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11: Soil Systems

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    Learning Objectives

    By the end of the chapter you should be able to:

    • Create and label a diagram of horizon development process.
    • Explain how soil color relates to soil properties.
    • Define soil texture, structure and bulk density, and explain their importance to soil development.
    • Use the soil texture triangle to determine soil texture class.
    • Explain basic soil chemistry and relate it to soil fertility.
    • Construct, label, and describe the horizons in a typical soil profile.
    • Describe each of the soil development factors and how they influence properties of soils.
    • Describe the soil forming (pedogenic) processes and their effects on soil properties.
    • Describe the major soil orders and explain their general distribution.

    Soil is crucial to the functioning of the Earth system. Soil is the foundation upon which vegetation grows and home to a diverse community of organisms. The global mosaic of world soils is a reflection of the geographic variation of climate, vegetation, and geological processes. Soil is a resource easily degraded or destroyed by misuse. Once damaged, it take hundreds of years to regenerate and become productive again.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Fertile soil dried and cracked due to a lack of rain, Morocco (Courtesy FAO)
    Checking soil moisture
    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\)

    This page titled 11: Soil Systems is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Michael E. Ritter (The Physical Environment) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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