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Soil definition has
been different over time. However, all these definitions have lost similarities
which entirely give the Soil a compound nature and structure. According to
Merriam Webster dictionary, Soil is defined as the upper part of the earth that
is used in planting and ploughing. According to Soil Science Society of America
from soil science glossary, Soil is a mineral or organic material which is
unconsolidated on the upper or immediate surface of the earth. It acts as the
underlying natural channel through which plants grow naturally and human plough
or cultivates on. On the other hand, Soil Taxonomy defines Soil as a physical
body that is comprised of organic matter and minerals, gases and liquids on the
earth surface. The soil is the result of a process of additions, losses,
transfers, and transformations of matter and energy in the natural environment
giving it the ability to support the growth of plants.

The soil has got
specific characters classified as layers or horizons that are identifiable upon
the transformations of the initial materials. According to soil taxonomy
findings, the ground has reached two levels, the upper and the lower limits.
The boundary between the air and soil, water, or any decomposed plant materials
cover the upper limit of Soil. Areas permanently covered by water are not
considered to have soil for it may not support growth or root of plants. The
non-soil part that separates the soil underneath it’s not easy to define since
it is more of rocks that cannot support plant rooting, human survival or any
other biological activities for both plant and human existence.  The soil consists of layers on the earth
surface that have been formed through climatic changes, relief, and decomposition
of living organisms over time. (Agriculture, 2017)

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Several processes
are involved in the soil formations. The parent material in the soil formation
is said to be the Rock. Rocks may be either beneath the soil or away but due to
the flow of winds, water glacier erosions or transportation, the Soil is
formed. Paedogenesis is the process through which Soil is formed, and climatic
conditions are one factor that directly affects the rate of parent material
weathering and formation of the Soil. There are four fundamental processes involved
in Soil formation namely, parent material weathering, Soil development in a
significant way, structural distinguishing of the developed soil into layers or
horizons and the translocation of the developed Soil.

                There several ways in which Soil is
trans-located and through these movements, areas where parent material may not
have been there getting developed Soil. This means that Soil can be transported
several miles away from its original formation point through glacier movement,
water flow, and even wind. Example of glacier soil translocation is recorded in
the UK where the glacier pushed soil in the southwards down the hills several
miles away from its original point of formation. Due to climate change, glacier
melted, and heaps of Soil was left behind forming great moraines which are
tourist scenes. Moraines are real demonstrations of soil translocations through
glacier flow.

                Water
is another cause of soil translocation. Through running waters in rivers, soil
particles are washed and carried away. Weighty soil particles like sand are
quickly deposited and left and the other light particles carried as far as the
water mass can withhold the weight. Soils deposited through river flow have
different names based on the deposit destinations. Lacustrine are soil deposits
on lakes side, riverine are soil deposits by rivers, and marine alluvial are
soil deposits by sea. Other than river, lake and sea waters, rainfall is also
another significant factor in translocation of soil. All exposed land is washed
away through erosions which are categorized differently depending on the status
of the landscape and the type of rainfall.

 

                Soil translocations can also happen
through the wind. In desert areas, extreme wind causes severe translocation of
soil from one location to another. The quantity of soil particles transported
through wind depends on the topography, landscape, and environmental
occupation. If the land is filled with plantations, transportation through wind
may not be that effective due to barriers of the land cover. Soil deposited
trough wind is called Eolian, and that of gravity is colluvial. (Soil-net.com,
2017)

                It is therefore clear that Soil is
formed from rocks through continuous weathering of the rocks, the parent
materials. Rocks consist of minerals mixed to form stones. There are three
categories of these rocks, the igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.
Igneous contains base minerals and are developed through fluid magma flow.
Deposition of weathered materials forms the sedimentary rocks through cemented
weathered elements. Metamorphic are comprised of the other two types of rocks,
the sedimentary and igneous, which are formed through excessive pressure and
temperature. These rocks are the primary parent materials in the Soils
formation.

                According to several types of
research conducted across the world by different scientist, it quite evident
that soil is a non-renewable resource. This conclusion is arrived based on the
time taken in the soil natural formation process which is not even within a
human lifespan. Based on this factor, several agencies promote soil
conservation. About 33 percent of the land is under danger of degeneration
through soil erosion chemical pollution, acidification and also salinization.
This is based on the findings captured on the 2015 international year of soils
campaign flagged, healthy soils for healthy life sponsored by Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO). (FAO, 2015)

                Other than Soil degradation through
erosion and chemical pollution, other factors are affecting the Soil like
urbanization, deforestation, the rapid growth of world population hence
excessive land usage. There are several ways to control Soil degradation
including the involvement of the government in establishing mitigation plans to
manage climate change, management policies and promotion of best environmental
management practices.

 

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