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The soil serves as a medium for plant growth, a home for various species, a surface water filtration system, and a repository for atmospheric gases. By providing nourishment in the form of necessary minerals and nutrients, water, and air to support the survival and growth of plants, worms, fungus, and bacteria, the soil can sustain life. For the goal of understanding soil resources in agricultural productivity, environmental quality, and management, the study of soil is useful. Soil study helps in evaluating soil and interpreting information related to soil.
Definition of study of soil
The study of soils or pedology is defined as the science that deals with the genesis, nature, distribution, and use of the various abilities of soil resources. It uses an innovative scientific methodology to evaluate the quality of the soil.
Stages of soil
Soil contains humus, broken rocks, and inorganic and organic components. On average, it takes 500 years or more for soil to develop from rocks. Soil is produced when rocks break up into their component pieces. The rocks break down into smaller pieces to produce the soil when a variety of forces impinge on them. Also included in these forces are the effects of wind, water, and salt reactions.
There are three stages of soil:
- Solid soil
- Soil with air in the pores
- Soil with water in the pores
Types of soils
Different soil types are subjected to various environmental forces. The main characteristics of soil are its texture, ratios, and various mineral and organic contents.
Soil is classified into four types:
- Sandy soil.
- Silt Soil.
- Clay Soil.
- Loamy Soil.
Sand is the first kind of soil. It is made of tiny fragments of worn rock pieces.
As they have relatively few nutrients and a low water-holding capacity, sandy soils are among the worst types of soil for growing plants because they make it difficult for the roots of the plants to absorb water. The drainage system does quite well with this kind of soil. Normally, rocks like granite, limestone, and quartz break down to produce sand-like soil.
Silt is formed due to rock and other mineral particles that are smaller than sand but larger than clay and are known to have much smaller particles than sandy soil. The soil holds water better than sand because it is smooth and fine. Silt is often found next to rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water as it is easily transported by flowing currents. In comparison to the other three types of soil, silt soil is the most fertile. To increase soil fertility, it is also utilized in agricultural techniques.
In comparison to the other two forms of soil, clay has the tiniest particles. There is little to no airspace between the soil’s particles, which are closely packed together.
This soil is impermeable to moisture and air because of its excellent capacity to hold water. Clay feels quite sticky to the touch when it is wet; when dry, it feels silky. The densest and most heavy form of soil is clay, which does not drain effectively or give room for plant roots to spread out.
The fourth kind of soil is loamy soil. It is made up of a combination of sand, silt, and clay so that the good qualities of each are present. For instance, it can hold onto nutrients and moisture, making it ideal for cultivation. Due to the equilibrium of all three types of soil materials—sandy, clay, and silt as well as the presence of humus, this soil is also known as agricultural soil. Loamy soil has inorganic origins, so it also has increased calcium and pH levels.
Properties of soil
Physical properties of soil include
The percentage of sand, silt, and clay-sized particles that make up the mineral portion of the soil are referred to as the soil texture (such as loam, sandy loam, or clay).
The distribution of these particles of various sizes inside a soil is known for its texture. Based on the distribution of sand, silt, and clay, there are twelve types of soil. The soil texture triangle, which designates soil type based on the distribution of sand, silt, and clay, is seen in the accompanying image.
The term ‘oil structure’ refers to how soil particles are arranged and organized, as well as their propensity to bind together to form aggregates. The movement of solutes and contaminants, as well as biological activity, such as plant development, are all impacted by aggregation, which also has an impact on water and air transportation.
Because soil structure has an impact on how water and air travel through the soil, soil biota depend on it. Granular and aggregated soils have improved air and water transport, while platy and massive soils have impeded them.
The mineral and organic content of the soil, as well as its structure, are related to soil density. Bulk density, which is the ratio of a soil’s weight to its volume, is the best-accepted way to assess soil density. It is often measured in terms of grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm3) and is stated as a unit of weight per volume.
Pore space is the area of a soil’s bulk volume that is not covered by either mineral or organic matter but is instead an open area that is either filled with gases or water. Bulk density is inversely related to soil porosity.
The term ‘soil consistency’ describes how easily the fingers may crush a single ped. The moisture content of the soil affects soil consistency and how it is described.
The following terms are frequently used to describe consistency.
Climate, soil water content, soil color, soil cover (such as the presence or lack of mulch), depth in the soil profile, and air and water flow inside a soil all have an impact on soil temperature.
Organic matter concentration, drainage patterns, degree of oxidation, and, in some circumstances, the presence of particular minerals, all have a significant role in determining soil color. In stormwater applications, soil color is not frequently taken into account.
- The science that examines the origins, make-up, distribution, and utilization of the varied capacities of soil resources is known as pedology, or the study of soils. It applies cutting-edge scientific processes to assess soil quality.
- Humus, fragments of fractured rock, as well as inorganic and biological materials, are all found in soil. The average time it takes for the soil to grow from rocks is 500 years or more. When rocks break up into their parts, the soil is created.
- Color, texture, structure, porosity, density, consistency, aggregate stability, and temperature are among the physical properties of soil. These properties have an impact on biological activity, nutrient cycling, infiltration, and erosion.
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Q1. What is the study of soil in geography?
Ans-The use of geographic ideas and disciplines for the solution of specific issues relating to soil genesis, soil character, and soil distribution is one of the many facets of soil science.
Q2. What is Edaphology?
Ans- Edaphology is the study of the effects of soils on living organisms, notably plants. It is one of two major branches of soil science; the other is pedology.
Q3. Who is the father of soil science?
Ans-The founding father of soil science is Vasily Dokuchaev.
Vasily Vasilyevich Dokuchaev, born on March 1st, 1846, in Russia, is well-known to soil scientists all around the world.