Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How is Soil Formed?

~ How is soil Formed?~
~~~ The formation of soil starts with the parent material (earthy materials such as minerals or organic material) the parent material is then broken down into small particles by the process of weathering. The  process is controlled by the climate of an area (temperature, humidity, rainfall,etc.).
Also both plants and animals help soil form. As these organisms die they add organic matter to weathered parent material to help form topsoil and subsoil( aka the layer beneath topsoil). Also these animals/ plants decompose they build layers.
Another factor that helps form soil is the topography (the hilliness, flatness, or amount of slope of the land). The other portion of the soil forming process is time. The age of soil takes hundreds of years for all these factors to form on inch of soil from the parent material.

Doesn't make sense? Well here is a short video that explains it with a visual :) Also here is a photo of how soil may look beneath the surface. 
video
( source:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vg-hwKwT-Hs&feature=related) I edited it to the soil part)
Emilie Naccarato's hands during a soil sample of our wetland site ( source Dr. Fortner's camera)




3 Factors Human disturbances of Soil: 
Human activities are a major disturbance in the balance between soil formation and soil erosion.
Industrial farmland is very vulnerable to erosion because of intensive tillage, which is
plowing(the displacement of the ground). This tillage gets rid of protective ground cover from the
soil surface, as well as damages root systems, which help hold the soil together. Nutrient cycles
are a little different on farms. Due to the constant crops being harvested and eaten by the
livestock and humans ,no continual supply of decaying plant material to replace nutrient levels
within the soil. This causes nutrients to be replenished by the addition of fertilizers in the soil.
Also, the restoration of organic matter to the soil by synthetic fertilizers has been presented to
negatively affect soil productivity. Long-term depletion of organic matter is caused by these
fertilizers. Important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium that leach out of the
soil are the result of over fertilization. These nutrients in large concentrations become harmful to
organisms within the soil. (http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/soil/) Lastly, interaction amongst humans
and soil erosion through building and mining is an adverse process of soil formation. The use of
soil is the basis for societies and our soil is basically nonrenewable within the human time scale.
We have used it in ways that are not part of the natural process http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:mP_UMOO8oZwJ:www.public.iastate.edu/~jasandor/Human%2520Impacts%2520on%2520Soil%2520Formation%2520Final.doc+soil+formation+AND+human+activities&hl=en&gl=us


The Haitian Situation: 
~ A) The source of the Haitian situation is the deforestation( the cutting down of trees). These trees normally protect topsoil by catching the rain and slowing its fall to the ground. The other sources are: erosion, flash-foods  pollution, and increased salt concentrations. With all these problems it decreases the way soil normally functions. 
B) The effects of these massive lands shifts are those of the explainable  Towns are harmed by the massive mud slides and flash floods  With trees being cut down there is nothing for the water to slow down. Then the chemicals in fertilizers used on farms run into water sources killing organisms. 
C) Our soil is important to protect because it protects our ecosystems. With great quality of soil, our crops will produce faster and better and have more nutrients. 






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