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Questions tagged [soil]

For questions about the outermost layer of the surface of the Earth. The soil is saturated with organic remains and rock particles.

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50
votes
5answers
5k views

What started the US Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and could it happen again?

Most of us know about the Dust Bowl: the huge storms of dirt and dust that swept across America in the 1930's. But what I'm wondering is... What actually triggered the start of the Dust Bowl? Is it ...
26
votes
2answers
8k views

Is there sand in Antarctica?

There's a song "Blizzard's Never Seen the Desert's Sand". Given Antarctica is a desert, someone questioned the title's validity. BUT is there sand in Antarctica? I'd imagine yes as it's a pretty ...
19
votes
3answers
6k views

Do volcanos really create fertile soil?

I'm developing an ecology for a portion of my world that's geologically active and I remembered hearing that volcanic ash in soil makes it more fertile to agriculture. After extensive googling I've ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

How to make Martian soil

My son wants to replicate some experiments and try to grow plants in Martian soil for his A-level science project. I know NASA have managed to produce soil that mimics Martian soil, however I also ...
14
votes
2answers
21k views

Is soil a renewable resource?

My geology textbook tells me that soil is not renewable, and I agree with this, but there was some question in my class as to whether this is true. Some soils take more than a human lifetime to ...
14
votes
1answer
10k views

What is hydraulic diffusivity?

I'm having trouble grasping which properties of the soil are described by hydraulic diffusivity (sometimes referred to as soil-moisture diffusivity which is based on the diffusion equation). What ...
13
votes
1answer
245 views

How does soil redox potential affect the rate of denitrification?

Denitrification requires low oxygen conditions as wells as organic carbon. Are reduced soils (e.g gleysols) more likely to have higher denitrification rates because they have low oxygen levels?
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Impact of Sugar on the environment

i hope this question fits here. In my local nature reserve there is an "art" project... but the local population has it's concerns. Seeing most things seem to be random trash thrown in (like ...
11
votes
4answers
620 views

How can poor tropical soils be enriched by biological means?

I have been reading a lot recently about agriculture in Africa, and one of the big impediments in a lot of places is the poor quality of the soil. Primarily this refers to a lack of usable molecular ...
11
votes
1answer
243 views

Generic pedo-transfer functions to compute field capacity and wilting point from sand/silt/clay?

I have a model (Miguez et al 2008) that defines wilting point as the soil water content below which there is no transpiration (from Johnson et al 1993). Field capacity is defined as the volume of ...
11
votes
1answer
139 views

Estimate litter production

How would one go about estimating litter production (fine root turnover, leaves, etc.) for a forested area? I have some estimates from literature - which were derived from models, but I'd like to ...
11
votes
0answers
138 views

Using sodium chloride load as a point source pollutant variable in SWAT model?

I'm currently working with the Soil & Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). My task is to model the loading of sodium chloride into streams. One approach I would like to take is to use the point ...
10
votes
1answer
628 views

Why is a layer of the subsoil so dark on this construction site?

I have this construction site right outside my house, which I would like to give you some geographical background about before asking my question. Have a picture first though There used to be ...
10
votes
1answer
125 views

Cell Size of Salt Pan Tessellations

Salt Pans (such as in Badwater Basin of Death Valley, California) often show a tessellation pattern which forms presumably due to contraction of the deposited salt crust forming irregular cracks ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Horizon letter for bedrock

What is the official letter for the bedrock soil horizon? I know that the letters to represent the A, B, and C horizons are widespread, but the fourth layer (bedrock) is referred to with different ...
9
votes
1answer
286 views

Was Russia's original territory unfavorable for agriculture?

How favourable were the soil and climate in Russia's landmass of the 1500s for growing crops in comparison with Northern European countries?
9
votes
1answer
119 views

Traits of invaded ecosystems? Are my compost worms a threat to New York?

I was shocked to learn that there were few native worms in the glaciated portion of North America. I use worms indoors to compost paper and kitchen scraps. I don't think there is much chance of ...
8
votes
1answer
158 views

What is the residue after plant matter is completely decomposed?

What typical fraction of decomposing plant matter, left on the surface rather than buried, is not released in gaseous form? My simple world view is that the plant structure has all come from the air, ...
8
votes
3answers
613 views

Seeking details for the "historical rate" of arable land loss

In doing research on the issue of desertification (aka land degradation) I keep running across the same basic sentence but no source or detail to support or clarify it: "Arable land loss is ...
7
votes
2answers
796 views

Why is northern Australia unsuitable for agriculture?

Northern Australia receives substantial rainfall, but its population is minimal. For instance the Kimberley region in the state of Western Australia gets more than 20 in. of rainfall per year, but ...
7
votes
2answers
610 views

Is the colour of soil determined by the 'proteins' present in soil?

According to wikipedia, the colour of soli is determined by proteins present in the soil! Soil color is influenced by the amount of proteins present in the soil. Yellow or red soil indicates the ...
7
votes
1answer
141 views

How deep is soil?

I am curious of the lower boundary of soil. Soil is formed after going through complex processes and it has been through coevolution with living organisms. According to the USDA, for soil ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the average color of soil?

Where I live the soil is red. Is there a map or chart where you can see the average color of the dirt according to geographical location? What would the color be if all of the dirt on Earth was ...
6
votes
3answers
435 views

does silt form from sand ; does clay form from silt

I believe that sand, silt, clay are defined by size. But are they also generated by different processes and from different materials? Alternatively do sand particles ultimately weather to make silt, ...
6
votes
1answer
260 views

What would happen if the same soil received waste water contaminants for a long time?

I know that soil is used to filter septic systems within our treatment system, however what happens to this soil that is used in filtration, I know it would be changed every once in a while but what ...
6
votes
1answer
64 views

What's a frost-gley?

