Soil material which is unconsolidated on the upper

Soil definition is
in different ways over time. However, all these definitions have lost
similarities which entirely give the Soil a compound nature and structure.
According to Merriam Webster dictionary, Soil is defined as the upper part of
the earth that is used in planting and ploughing. According to Soil Science
Society of America from soil science glossary, Soil is a mineral or organic
material which is unconsolidated on the upper or immediate surface of the
earth. It acts as the underlying natural channel through which plants grow
naturally and human plough or cultivates on. On the other hand, Soil Taxonomy
defines Soil as a physical body that is comprised of organic matter and
minerals, gases and liquids on the earth surface. The soil is the result of a
process of additions, losses, transfers, and transformations of matter and
energy in the natural environment giving it the ability to support the growth
of plants.

            The
soil has got specific characters classified as layers or horizons that are identifiable
upon the transformations of the initial materials. According to soil taxonomy
findings, the ground has reached two levels, the upper and the lower limits.
The boundary between the air and soil, water, or any decomposed plant materials
cover the upper limit of Soil. Areas permanently covered by water are not
considered to have soil for it may not support growth or root of plants. The
non-soil part that separates the soil underneath it’s not easy to define since
it is more of rocks that cannot support plant rooting, human survival or any
other biological activities for both plant and human existence.  The soil consists of layers on the earth
surface that have been formed through climatic changes, relief, and decomposition
of living organisms over time. (Agriculture, 2017)

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            Several
processes are involved in the soil formations. The parent material in the soil
formation is said to be the Rock. Rocks may be either beneath the soil or away
but due to the flow of winds, water glacier erosions or transportation, the
Soil is formed. Paedogenesis is the process through which Soil is formed, and
climatic conditions are one factor that directly affects the rate of parent
material weathering and formation of the Soil. There are four fundamental
processes involved in Soil formation namely, parent material weathering, Soil
development in a significant way, structural distinguishing of the developed
soil into layers or horizons and the translocation of the developed Soil.

            There
several ways in which Soil is trans-located and through these movements, areas
where parent material may not have been there getting developed Soil. This
means that Soil can be transported several miles away from its original
formation point through glacier movement, water flow, and even wind. Example of
glacier soil translocation is recorded in the UK where the glacier pushed soil
in the southwards down the hills several miles away from its original point of
formation. Due to climate change, glacier melted, and heaps of Soil was left
behind forming great moraines which are tourist scenes. Moraines are real
demonstrations of soil translocations through glacier flow.

Fig. 1. Picture of
moraines formed after melting of the glacier in UK.

            Water is another cause of soil
translocation. Through running waters in rivers, soil particles are washed and
carried away. Weighty soil particles like sand are quickly deposited and left
and the other light particles carried as far as the water mass can withhold the
weight. Soils deposited through river flow have different names based on the
deposit destinations. Lacustrine are soil deposits on lakes side, riverine are
soil deposits by rivers, and marine alluvial are soil deposits by sea. Other
than river, lake and sea waters, rainfall is also another significant factor in
translocation of soil. All exposed land is washed away through erosions which
are categorized differently depending on the status of the landscape and the
type of rainfall.

            Soil
translocations can also happen through the wind. In desert areas, extreme wind
causes severe translocation of soil from one location to another. The quantity
of soil particles transported through wind depends on the topography,
landscape, and environmental occupation. If the land is filled with
plantations, transportation through wind may not be that effective due to
barriers of the land cover. Soil deposited trough wind is called Eolian, and
that of gravity is colluvial. (Soil-net.com, 2017)

            It
is therefore clear that Soil is formed from rocks through continuous weathering
of the rocks, the parent materials. Rocks consist of minerals mixed to form
stones. There are three categories of these rocks, the igneous, metamorphic and
sedimentary rocks. Igneous contains base minerals and are developed through
fluid magma flow. Deposition of weathered materials forms the sedimentary rocks
through cemented weathered elements. Metamorphic are comprised of the other two
types of rocks, the sedimentary and igneous, which are formed through excessive
pressure and temperature. These rocks are the primary parent materials in the
Soils formation.

            According
to several types of research conducted across the world by different scientist,
it quite evident that soil is a non-renewable resource. This conclusion is
arrived based on the time taken in the soil natural formation process which is
not even within a human lifespan. Based on this factor, several agencies
promote soil conservation. About 33 percent of the land is under danger of
degeneration through soil erosion chemical pollution, acidification and also
salinization. This is based on the findings captured on the 2015 international
year of soils campaign flagged, healthy soils for healthy life sponsored by
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). (FAO, 2015)

            Other
than Soil degradation through erosion and chemical pollution, other factors are
affecting the Soil like urbanization, deforestation, the rapid growth of world
population hence excessive land usage. There are several ways to control Soil
degradation including the involvement of the government in establishing
mitigation plans to manage climate change, management policies and promotion of
best environmental management practices.