Lecture Intro B

Lecture Intro B
What is Soil?
“You will die but the carbon will not; its career does
not end with you. It will return to the soil, and there a
plant may take it up again in time, sending it once more
on a cycle of plant and animal life.” --Jacob Bronowski
“Standing on soil feels so much different than standing
on city pavement; it lets you look inward and reflect….
It allows your inner life to grow.
--Ricardo Montalban
“ Soil, like air, like water is a natural resource that we
must protect in order to have a future on planet
--Terry Cooper
“The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself” -Franklin D. Roosevelt
All natural resources...are soil or derivatives of
soil. Farms, ranges, crops, and livestock, forests,
irrigation water and even water power resolve
themselves into questions of soil. Soil is therefore the
basic natural resource. --- Aldo Leopold
“Safeguarding our Soil” a 2010 strategy to prevent
further degradation and enhance, restore, and ensure
the resilience of our soils for the long term.
--- Defra – England
SOIL Definition 1 –
• SOIL - The
unconsolidated mineral
or organic material on
the immediate surface
of the earth that
serves as a natural
medium for the growth
of land plants.
• Sense the Soil – feel,
smell, see, hear……
SOIL Definition 2
The unconsolidated
mineral or organic
matter on the surface
of the earth that has
been subjected to and
shows effects of
genetic and
environmental factors
• 1) climate (including
water and
temperature effect
• 2) macro- and
conditioned by
• 3) relief, acting on
• 4) parent material
over a period of
• 5) time.
Soil – A Product
soil differs from the
material from which it
is derived (Parent
Material) in many :
a) physical,
b) chemical,
c) biological, and
d) morphological
properties and
Soil the essence of life
Darkle, darkle, little
grain, I wonder how
you entertain a
thousand creatures
Grains like you from
pole to tropic support
land life upon this
planet. I marvel at
you, crumb of granite!
(F.W. Hole, 1989)
Soil does not equal DIRT
Soils are Dynamic
• the % air, % water,
% organic matter will
change with time and
• The Soil Ecosystem =
all parts of the soil,
including biotic and
• Soils are important to
life as we know it on
this planet!
• Without soil ……..
Soils and Plant Growth
• Physical support of
• Provides water and air
• Provides essential
– Macro-nutrients =
• N – nitrogen
• P – phosphorus
• K – potassium
• Ca – calcium
• Mg – magnesium
• S – sulfur
– Micro-nutrients =
boron (B),
copper (Cu),
iron (Fe),
chloride (Cl),
manganese (Mn),
molybdenum (Mo)
zinc (Zn)
Basic Soils Includes:
• Understand soil variability
• Study physical, chemical &
biological properties
• Relate soil characteristics
to various land uses
• Soils of the Week – Ten
soils of Minnesota that you
will become familiar with:
First Soil = Clarion
• Clarion =
• Current scientific journals
• Soil Science Society of America
- SSSA Journal-The journal
publishes papers interpreting the
outcome of scholarly inquiry,
investigation, modeling, or
experimentation designed to
develop new or revise existing
concepts or techniques in any
phase of soil science
• Soil and Water Conservation The Journal of Soil and Water
Conservation is the Soil and Water
Conservation Society's bi-monthly
journal of applied research and
conservation news.
• Soils
determine the
suitability of
land for
various uses;
such as,
parks, golf
trails, ……..
Wet Soils - difficult to use for many
land uses due to high water table.
Road cuts provide us a view of the
soil profile and the parent
material the soil developed from.
This cut is
through an
area of very
stony glacial
till in
The soil shows
very weak
The “Beautiful Soil
“Beauty is in the eye of the
beholder”. This soil profile
provides vivid contrasting
colors and unique layering of
the horizons.
From this time forward: You
will never again look at a road
cut without looking for the
soil “horizons”.
"Soil is the hidden, secret friend, which is the root domain
of lively darkness and silence." F.W. Hole