In this section, we will first talk about soil and its importance, and then discuss the various layers of soil, their content and the soil profile.
What is Soil?
Soil is not only the small granules that cover the surface of the earth, it is more. It is not only the surface out of which plants grow from, it’s a lot more. And neither is it just that delicately soft minuscule particles on the beach one sinks their feet into. It is more. According to the dictionary, “Soil varies according to its structure and composition. But generally it can be defined as the material found on the surface of the earth that is composed of organic and inorganic material. We have various types of soil like, clay, loam, silt, sand, etc.“
At one glance all kinds of soil tend to look a lot alike, basically like dirt. Now how does one differentiate the different types of soil? That is where soil profile plays a crucial role. The soil profile tells you the history of the soil, its background and the secrets that reside within its numerous granules.
The soil profile is defined as a vertical section of the soil that is exposed by a soil pit. A soil pit is a hole that is dug from the surface of the soil to the underlying bedrock. Because of the way soils develop, most soil profiles are composed of a series of horizons or layers of soil stacked one on top of the other like layers in a cake. These horizons, identified by letters, A, B, C, D and so on reveal a lot about how the soil formed and what was going on around the soil in the past, much like a timeline.
Soil profile is a lot like the soil’s fingerprint. Think back to what a fingerprint is. It is unique and different from person to person and hence can be used to accurately identify a person. Similarly, the soil profile will help one differentiate one sample of soil from other soil samples based on factors like its color, texture, structure and thickness, as well as its chemical composition.
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