I've noticed this term in a book about Pleistocene East Europe. It's apparently a soil which was formed during the interstadials, but that's all my book says, and I can't find much more on the ...
6
votes
1answer
644 views

Removing agricultural plastic film waste after 10+ years degradation [closed]

I am at a farm where previous tenants left a non-biodegradable plastic film roughly 10-15 years ago. It is inconsistently spread over a few acres and was not discovered until we attempted plowing the ...
6
votes
0answers
30 views

How to make Martian soil [duplicate]

My son wants to replicate some experiments and try to grow plants in Martian soil for his A-level science project. I know NASA have managed to produce soil that mimics Martian soil, however I also ...
5
votes
3answers
664 views

The fertility of the soil

I came across this question in my book, it says: The fertility of the soil increases when there is a lot of ....... in it. The choices to fill the space were: Nitrogen - nodular bacteria - ...
5
votes
3answers
276 views

Making a local geological field trip an interesting and educational event for children?

I have no expertise in geology or earth science, but I would like to do a "field trip" with my home-schooled young children (under age 10) where I could teach them about geology from a hands-on ...
5
votes
2answers
229 views

Can soil color give accurate data about properties which affect it?

I understand that soil color is affected by several factors some of which are (but not limited to): organic matter content underlying parent material drainage and aeration Soil color being an ...
5
votes
2answers
363 views

Peaty soil vs laterite soil

The weather conditions of both peaty soil and laterite soil are the same, i.e. high rainfall & temperature. But the former turns out to become 'excessive organic' whereas the latter becomes '...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the difference between lunar and earth soil

I know that the moon has lunar regolith and earth has earth soil, but what is the difference between them?
5
votes
2answers
898 views

Red volcanic soils - what are the likely constituents?

I live very near an extinct Andesite volcano and hiking in that area I've noticed bands of soil that have a dark red coloration. I've also been in Kauai, one of the volcanic islands of Hawaii, but ...
5
votes
1answer
433 views

European soil texture dataset according to USDA classification

I'm looking for a dataset (in pretty much any format) of soil texture according to USDA classification (by U.S. Department of Agriculture). Is there anything that would cover the entirety of Europe? ...
5
votes
0answers
56 views

Normalized Difference Vegetation Index sensitivity to soil

A lot of papers mention that Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is sensitive to soil background such as bare soil. My question is what is the exact reason behind the impact of soil on NDVI? ...
5
votes
0answers
126 views

How does one find the soil fertility characteristics for islands of Hawaii?

I am trying to find a way to describe the relative soil fertility characteristics for the islands of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai (youngest to oldest). I want to know about their nitrogen fixation, soil ...
5
votes
2answers
113 views

What is the connection (if any) between jarosite and subsoil biological activity near Spain's Río Tinto?

In the short BBC video Spain's otherworldly red river, Ricardo Amils, a researcher in Spain's Astrobiology Center says the following (amateur transcription): Río Tinto is a peculiar place in our ...
4
votes
4answers
364 views

How to identify a landslide area early?

We know that this natural disaster can cause a big damage. I have heard that we can identify such areas by some geographical signs, such as curved trees. Do we have any stronger detectable signs which ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Is silicon dioxide (silica) found in all types of soil on the planet?

Known that it is found in sand, silt and clay but is it found in all soils?
4
votes
1answer
927 views

Calcareous deposits in arid soil?

I read this line in my textbook: Lower Horizons of arid soil are occupied by calcareous deposits called kankar because of the increasing calcium content downwards. My question is that why only in ...
4
votes
2answers
136 views

Why is the bedrock buried so deeply in much of northern Minnesota?

Although parts of northern Minnesota have bedrock exposed at the surface (especially in the Boundary Waters area and along the short of Lake Superior), the more usual situation here is for the bedrock ...
4
votes
2answers
206 views

Does the existence of limestone nodules in a clay soil horizon indicate a limestone bedrock?

A profile (clay soil) was excavated to a depth of 100 cm in the north of Tunisia. We have found limestone nodules, colluvium and alluvium. What I would like to know is the nature of the bedrock of ...
4
votes
2answers
962 views

Soil Science and the carbon cycle - is carbon released from soil into the atmosphere?

Is carbon lost from topsoil when it's degraded/removed? What is the scientific process?
4
votes
0answers
20 views

USDA soil classification vs FAO/UNESCO soil classification

I am making a global social media website for farmers and gardeners which can be used to share information about plant varieties. This sharing is done via so called garden journals. In a garden ...
4
votes
0answers
53 views

Soil metals acids and bases

I have read in environmental science textbooks that aluminum can acidify soil, whereas metals such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium can alkalinize soils. I understand that Al3+ can ...
4
votes
0answers
262 views

What is the difference between the Hydraulic diffusion equation and the Richards equation in groundwater dynamics?

What is the difference between the Hydraulic diffusion equation and the Richards equation in groundwater dynamics? I want also to understand the difference between the different storage coefficients (...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Are there any areas on Earth with purplish-colored soil/sand/rock/land?

This sort of comes from my related question, but only sort of. Are there any areas on Earth with purplish-colored soil? The purple tint would come from some mineral, perhaps deposited by rivers or ...
3
votes
2answers
319 views

Is it true that aquaponics yield crops with a lower nutritional value than soil-agriculture?

I read this article, in which a person claims that Aquaponics bring crop quality down by having more water than actual nutritional value. I have read many other sources that say the opposite. Can ...
3
votes
2answers
108 views

What would be the correct terminology for soft cover on crust?

Earths' crust is usually not exposed. Above-water portion is covered with soil, and Underwater portions are covered with various deposits or sediments. Oceans contain Pelagic sediments.(I don't know ...