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LAB3LECTURE1 - PARENT MATERIALS SOIL FORMING FACTORS AND...

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PARENT MATERIALS, SOIL FORMING FACTORS, AND SOIL PROFILE DESCRIPTIONS
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PARENT MATERIALS, SOIL FORMING FACTORS, AND SOIL PROFILE DESCRIPTIONS Let’s start with an ideal, simplified weathering sequence - keep in mind this is just one of an infinite number of ways a soil can form. In this example we’ll consider a soil forming in place over bedrock. You start off with some sort of rock. As that rock is exposed to weathering forces - particularly water and oxygen - it begins to breakdown. Eventually, over the bedrock, there will be a layer of material that is similar to the bedrock, but it has been physically broken down into smaller pieces, and may be chemically altered. This layer is called the “C” horizon. The “C” horizon is the soil’s parent material. Eventually vegetation will begin to take root in this layer. Over time, the vegetation acts to further disintegrate and decompose the mineral material, in addition to adding organic matter to the soil as the plants die and are worked into the soil. Eventually a distinct layer forms at the surface of the soil. This layer is called the “A” horizon . The “A” horizon consists primarily of mineral materials with an accumulation of decomposed organic matter. As the bedrock, the “C” horizon , and the
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