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1 Name removed Abrams Biology 6 May 2013 Where does Soil come from?

For my research question I wanted to know where soil comes from. Why would someone want to research soil? It seems uninteresting but whether you realize it or not soil is everywhere! Eventually someone is going to become curious and wonder where does this dark substance come and why is it here? Its important to address this question because soil is used for many things and no one questions it. Where did it come from? What is its history? If you use something you dont know much about, many problems can arise depending on what it was used for. Its good to know a little bit about soil and there are many interesting things about it. 10% of the worlds carbon dioxide emissions are stored in soil. Soil contains 0.01% of the Earths water. It is also used to absorb wastes. Soil isnt just some dark, dirty stuff living on the ground, its a living system. In one gram of soil there are 5000-7000 different species of bacteria. There are about 70,000 different types of soil in the United States alone while Europe has 10,000 different types of soil. Soil is a natural resource but its non-renewable. Since its non-renewable soil should be valued because if it becomes much damaged it can disrupt the balance of nature.

2 Earthworms are important organisms that live in the soil and help digest organic matter, recycle nutrients, and make the surface soil richer. What is soil? Soil is an organic material on the surface of the Earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of plants. 45% of soil is made up of mineral particles which are sand, silt and clay. Sand is the largest particle of the three, Silt is medium sized and clay is the smallest. 50% of soil is made of pores and voids. Pores and voids are important because they hold water and air which gives the plants oxygen, water, and nutrients. The last 5% is organic matter which is made of dead plant and animal tissues. The organic matter provides energy and reduces soil erosion. (Soil Erosion is the denudation of soil) Every part of the soil is important and plays its own role. Why is soil important to nature? Soil performs an important role in sustaining the life on Earth. It has seven roles: Provides basis for food and biomass, controls and regulates water flow, Stores carbon and maintains gases in the air, provides habitats, also provides a base for buildings to be built on, provides raw material an lastly preserves archaeological heritage. Soil is everywhere because its needed. Each role is very important and contributes greatly to the life on Earth. How much bacteria exists in soil? There are about hundred million-one billion bacteria in an average gram of soil. There are more bacteria species in soil than the human population. There are species like Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas fluorescens. These two species serve as decomposers in the soil and breaks down organic materials by digesting them and turning it in to soil and compost. They can also break down pesticides and herbicides and are very good at

3 keeping nutrients in their cells which helps prevent nutrient loss in the soil. Micrococcus and Achromobacter are two other species found in soil. These two species are denitrifies. They reduce nitrates to nitrogen-gases in the soil. Human caused Impacts can change the soil and damage it. Overgrazing is caused by too many animals constantly eating at the grass and not giving it the chance to grow back. Plant growth and lack of sunlight causes the plants to weaken and the root length to reduce. The soil also weakens and that allows weeds to germinate and grow. Deforestation effects soil because the plants roots hold the soil together and the plant slows down running water from rain. When the plants are removed the soil erodes faster. Acid rain can cause the soil to become more acidic if the soil cannot buffer it. (Buffering is the ability to neutralize some or all of the acid from the rain) If the soil is not replaced and has become acidic then it can ruin the plants and crops that are holding it together. To lessen the amounts of soil erosion, designs are being made that will stop runoff and save more soil. Where exactly does soil come from? Soil originates from decomposed plants and animals. The decomposing bacterium breaks them down and so do Dentrivores contained in the soil. They both break down the decaying organic material to create soil. They also determine the value of the soil. When the organic matter is broken down by the decomposers, the decomposers gain nutrients. They release these nutrients into the soil. Depending on the amount of nutrients released will determine whether or not the soil is very good, decent, or bad. The erosion of large rocks also contributes to the formation of soil. In a simple way to say I found that soil is formed by a combination of organic matter and eroded rock.

4 There are a lot of factors when you really study soil. If you really look into it, it doesnt just seem like some combination of rock and organic matter. Thousands of bacteria live in the soil and have their own jobs that play an important role in keeping the soil healthy and working. It has its own system as the Earths upper layer.

5 Works Cited Di-Mauro, Salvatore. "Human Impact On Soil Quality." Human Impact On Soil Quality. Longdon Routledge, July 2001. Web. 05 May 2013. Gcutter. "How Does Deforestation Affect Soil?" WikiAnswers. Answers, 6 July 2008. Web. 05 May 2013. Rayburn, Ed. "Overgrazing Can Hurt Environment, Your Pocketbook." Overgrazing Can Hurt Environment. West Virginia University, Nov. 2000. Web. 05 May 2013. SoilScience. "What Is Soil Made Of?" What Is Soil Made Of? SoilScience.Info, n.d. Web. 05 May 2013. "Why Soil Is Important." Why Soil Is Important. Scottish Environment Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 05 May 2013.