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Unformatted text preview: Soil Systems OVERVIEW This chapter examines the characteristics, the processes of formation and the global pattern of distribution of soil that develops at the interface between the lithosphere, the biosphere and the atmosphere. Soil is a complex mixture of solids, liquids and gases. It contains mineral material derived from the parent material and organic matter derived from living plants and other organisms in the soil. The major soil-forming factors are parent material, climate, vegetation, and time. Soil texture refers to the proportion of soil particles that fall into each of three size grades; sand, silt and clay. Soil colloids are the smallest particles in soils. They are important because they hold plant nutrients in the soil in the form of ions. Soil pH can range from acid to alkaline. Soil structure refers to the way in which the soil grains are bound together by...
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- Fall '09