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Science >> Earth Science for Kids

Earth Science for Kids

Soil

What is soil?

Soil is the loose upper layer of the Earth's surface where plants grow. Soil consists of a mix of organic material (decayed plants and animals) and broken bits of rocks and minerals.

How is soil formed?

Soil is formed over a long period of time by a number of factors. It can take up to 1000 years for just an inch of soil to form. Besides time, other factors that help soil to form include: Why is soil important?

At first you may think of soil as just dirt. Something you want to get rid of. However, soil plays a very important role in supporting life on Earth. Properties of Soil

Soil is often described using several characteristics including texture, structure, density, temperature, color, consistency, and porosity. One of the most important properties of soil is the texture. Texture is a measure of whether the soil is more like sand, silt, or clay. The more like sand a soil is the less water it can hold. On the other hand, the more like clay a soil is, the more water it can hold.

Soil Horizons

Soil is made up of many layers. These layers are often called horizons. Depending on the type of soil there may be several layers. There are three main horizons (called A, B, and C) which are present in all soil.

  • Organic - The organic layer (also called the humus layer) is a thick layer of plant remains such as leaves and twigs.
  • Topsoil - Topsoil is considered the "A" horizon. It is a fairly thin layer (5 to 10 inches thick) composed of organic matter and minerals. This layer is the primary layer where plants and organisms live.
  • Subsoil - Subsoil is considered the "B" horizon. This layer is made primarily of clay, iron, and organic matter which accumulated through a process called illuviation.
  • Parent material - The parent material layer is considered the "C" horizon. This layer is called the parent material because the upper layers developed from this layer. It is made up mostly of large rocks.
  • Bedrock - The bottom layer is several feet below the surface. The bedrock is made up of a large solid mass of rock.
Interesting Facts about Soil Science Activities

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Earth Science Subjects

Geology
Composition of the Earth
Rocks
Minerals
Plate Tectonics
Erosion
Fossils
Glaciers
Soil Science
Mountains
Topography
Volcanoes
Earthquakes
The Water Cycle
Geology Glossary and Terms

Nutrient Cycles
Food Chain and Web
Carbon Cycle
Oxygen Cycle
Water Cycle
Nitrogen Cycle
Atmosphere and Weather
Atmosphere
Climate
Weather
Wind
Clouds
Dangerous Weather
Hurricanes
Tornadoes
Weather Forecasting
Seasons
Weather Glossary and Terms

World Biomes
Biomes and Ecosystems
Desert
Grasslands
Savanna
Tundra
Tropical Rainforest
Temperate Forest
Taiga Forest
Marine
Freshwater
Coral Reef
Environmental Issues
Environment
Land Pollution
Air Pollution
Water Pollution
Ozone Layer
Recycling
Global Warming

Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable Energy
Biomass Energy
Geothermal Energy
Hydropower
Solar Power
Wave and Tidal Energy
Wind Power

Other
Ocean Waves and Currents
Ocean Tides
Tsunamis
Ice Age
Forest Fires
Phases of the Moon


Science >> Earth Science for Kids

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