water, snow,
air.

SOIL
Soil Taxonomy definition: Collection of natural bodies of
the earths surface, in places modified or even
made by man or earthy materials, containing
living matter and supporting or capable of
supporting plants out of doors.
Its upper limit is air or shallow water and its
lower limit is the depth to which soil
weathering has been effective.

SOIL
As a portion of the landscape: Collection of natural
bodies occupying portions of the earths surface
that support plants and that have properties due
to the integrated effect of climate and living
matter, acting upon parent material, as
conditioned by relief, over periods of time.
SOIL FORMATION
Soils are formed by the disintegration of rock
material of the earths relatively deeper crust,
which itself is formed by the cooling of
volcanic magma. The stability of crystalline
structure governs the rock formation.
As the temperature falls, new and often more
stable minerals are formed. For instance, one
of the most abundant minerals in soils known
as quartz acquires a stable crystalline
structure when the temperature drops below
573
o
C.
The intermediate and less stable minerals
(from which quartz has evolved) lend
themselves to easy disintegration during the
formation of soils.
SOIL FORMATION PROCESS
Soil material is the product of rock.
The geological process that produce
soil is WEATHERING (Chemical and
Physical/Mechanical).

Variation in particle size and shape depends on:
i. Weathering Process
ii. Transportation Process
Soil Forming Processes
Translocations
Transformations
Additions
Losses
Chemical Weathering
Can transformed hard rock
minerals into soft, easily erodable
matter.
Chemical reactions induced by
exposure to oxygen, water and
chemicals.
Agents:
- Oxidation, Reduction,
Carbonation, Leaching,
Hydration, Desilication,
Hydrolisis, Chelation, cation
exchange between the rock
mineral surface and the
surrounding medium.
SOIL FORMATION PROCESS
Soil material is the product of rock.
The geological process that produce soil is WEATHERING (Chemical and
Physical/Mechanical).
Physical Weathering
Physical breakdown of rocks and
minerals.
Agents:
- The erosive action of rain, ice,
wind, hail, glaciers etc (frost
action)
- Thermal expansion and
contraction from day to day and
season to season (heat & cold)
- Landslides and rockfalls
- Activities of plants, animals and
humans.
Stages in the Formation of Soil
stage 1 stage 2


stage 3 stage 4
GROUPS OF SOIL
ORGANIC SOIL
Land on which
there is a layer
on the surface of
the earth
Contain organic
subtances
The thickness of
the soil usually
does not exceed
500 mm
RESIDUAL SOIL
Formed by the
weathering
process
Material formed
by disintegration
of underlying
parent rock or
partially
indurated
material.
TRANSPORTED
SOIL
Material
transported and
deposited by
running water,
air, wind,
glaciers, gravity
etc.

The types of soil that formed from weathering and
transportation process.
Organic Soil
- Organic matter originates from plant or animal
remains, the end product of which known as humus, a
complex mixture of organic compounds.
- A feature of topsoil, occurring in the upper layer (>0.5
m thickness).
Alluvial Soil (water-laid), Aeolian (wind-laid), glacial
(ice-transported)
- particles are brought into contact with the stream bed
and with each other and so are abraded.
- Erosion Agents: water, glacier, or gravity.
Residual Soil
- Soils that have not been transported.
- Weathering process (chemical and physical)
Soil Forming Factors
1. Parent material:
The primary material from which the soil is
formed. Soil parent material could be bedrock,
organic material, an old soil surface, or a deposit
from water, wind, glaciers, volcanoes, or material
moving down a slope.

2. Climate:
Weathering forces such as heat, rain, ice, snow,
wind, sunshine, and other environmental forces,
break down parent material and affect how fast
or slow soil formation processes go. Amount of
moisture available, temperature, chemical
reaction speed and rate of plant growth
Soil Forming Factor Contd
3. Organisms present:
All plants and animals living in or on the soil
(including micro-organisms and humans). The
amount of water and nutrients, plants need
affects the way soil forms.

