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

Plant roots increase carbon emission from permafrost soils

A key uncertainty in climate projections is the amount of carbon emitted by thawing permafrost in the Arctic. Plant roots in soil stimulate microbial decomposition, a mechanism called the priming effect. An international ...

New map for radioactive soil contamination in Western Europe

An international consortium of scientists has refined the map of cesium and plutonium radionuclide concentrations in soils in Switzerland and several neighboring countries. Using an archive of European soil samples, the team ...

Lead fallout from Notre Dame fire was likely overlooked

On April 15, 2019, the world watched helplessly as black and yellow smoke billowed from the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The fire started just below the cathedral's roof and spire, which were covered in 460 tons of lead—a ...

NASA's InSight flexes its arm while its 'mole' hits pause

NASA's InSight lander has been using its robotic arm to help the heat probe known as the "mole" burrow into Mars. The mission is providing the first look at the Red Planet's deep interior to reveal details about the formation ...

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 ...

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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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