Related topics: plants · climate change · nitrogen · atmosphere · carbon

Natural environments favor 'good' bacteria

A new study has shown that restoring environments to include a wider range of species can promote "good" bacteria over "bad"—with potential benefits for human health.

Soil is the key to Earth's history (and future)

The English language is full of phrases—from "bogged down" to "feet of clay" and "dirt cheap"—that reflect how we appreciate the diversity of soil, but value it little.

How one fern can soak up so much arsenic—and not die

Arsenic-contaminated soil and groundwater pose risks to millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Cleaning up the toxic metal is a laborious and expensive process, with some remediations of arsenic ...

New potential for tracking severe storms

Even just within the last couple of months, Cyclones Fani, Idai and Kenneth have brought devastation to millions. With the frequency and severity of extreme weather like this expected to increase against the backdrop of climate ...

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Soil

Soil is a natural body consisting of layers (soil horizons) of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics. It is composed of particles of broken rock that have been altered by chemical and environmental processes that include weathering and erosion. Soil differs from its parent rock due to interactions between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and the biosphere. It is a mixture of mineral and organic constituents that are in solid, gaseous and aqueous states. Soil particles pack loosely, forming a soil structure filled with pore spaces. These pores contain sol solution (liquid) and air (gas). Accordingly, soils are often treated as a three state system. Most soils have a density between 1 and 2 g/cm³. Soil is also known as earth: it is the substance from which our planet takes its name. Little of the soil composition of planet Earth is older than Tertiary and most no older than Pleistocene. In engineering, soil is referred to as regolith, or loose rock material.

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