4. Topography:
The location of a soil on a landscape can
affect how the climatic processes impact it.
Soils at the bottom of a hill will get more
water than soils on the slopes, and soils on
the slopes that directly face the sun will be
drier than soils on slopes that do not.
Soil Forming Factor Contd
5. Time:
All of the above factors assert themselves over time, often
hundreds or thousands of years. Soil profiles continually change
from weakly developed to well developed over time.
Varies for soils in different climates, locations.

Soil Composition
While a nearly infinite variety of substances may be found in
soils, they are categorized into four basic components: minerals,
organic matter, air and water.
Most introductory soil textbooks describe the ideal soil (ideal for
the growth of most plants) as being composed of 45% minerals,
25% water, 25% air, and 5% organic matter. In reality, these
percentages of the four components vary tremendously.
Soil air and water are found in the pore spaces between the solid
soil particles. The ratio of air-filled pore space to water-filled pore
space often changes seasonally, weekly, and even daily,
depending on water additions through precipitation, through
flow, groundwater discharge, and flooding.
The volume of the pore space itself can be altered, one way or the
other, by several processes. Organic matter content is usually
much lower than 5% in South Carolina (typically 1% or less).
Some wetland soils, however, have considerably more organic
matter in them (greater than 50% of the solid portion of the soil
in some cases).
SOIL COMPOSITION
While a nearly infinite
variety of substances
may be found in soils,
they are categorized into
four basic components:
minerals, organic matter,
air and water.
Most introductory soil
textbooks describe the
ideal soil (ideal for the
growth of most plants) as
being composed of 45%
minerals, 25% water, 25%
air, and 5% organic
matter. In reality, these
percentages of the four
components vary
tremendously.
Soil air and water are found in the pore spaces
between the solid soil particles. The ratio of air-
filled pore space to water-filled pore space often
changes seasonally, weekly, and even daily,
depending on water additions through
precipitation, through flow, groundwater
discharge, and flooding.
The volume of the pore space itself can be
altered, one way or the other, by several
processes. Organic matter content is usually
much lower than 5% in South Carolina
(typically 1% or less). Some wetland soils,
however, have considerably more organic matter
in them (greater than 50% of the solid portion of
the soil in some cases).
SOIL
Component definition: Mixture of
mineral matter, organic
matter, water, and air.
Air 25%
Mineral Matter
45%
Water 25%
Organic Matter 5%
SOIL
Component definition: Mixture of mineral
matter, organic matter, water, and air.
Example:
SOIL HORIZON

If you were to begin digging into a mature soil, you would
notice that the color, texture, and other properties of the
soil changed as you went deeper. If you were to dig deep
enough, you would see that the soil appeared to be in
very distinct layers. These layers, known as soil horizons,
occur because of the different chemical and biological
processes that take place in these zones.

Depending upon the type of soil, there can be up to 5
different horizons. These are denoted by the letters O, A,
B, C, and E. Not all soils will have these horizons, with
some immature soils having none. Most soils have at least
three of these (A, B, and C).

ORGANIC
SURFACE SOIL
SUBSOIL
PARENT ROCK
O) Organic matter: Litter layer of plant residues in
relatively undecomposed form.
A) Surface soil: Layer of mineral soil with most
organic matter accumulation and soil life. This layer
eluviates (is depleted of) iron, clay, aluminum,
organic compounds, and other soluble constituents.
When eluviation is pronounced, a lighter colored
"E" subsurface soil horizon is apparent at the base
of the "A" horizon. A-horizons may also be the
result of a combination of soil bioturbation and
surface processes that winnow fine particles from
biologically mounded topsoil. In this case, the A-
horizon is regarded as a "biomantle".
B) Subsoil: This layer accumulates iron, clay,
aluminum and organic compounds, a process
referred to as illuviation.
C) Parent rock: Layer of large unbroken rocks. This
layer may accumulate the more soluble compounds
.

D horizons are not universally distinguished, but
in the Australian system refer to "any soil
material below the solum that is unlike the solum
in general character, is not C horizon, and cannot
be given reliable designation [it] may be
recognized by the contrast in pedologic
organization between it and the overlying
horizons" (MacDonald et al., 1990, p. 106).

