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Soil

Soil is a mixture of rocks, minerals, air, water, living things and organic materials that come from plants and animals. Living things depend on soil. The following are some important functions of soil:
  • Soil can hold air, water, and nutrients that are needed for plant growth;
  • Soil can absorb, store, supply and purify water for plants, animals and people;
  • Soil recycles organic materials (e.g., waste from living things, dead and decaying plants and animals);
  • Soil can regulate the atmosphere;
  • Soil is a habitat for living things. Soil even provides humans materials they need to build their homes.

A soil profile shows different layers in the soil from the top where plants grow down to the bedrock below. The following picture shows a cross section of different soil layers (horizons). The surface layer of soil is richest in organic matter and is good for plant growth. This surface layer is darker in colour and it is formed from the decomposition (decay) of dead plants and animals or the waste created by them. It is called humus. The
Weathered Rock layer is considered the "parent material" for the formation of soil. When you dig deeper, you will find less and less organic matter until you reach solid bedrock.







soil profile .pngSoil-Profile-New.gif

Since soil is made from erosion (weathering) of rocks, Rock Cycle, as a related topic is also covered on this page.





Soil Quiz Samples:

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Videos: Soil Profile

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Images: Soil Profile


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Articles

The article below allows you to access information on the soil right on the same page. You can scroll down to see the article in full.

Soil

Soil: Wikipedia Article














Rocks and Minerals


The rock cycle explains how igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks are formed. It also demonstrates how these rock types can change from one type to another over a very long period of time.



Videos: Rock Cycle

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Rock Cycle

Rock Cycle: Wikipedia Article