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Environmental Science
Carl Mitchell

Chapter 7 Soil: loose material derived from rock a complex plant-supporting system consisting of disintegrated rock, organic matter, water, gases, nutrients, and microorganisms fundamental to the support of life on the planet & provision of food N Consists of half mineral matter with varying proportions of organic matter, pore space taken up by air, water, soil gases N Organic matter living and dead microorganisms, decaying material from plants and animals N 1 teaspoonful of soil = 100 million bacteria, 500 000 fungi, 100 000 algae, 50 000 protists N Habitat for earthworms, insects, mites, millipedes, centipedes, nematodes, sow bugs, other invertebrates (burrowing mammals, amphibians and reptiles) N Influences regions ecosystems, climate, latitude, and elevation Parent material: base geological matter can include lava or volcanic ash, rock or sediment deposited by glaciers, wind-blown dunes, sediments deposited by rivers in lakes or ocean, bedrock N Weathering, erosion, deposition and decomposition (and accumulation) of organic matter Weathering: physical, chemical, and biological processes that break down rocks and minerals (large small: regolith are precursors of soils) Physical weathering (mechanical weathering): breaks rocks down without triggering a chemical change in the parent material wind and rain, water freezing & expanding Chemical weathering: when water or other substances chemically interact with parent material warm and wet conditions, acidic precipitation or groundwater Biological weathering: when living things break down parent material by physical or chemical means N Erosion sometime
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