Where does all the soil come from?

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Cyperium, Sep 18, 2004.

  1. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    Does all soil come from life? Like dead trees, plants, animals?

    How is this done? What is the process that makes us into soil?
     
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  3. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    without being contsantly replaced by new cells our bodies eventually break down into simpler substanceswhich get mixed with the soil and become part of it (mwuhahah, you are walking on dead people).

    you have to remember that we are just beings of carbon and other things, there is only so mucb carbon on earth and we must go back into it sometime
     
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  5. Catastrophe Registered Senior Member

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    "A thin layer of soil covers most of the Earth's land surfaces. This complex mixture of unconsolidated, weathered rock and organic material is essential to all terrestrial life."
     
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  7. river-wind Valued Senior Member

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    yeah, most of the soil (about 90%) around you is made up of crushed/decayed rock washed down from higher elevations or generated from local rock - many ancient cultures would rely on annual flooding of a local rivier to replenish the soil they used in farming. Low rain one year would not just mean a drop in usable water, but also in less farmable land.
    Only a small amount is organic material (dead plants/animals/roots/fungi/etc).
     
  8. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    you have to remember the rock cycle. sedimentary rock is a mix of igneous rock nad organig material, that becomes either soil or metamorphic rock(depending on changes in the environment) metamorphic rock become magma, magma becomes igneous rock.

    and i could go on longer.

    all matter on earth is just a recyled form of whatever it was before, if you go deeper:

    organism --> soil --> plant --> food --> you

    you ARE dead people. mwuhahah
     
  9. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    So we could actually in the long run be changed into a rock?? Wow...*gasp*
     
  10. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

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    What about the carbon and nitrogen that plants pull out of the air?
     
  11. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    when a tree decomposes it creates oil, we burn that to make carbon dioxide, then the plant takes it back in, and yes, you could be a rock some day.
     
  12. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    Many plants (particularly legumes) have nodules on their roots containing nitrogen-fixing bacteria. That's why they act as pioneers in virgin areas with little or no soil. Trees such as alder fulfill this roll, building up soil for other tree species to come.

    Yeah. That's called fossilization! You need not wait for your scattered decomposition products to be subducted, melted, and erupted as a new lava flow - your can fall straight into a muddy lake, and your bones become part of the incipient sedimentary strata directly.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2004
  13. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Lets not forget the importance of bacteria and worms in processing minerals and elements in the soil, making them more available to plants, etc.
    So, process wise, you start with sand and small bits of weatehred rock, then along come bacteria and plants, colonise it using seeds etc, they grow, absorb the nutrients and get the carbohydrates from the air and sunlight, and when they die you get the kind of black soily stuff whose name ive forgotten. And so it all continues.
     
  14. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Soil is made up of a mixture of organic material and minerals. The organic matter comes from dead plants and many of the minerals come from the rocks underground. These rocks, which are part of the lithosphere, are referred to as bedrock. Because the plants grow on top of the soil and the rocks are found underground, soil is made up of layers.

    The type of soil that forms in a region will depend upon the climate, the bedrock underground, and the plants growing there. In deciduous forests the soil may be deep, rich, and dark brown in colour. In sandy areas the soil will be dry with a dusty grey colour. In tropical regions the soil is often very deep and bright red.

    http://www.saburchill.com/chapters/chap0058.html





    In the United States there are two main types of soil, pedocals and pedalfers. Climate and bedrock influence the type of soil that forms. In western United States, where the rainfall is less then 63 centimeters yearly, the type of soil that forms there is pedocal. Pedocals is rich in calcium and is slightly alkaline. In the eastern part of the United States where the rainfall exceeds 63 centimeter, the soil type is mainly pedalfers. Pedalfers is rich in aluminum and iron compound produced when water and oxygen react with common rock forming minerals.

    http://www.tqnyc.org/NYC040803/madeof.html
     
  15. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    I believe it's called humous.
     
  16. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    You mean humus?
     
  17. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    I must visit the local supermarket and check the spelling on a carton of the eponymous chick-pea spread; find out which spelling of "humus" is a soil component, and which is a culinary puree which tastes good with French bread!

    Then again, where I live, the foods are mostly labelled in Greek - a different alphabet, not just a different spelling.
     
  18. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    i thought humus was a spicy abomination of cous-cous, not a soil
     
  19. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    Cous-cous, chick peas: perhaps there are 2 kinds, in addition to the leafmould which forms part of woodland soils.
     
  20. Catastrophe Registered Senior Member

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    humus

    the organic constituent of soil, usu. formed by the decomposition of plants and leaves by soil bacteria.

    humous

    like or consisting of humus

    hummus

    a thick sauce or spread made from ground chick-peas and sesame oil flavoured with lemon and garlic [Turk. humus mashed chick-peas]
     
  21. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    Thankyou, Catastrophe. I must, henceforth, keep my dictionary or encyclopedia handy whilst browsing SciForums!

    Do you know of any good, free, downloadable encyclopedias?
     

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