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Soil Profile Meaning and Diagram

Definition of the soil profile

"The soil profile is defined as the percentage of the soil that spreads out vertically from the ground surface to the point at which the soil encounters the underlying rock."

What exactly is a soil profile, and how do you get one?

Soil is the earth's uppermost crust layer, mostly made up of organic materials and rock particles. A soil profile is a cross-section of the ground taken vertically, with the layers running perpendicular to the top. Soil horizons are the scientific name for these types of strata; a soil pit exposes the vertical portion of the soil.

  • Top layer
  • Subsoil layer
  • Parent rock

It aids in the differentiation of a specific soil sample from other soil samples based on characteristics such as color, texture, structure, thickness, and chemical makeup. The properties of the soil vary from one layer to the next.

Different levels of soil

The soil profile is made up of several stacked horizons of soil layers. The letters O, A, E, C, B, and R, represent these soil levels.

1. O-horizon overlying
The soil surface lies the O horizon, which is mainly made up of organic elements like dried leaves and grasses, tiny pebbles and twigs, and surface organisms such as rotting leaves and fallen trees. The abundance of organic matter gives this soil horizon its dark brown or black hue.

2. A-Horizon, often known as topsoil
The humus layer is found on top of the soil and contains a lot of organic material. In this stratum, you'll find a mix of organic and degraded stuff. The topsoil is soft and porous so that it can contain plenty of water and air. This layer is where seed germination and new roots develop, resulting in a new plant. Earthworms, fungus, bacteria, and other microbes live in this stratum.

3. E-Horizon In this layer, nutrients from the O and A horizons have been washed down to the surface. As a result, forested regions have a higher concentration of this stratum, which contains less clay.

4. The B-Horizon, often known as the Subsoil
The horizon is the area immediately below the topsoil and above the bedrock. It's denser, more compact and has fewer organic matter, soluble minerals, and humus than other soils. While plowing the fields, the dirt from horizons A and B is frequently mixed

5. C-Horizon/ saprolite

Bedrock fragments make up this stratum, which is devoid of biological stuff. The term saprolite is used to describe this stratum. This area's geological material is cemented in this horizon.

6.R-Horizon
It's a complex, compacted coating made of cement. Rocks such as granite, basalt, and limestone may all be found in this area of the world.

What is soil moisture?

Soil moisture refers to the amount of water a particular area has on its surface. Several variables affect soil water absorption and have a significant impact on how soil develops. Surface ponding, the development of puddles resulting from saturation, can continue for a long time. The soil particle size influences the porosity and causes vertical water movement to travel downhill, or infiltration.

Types of soil moisture

Soil contains a variety of water types, including:

1. Gravitational water
It is gravitational water that reaches the soil's water table as a result of the gravitational force. Unfortunately, the plants are unable to access this.

2. Hygroscopic water
The plants are likewise unable to get this water. The soil particles are firmly holding a tiny layer of water.

3.Chemically combined water
The soil particles' chemical components include water. This type of water is referred to as chemically mixed water. The plants can't have this either.

4. Capillary water
The plants can utilize this water since it is readily available. Tiny capillaries carry the water between soil particles

5. Atmospheric humidity
The hygroscopic hairs and spongy velamen tissues on the epiphyte roots help it collect moisture from the surrounding air.

The Importance of Soil Moisture

  • Soil water is a food supply for plants since it contains nutrients necessary for their growth
  • The yield of a crop is determined by the moisture content of the soil in a particular area
  • Essential for preserving the soil's warmth
  • The moisture in the soil serves as nutrients.
  • Critical to the development of soil
  • Many plants need a lot of water to thrive, and moist soil is perfect for that (Ex: Rice)
  • The biological activities of soil microorganisms are catalyzed by soil moisture.
  • Photosynthesis in plants necessitates the use of water.
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