Soils! - Denton ISD

Soils! - Denton ISD

Soils! Soil Soil links the rock cycle to the biosphere (all living things on earth). A mix of geologic (inorganic material) and organic components. Soil Functions: A medium for plant growth Filters chemical compounds, nutrients and pollutants and then releases them into plants, atmosphere and organisms.

Provides a habitat for living organisms. Filters water (from water cycle) into rivers, streams, lakes, oceans, seas and ground water. Soil Formation Takes 100s 1000s of years to form soil (think succession) Formations results from physical and chemical weathering of rocks (rock cycle) and the gradual accumulation of detritus (dead and decaying materials). Immature soil => very low to no organic material and very high rock material.

Young soil => low organic material and high rock material. Mature soil => high organic material, sometimes nutrient poor. Immature soil Young soil Mature soil Soil Formation Horizons: The layers of soil are broken into sections called horizons.

O horizon top most layer, made of newly organic materials, grass roots, shallow plant roots ie leaf litter. A horizon second layer or upper layer, mix of minerals and decomposing organic material, plant roots, tree roots. E horizon layer seen in older soils where minerals and organic material has been leached out. Pale in color and made of mostly silica particles. B horizon layer of soluble minerals and organic matter. Clay and iron deposits from layer above. C horizon weathered rock layer. R horizon Bedrock or parent material soil is composed from. Not all soils will contain all layers A, B, C. Most have 1-2.

Soil Types Determining Soil Type 5 factors that determine soil type: 1. Parent material types of inorganic materials (rocks) that will determine how nutrient/mineral poor or healthy the soil will be. Also will determine the thickness and construction of soil, ie clay or sand based. 2. Climate

Temperature and precipitation Indirect controls (e.g., types of plants) Weathering rates The greater the rainfall amount, the more rapid the rate of both weathering and erosion. 3. Topography depth, slope of area 4. Organisms type of organisms, detritus Types of native vegetation Weathering is dependent of plant growth

Plant and animal activity produces humic acids that are powerful weathering agents. Plants can physically as well as chemically break down rocks. Plants stabilize soil profiles, Animals (including humans) tend to increase erosion. 5. Time Development and destruction of soil profiles

Typical reaction rates are slow, the longer a rock unit has been exposed, the more likely it is to be weathered. Soil Types Soil Texture: determined by the proportion of each particle present in the soil. Determines the soils fertility and primary productivity. The three main types of soil are: Sandy Silt

Clay Most soils are a mixture of these three, and come from the portion of minerals found in the soil. Sandy soils are gritty and fall apart easily. Silty soils feel slippery and hold together better than sandy soils. Clay soils feel sticky and roll easily into a ball.

When each are mixed in equal proportion, the soil is considered to be loam soil. Loam soil is fairly fertile and drains well. Used for agriculture. Nutrients Two types of nutrients macronutrients and micronutrients Plant need nutrients to grow and survive. They get these nutrients from the soil. The 3 main types of macronutrients plants use are Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. These elements are considered nutrients when they are soluble and found in compound form. Macronutrients are usually found in short supply and can limit

productivity of agricultural crops. That is why farms and crop growers use fertilizer to increase productivity. Types of fertilizers:

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