SOIL FORMATION

soil 

Weathering

Weathering is the breaking down of rocks into smaller pieces. There are basically three types of weathering as you can see listed below.

  1. Mechanical Weathering
  2. Chemical Weathering
  3. Biological Weathering

Please watch this video about weathering.

Factors Affecting Soil Formation

Soil is basically the product of the environment in which it is form. If you clicked on the link above and watch the video, you would have learn that the type of soil form depends on the parent rock and some other factors. The list below shows the factors affecting soil formation.

  1. Parent Material: it’s the material that the soil is form from.
  2. Climate: climate refers to the influence of temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity and other meteorological variables that influence soil formation.
  3. Living Organisms/ Biota: living organism such as animals, vegetation, microbes and human beings affects soil formation in different ways. Example; plant roots helps to break up rocks.
  4. Topography: this speaks to slope, aspect, and elevation of soil/ land.
  5. Time: this is referring to the amount of time taken by the parent material to undergo soil formation.

Soil formation process

Let’s take a brief look at soil formation, but first we need to define what soil is clearly. Soil is a composition of inorganic and organic materials, that as undergo many chemical, mechanical and biological interaction.          Soil Video Aide

The inorganic part of the soil is made up of weathered rocks, gases, water and different types of inorganic minerals. The organic part of the soil is basically composed of decomposing organic material in different stages of decomposition (e.g. dead animals, dead plants, fallen leaves, faeces, etc.). About 5% of the soil is organic, 25% air, 25% water and 45% rock particles.

Soil is form by the following four processes:

  1. Addition: at this stage of soil formation decomposing organic materials and even minerals are added to the soil by different factors. So the addition stage involves the introduction of material to the soil.
  2. Losses: at this stage the soil losses material due to different factors. Some of those factors are leaching, uptake by plants, chemical reaction within the soil, etc.
  3. Transformation: at this stage organic material is converted to decay resistant organic compounds (humus).
  4. Translocation: at this stage in soil formation the ingredients (organic compound, etc.) moves between horizons. Horizons refers to the different soil layers that make up the soil. The horizons also have different physical characteristics. At the translocation stage you will observe alterations in color, texture, and structure.

It’s important to note that soil formation is a very lengthy process. And some of the Soil types produce includes; Sand, Silt, Peaty, Clay and Saline Soil.

Expand Your Knowledge

Factors Affecting Soil Formation

Soil

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