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Western University
Geography 1100
D.Kim Holland

Soil - Adynamic, natural, 3 dimensional body on the surface of the earth composed of mineral, organic materials and living forms. The properties of soils are due to the integrated effects of climate and living matter acting upon parent material, as conditioned by relief over periods of time - Soil is defined as the naturally occurring, unconsolidated mineral of organic material at least 10 cm thick that occurs at the earth’s surface and is capable of supporting plant growth Vital Functions - Sustaining plant and animal life below and above the sur face - Regulating and partitioning water and solute flow - Filtering, buffering, degrading, immobilizing and detoxifying - Storing and cycling nutrients - Soil is the basis of the Ecosystem-Soils support life Weathering - The alteration of mineral and or organic material by chemical (decomposition) and physical (disintegration) processes - Materials weather because they are responding to changes in conditions e.g. a rock is formed under high temperatures, high pressure, low O and liquid H 2, then if the rock is uplifted to the surface it experiences low temperature, low pressure, high O and liquid H O 2 o Chemical (Decomposition) Weathering  Primary minerals ▯ Secondary minerals  Oxides, Carbonates, Sulfates,  Clays o Clays  Size < 0.002 mm  Shape – plate like very large surface area  Chemical Activity Cation Exchange capacity (CEC) High values for CEC = High soil fertility - 5 Factors controlling soil formation o 1. Climate – Temperature, Precipitation o 3. Parent Material – Bedrock to Regolith  Transported materials o 2. Organisms o 4. Topography – Site conditions  Soil drainage and relief o 5. Time – Soil evolution  Pedogensis or soil evolution (formation) is the process by which is created o S = f (cl, o, r, p, t) o S – soil properties o Cl – regional climate o O - potential biota (organisms) o R- topography o P – Parent material o T-Time Pedogenesis - Eluviation – removal - Illuviation – deposition Processes - Podzolization - Calcification - Laterization - Gleziation Pedon - Basic unit of soil - Smallest 3-D unit that can be considered a soil - Relatively uniform, no real difference between horizons - Might be slightly different to one right next to it, and very different from one 1 km away - Horizons o Alayer of soil approximately parallel to the soil surface with distinct characteristics produced by soil-forming processes Canadian Soil Classification System - Many different classifications as each country wanted to classify their own part
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