Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Chemistry of Soils$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Garrison Sposito

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190630881

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190630881.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 May 2021

The Composition of Soils

The Composition of Soils

Chapter:
1 The Composition of Soils
Source:
Title Pages
Author(s):

Garrison Sposito

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190630881.003.0005

Soils are porous media created at the land surface through weathering processes mediated by biological, geological, and hydrological phenomena. From the point of view of chemistry, soils are open biogeochemical systems containing reactive solids, liquids, and gases. That they are open systems means they exchange both matter and energy with the surrounding atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere. That they are biogeochemical systems means their development over time is a result of chemical transformations of earth materials linked to the life cycles of the soil biota and plant roots. Soils are the central feature of the life-supporting Critical Zone, which extends from the top of the vegetation canopy to the bottom of the groundwater aquifer in a terrestrial ecosystem. The Critical Zone provides essential ecosystem services (outputs of food, fiber, fuel, and water, including their quality) that sustain the biosphere. Other earth materials than soil may occur in the Critical Zone (for example, weathered rock [saprolite]), but soils are unique in showing a distinctive vertical stratification, the soil profile (Fig. 1.1), created by percolating water under the combined influence of parent material, topography, climate, living organisms, and pedogenic time—the five factors of soil formation. Analogous to biomes, which classify terrestrial ecosystems according to similar climate and vegetative cover, orders classify soils according to similar climate, parent material, or pedogenic time. With respect to climate, for example, Oxisols reflect tropical conditions, whereas Mollisols reflect temperate conditions. Spodosols and Gelisols reflect mainly boreal conditions (Table 1.1). Andisols, Histosols, and Vertisols, on the other hand, are not defined by climatic region, but instead by parent material (volcanic ash, organic litter, or swelling clay, respectively), whereas Entisols and Inceptisols reflect pedogenic time being insufficiently long for significant A or B horizon development, respectively. Biomes are basic classification units of the aboveground biosphere useful for characterizing its ecosystem services, whereas orders are basic classification units of the pedosphere useful for the same purpose. The natural capitalof soils is the set of assets that allows them to function beneficially as providers of ecosystem services.

Keywords:   Henry’s law, ammonia volatilization, bicarbonate, carbon dioxide, denitrification, ferrihydrite, goethite, humification, illite, kaolinite

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .