Tuesday, September 6, 2011


 soils banner.BMP (494262 bytes)
Sand, silt, and clay are the basic types of soil. Most soils are made up of a combination of the three. The texture of the soil, how it looks and feels, depends upon the amount of each one in that particular soil. The type of soil varies from place to place on our planet and can even vary from one place to another in your own backyard.

Soil erosion, caused by wind and rain, can change land by wearing down mountains, creating valleys, making rivers appear and disappear. It is a slow and gradual process that takes thousands, even millions of years. But erosion may be speeded up greatly by human activities such as farming and mining. Soil develops very slowly over a long period of time but can be lost too quickly. The clearing of land for farming, residential, and commercial use can quickly destroy soil. It speeds up the process of erosion by leaving soil exposed and also prevents development of new soil by removing the plants and animals that help build humus.
Today's farmers try to farm in a way that reduces the amount of erosion and soil loss. They may plant cover crops or use a no-till method of farming. Soil is an important resource that we all must protect. Without soil there is no life.

Soils are a mixture of different things; rocks, minerals, and dead, decaying plants and animals. Soil can be very different from one location to another, but generally consists of organic and inorganic materials, water and air. The inorganic materials are the rocks that have been broken down into smaller pieces. The size of the pieces varies. It may appear as pebbles, gravel, or as small as particles of sand or clay. The organic material is decaying living matter. This could be plants or animals that have died and decay until they become part of the soil. The amount of water in the soil is closely linked with the climate and other characteristics of the region. The amount of water in the soil is one thing that can affect the amount of air. Very wet soil like you would find in a wetland probably has very little air. The composition of the soil affects the plants and therefore the animals that can live there.