R horizons basically denote the layer of partially
weathered bedrock at the base of the soil profile.
Unlike the above layers, R horizons largely
comprise continuous masses (as opposed to
boulders) of hard rock that cannot be excavated
by hand. Soils formed in situ will exhibit strong
similarities to this bedrock layer.
FUNDAMENTAL PROPERTIES OF SOIL
Soil Texture (Particle Size and Shape)
Soil Structure
i. Cohesionless Soils (gravel, sand and silt) single
grained
ii. Cohesive Soils (clay soils) its mineralogy and
is a controlling factor determining the shapes, sizes,
and surface characteristics of a particle in a soil.
Soil color
Bulk density
4 Major Types of Soils
[Note: Sand, silt, and clay are collectively referred to as the fine earth fraction of
soil. They are <2 mm in diameter. Larger soil particles are referred to as rock
fragments and have their own size classes (pebbles, cobbles, and boulders).
CLAY
Fine-grained soil
Kaolin group
1. Kaolinite
2. Halloysite
Montmorilonite
group
Illite group
SILT
Organic / Inorganic
Silt
Fine-grained soil with
little or no plasticity.
SAND
Coarse grained soil
They are cohesionless
aggregates of rounded
subangular or angular
fragments of more or
less unaltered rocks or
mineral.
Particles of size from
0.075 to 4.75 mm
sand.
Size from 4.75 -80
mm as gravel.
GRAVEL
Coarse grained soil
Individiual particles
that are large enough
to be view without
magnification
Table of Particle Grain Size
ORGANIZATION
PARTICLE GRAIN SIZE (mm)
GRAVEL SAND SILT CLAY
AASHTO 76.2 to 2
2 to 0.07
5
0.075 to 0.
002
<0.002
ASTM
76.2 to 4.
75
4.75 to 0.
075
Fines: 0.075
AASHTO American Association of State highway and Transportation Officials
ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials
The particle size
classification systems also
provide range for particles
>76.2 mm, known as Cobbles
and Boulders.
In general, cobbles range
from 76.2 400 mm.
Particles larger than 400 mm
are considered boulders.
Coarse-grained Soil >65% Sand
and gravel the soil name
based on the particle sizes
present.


Fine-grained Soil >35% silt and
clay sizes it is based on
behavioral characteristics.
USDA Textural Triangle
USDA United States Agricultural Department
Granular
Platy
Blocky
(Angular) (Subangular)
Wedge
Columnar Prismatic
Examples of Soil Structure
Aspects of Soil Structure
The arrangement into aggregates of desirable shape and size
The stability of the aggregate
The configuration of the pores
Factors that Affect Aggregate Stability
Kind of clay
Chemical elements associated with the clay
Nature of the products of decomposition or organic matter
Nature of the microbial population
Factors that Affect Soil Structure
Kind of clay
Amount of organic matter
Freezing and thawing
Wetting and drying
Action of burrowing organisms
Growth of root systems of plants
Important Note
All of these have a loosening effect on the soil, but they have no
effect on aggregate stability
Bulk Density
Determined by dividing the weight of oven-dry soil in grams by
its volume in cubic centimeters
The variation in bulk density is due largely to the difference in
total pore space
Effects of Bulk Density
Engineering properties
Water movement
Rooting depth of plants
Soil Color
Indicator of different soil types
Indicator of certain physical and chemical characteristics
Due to humus content and chemical nature of the iron
compounds present in the soil
Major Forms of Iron and Effect on Soil
Color
Form Chemical Formula Color
Ferrous oxide FeO Gray
Ferric oxide
(Hematite) Fe
2
O
3
Red
Hydrated ferric oxide
(Limonite) 2Fe
2
O
3
3H
2
O Yellow
Thank You
We
KNOW
Soil!
A mineral is naturally occurring, solid, inorganic (mostly),
has a fixed chemical formula and has an orderly
crystalline structure.
Most minerals contain two
or more elements, 8
account for nearly 98% of
the rocks and minerals:
Oxygen 46%
Silicon 27.72%
Aluminium 8.13%
Iron 5%
Calcium 3.63%
Sodium 2.83%
Potassium 2.59%
Magnesium 2.09%
The most common rocks-forming
minerals can be divided into three
broad groups:
1. The carbonates, sulfates and oxides
2. The rock-forming silicate materials
3. The common ore mineral