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

Global warming makes tropical soils leak carbon dioxide

Tropical forest soil warmed in experiments to levels consistent with end-of-century temperature projections released 55 percent more CO2 than control plots, exposing a previously underestimated source of greenhouse gas emissions, ...

Technology can help speed soil recovery after oil spills

After an oil spill or leak, it's important to act fast. If the oil has gotten into soil, scientists need to rapidly assess how much oil there is and how far it spread. It's a process that has always been costly and time-consuming.

Identifying the blind spots of soil biodiversity

Soils harbor a substantial part of the world's biodiversity, yet data on the patterns and processes taking place below ground does not represent all relevant ecosystems and taxa. For example, tropical and subtropical regions ...

Smartphones prove to be time-saving analytical tools

Seemingly everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, and we find new uses for them every day. They can help us avoid traffic jams or connect us to family from afar. They can even translate languages on the fly.

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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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