If you’re stuck inside like most of America (and the world) right now, you’re either working remotely or passing the time by watching Tiger King, doing paint-by-number, and/or putting together a puzzle (or whatever else you might be interested in; this is just what the majority of people I know are doing right now). Here at GNS, however, we’re still hard at work. We’re practicing safe social distancing, washing our hands a whole lot, using hand sanitizer religiously, and keeping our office, shop, and fleet squeaky clean.
In the meantime, we know you all have kids at home and maybe they’re a little bored (and maybe you are too!). So we created a new fun series called Stay Home, Stay Safe! Here we will share some activities to get them (and you) learning and having fun.
Pedology is the study of soil, and there are 23,000 series of it across the U.S. Soil is built differently in color, texture, structure, consistency, roots, pores and other features. Many people confuse soil for sediment and dirt, but in truth, while they share similarities, they are also very different.
Soil is specifically found on the most immediate surface of the earth and supports plant life. In construction, we also refer to this as topsoil. It consists of inorganic, organic, and living materials. Dirt is any unconsolidated fine-grained material found in the ground. Sediment is more granular in feel and is developed through erosion. Therefore, while soil can be considered dirt and consist of sediment, dirt and sediment are not necessarily soil.
What does soil do?
Perhaps the most important role of soil is that it sustains plant and animal life below and above the surface. Without plants, we would not be here! We need it for the air we breathe as well as the food we eat. We use it for clothing and for shelter. Soil is so vital to us. It also works in many other ways, listed below.
- It regulates and partitions water and solute flow
- It filters, buffers, degrades, immobilizes and detoxifies
- It stores and cycles nutrients
- It provides support to structures
What lives above and below the ground is determined by the type of soil. Certain organisms found within the soil are as follows.
- Bacteria – a type of biological cell present in most habitats, living in symbiotic and parasitic relationships with plants and animals
- Fungi – includes yeasts, molds, and mushrooms which acquire food by absorbing dissolved molecules through the secretion of digestive enzymes in their environment; they do not photosynthesize; they mobilize merely through growth
- Protozoa – one-celled animals that feed on organic matter such as other microorganisms or organic tissues and debris
- Nematodes – tiny worms with sharply pointed mouths that can seriously damage plant roots, stems, foliage, flowers, and other crop
- Arthropods – include insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and myriapods
- Earthworms – tubular, segmented worm which feed on live and dead organic matter within the soil
And these organisms actually play certain roles and provide a multitude of benefits, such as:
- Decomposition – the state of rotting and decay
- Release of nutrients – a substance which provides nourishment essential for growth
- Creation of pores – spaces which hold groundwater and oxygen
- Stabilization of soils – a biological method of changing a natural soil to strengthen it
Think you know enough about soil now to master our crossword puzzle about it? Download from our Facebook page now!