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What Am I Walking On?
By: Lynn Vaughan
1
Soil
Soil is
something you
walk on and
over everyday,
but do you ever
stop to wonder
what makes
soil? Why is it
there? Why is it
important to us?
2
What Does Soil Do That
Makes It So Important?
3
Soil is what
holds plants up
so they do not
fall over. Plants
would look silly
lying on the
ground.
4
• Soil makes food
for plants to
grow big and
strong.
5
Soil also
helps rain
soak into the
ground. That
way plants
can get a
drink when
they are
thirsty.
6
Rain soaks
into the
ground and
soil helps
prevent
flooding.
7
Is Soil Alive?
Soil is not alive.
However, there
are lots of
critters who live
in the soil.
8
Where Did All The Soil
Come From?
• Most of the
soil here on
earth has been
around a long
time.
9
Soil is like the
turtle when it
comes to
making new
soil, it can take
hundreds or
thousands of
years to make
just
one-inch more.
10
Where Does Soil Start?
Soil forms from
its “parent
material”. This
can be rocks,
dead leaves,
broken tree limbs
lying on the
ground, or dead
bugs.
11
Heat, rain, ice, snow, wind,
sunshine and organisms help to
break the parent material down
into smaller and smaller pieces
until it becomes soil.
12
What Are Soil “Horizons?”
13
O-Horizon
• Soil horizons are the
layers in the soil. The
top layer is the O
horizon. The O horizon
is the organic
material. It is only
about an inch thick,
but it is very healthy.
However, it may not
always be present.
14
A-Horizon
The A horizon,
or top soil, has
roots and lots of
other small
creatures (like
worms) running
around in it.
15
• Next, is the B
horizon which is
hard and not
many plants and
animals can get
through it.
16
C-Horizon
• At the bottom is
horizon C. C is the
parent material
that was used to
form the other
three layers. It is
even harder than B
and not many
things live there.
17
What is a “Ped?”
A ped is a single
unit of soil
structure. A ped
will vary with
different types
of soil.
18
Soil Has Texture
The way a soil
feels when
you touch it is
called its
“texture”.
19
Gritty
A soil that
feels “gritty”
is made up of
sand, the
largest pieces
of soil.
20
Soft Soil
A soil that feels
soft, silky, or
“floury” is made
of the medium
size soil pieces
called silt.
21
Sticky Soil
The smallest
size soil pieces
are clay. Clay
feels “sticky”
and is hard to
squeeze.
22
The amount
of sand, silt,
and clay tells
us a story
about the soil.
23
First, it tells
us how
much water
can be
stored in
the soil.
24
Second, it tells
us what kind of
creatures lives
in the soil.
25
Third, it
tells us
what kind
of plants
can grow.
26
Next, it
tells us
how deep
plant roots
can grow.
27
Then, it tell us
how much
water can pass
through.
28
Finally, it
tells us how
the soil has
changed
over time.
29
Soil Colors
Soil can be
many colors.
30
Dark Brown Soil
Usually, the
darker brown
colors have
more rotted bits
of leaves, pine
needles and
twigs.
31
Red Soil
If the soil is
red, that
means it has
lots of iron in
it.
32
White Soil
If the soil is
white,
it may have
calcium in it.
33
How Does Water Get
Into The Soil?
When it
rains, the
rainwater
pours into
the pores in
the soil.
34
Pores are spaces
in the soil that
come in different
sizes.
35
They also let
air in so that
small animals
and insects
can breathe.
36
Why Do Plants Grow So
Well In The Soil?
The soil has
many things
in it that
plants need
to grow.
37
Roots Help Soil
Roots help
make soil, too.
They split
rocks into
pieces that
later become
soil.
38
Can We Lose Soil?
Soil “erodes”
(washes or
blows away)
when there
is nothing to
help it stay
in place.
39
How Can We Keep Our
Soil In Place?
Plant trees
or other
plants in
areas to
keep the
soil from
eroding.
40
Farmers have
ways to keep
the soil on the
land so that they
can grow food
for us to eat.
41
They use special
machinery when
they plant their
crops, and they
plant
windbreaks.
42
Windbreaks
are rows of
trees that are
planted next
to fields to
keep the wind
from blowing
the soil away.
43