soil .pdf

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Original filename: soil.pdf
Author: Jack Whelan

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Soil Composition

Mineral: 45%
Organic: 5%
Air: 25%
Water: 25%

Mineral Matter:
Stones, Sand, Silt and Clay
Broken down rock
Particle size : Parent material
Some are soluble -> Plant food

Organic Matter:
Plant litter
Worms, mites, slugs
Decay to form humus
Worms churn into soil

Air + Water:
In pores
Essential for plant growth
Important for organisms
Water contains dissolved minerals

Soil Characteristics

Sand/gritty > Silt/silky > Clay/sticky
Ability to retain water + Nutrients
Ease of root penetration

Clumps of peds
Crumb (+Drainage+Air)
Platy (-Impede roots-Hold up water)
Blocky (-Few pores)

3 > 7 > 10
Effects what can grow in it

Dark brown/Black
Improve structure

Plants receive nutrients through water
Water disperses nutrients
Texture + Structure influence moisture
Sandy > Dry
Clay + Silt > Wet + can become waterlogged
Loam > Well drained/moist/fertile
Bedrock > Permeable/Impermeable

Brown + Black > High humus
Grey > Leached + Infertile
Red > Iron oxide

Factors Effecting Soil Formation
Hot > Deep soil (Weathering)
Cold > Angular particles (Freeze thaw)
Wet > Leaching / Water logging
Dry > Upward movement of groundwater (Salinisation/Calcification)
Parent Material
Sandstone > Sandy + Free draining
Shale > Clay + Badly drained
Limestone > Thin, dry + poorly developed
Igneous + Metamorphic > Weather slowly and tend to be acidic
Relief, Altitude and Aspect
Flat + Upland > Waterlogged/Leached
Upland > Cooler --> Builds up as peat instead of humus
South-Facing > Warmer + Dryer than south-facing
Soil Organisms
Bind soil particles
Break compacted soil

Processes of Soil Formation
Weathering + Erosion
Breaks down bedrock to form parent material
Mechanical weathering: Freeze thaw + Exfoliation
Hydrolysis - Turns feldspar in granite to kaolin clay
Hot -> Temperate
Fastest in warmer weather
Extreme leaching
Water going through the top layer of humus leads it to become acidic
Erodes all mineral matter + deposits on the b horizon
Forms hard pan
Severe leaching (Tropical)
Rapid Chemical weathering > Deep soil
Latosol (Red) formation
Accumulation of soluble salts close to the surface
Hot climates
High levels of evaporation leads salty groundwater to the surface where it leaves the layer of
salt behind as a toxic crust
Can also be caused by irrigation (by rising salts to surface)
Accumulation of calcium carbonate near the surface
Evaporation > rainfall => calc. drawn upwards
Capillary action
Calc. Carbonate builds up in A horizon creating a soil which is rich in nutrients + ideal for
grass growth

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