What is the first color that comes to mind when you envision soil? Is it brown, black, yellow, or red? How about white, gray, green, or blue? Any of these answers are correct depending on where you are from! It is true; soils come in an incredible range of colors. Complete soil profile, Maracai, Brazil, … Continue reading In general, what relationship does soil color bear to climate?
The polar regions of the globe are often very cold for the most of the year. In the dead of winter, these environments can experience air temperatures well below -50° F! The coldest temperature on record (-128° F) was measured in Antarctica in 1983. Soil with a permafrost layer beginning at 60 cm near the … Continue reading I’ve heard that soil microbes are living in Antarctica. How can that be?
The greatest number of living creatures in soils is those you can’t see with the human eye. Although small, the activity of these organisms is vital for life as we know it. There are more microbes in a handful of soil than there are humans on the earth. Microbes, like bacteria and fungi, depend on … Continue reading Is it true bacteria live in the soil? Isn’t that bad?
There are many different types of animals that live in the soil. Soil is a living, dynamic resource. It helps grow food, fiber, and fuel. However, none of these processes can truly be carried out without the help of animals. For example, gophers, turtles, burrowing animals, and insects all live in the soil. Soil condition … Continue reading What types of animals live in the soil? Why is soil condition important to them?
Question: Why does it matter if I stay on the trail while hiking in the woods and parks? Answer: People love to be outdoors, and soil is an important contributor to a good outing, whether you are hiking, mountain biking, painting, or just enjoying nature. But humans can have significant impacts on the soil. When … Continue reading Why does it matter if I stay on the trail while hiking in the woods and parks?
To identify, understand, and manage soils, soil scientists have developed a soil classification or taxonomy system. Like the classification systems for plants and animals, the soil classification system contains several levels of detail, from the most general to the most specific. The most general level of classification in the United States system is the soil … Continue reading The soil orders simplified
Q: I recently came across a fact that said, “It takes more than 500 years to form an inch of topsoil.” Could you tell me more about this? What’s the actual process through which soil is made? What part of the process takes so long? And if it takes so long to form, why is … Continue reading How long does soil take to form?