Smith, Guy D. Geological Institute, Krisgslann, Ghent, Belgium.
Gardner, Walter H. Department of Agronomy and Soils, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington.
Peterson, G. A. Department of Agronomy, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Willis, W. O. Formerly, Department of Agronomy, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
Last reviewed:March 2017
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- Origin and formation
- Soil surveys
- Physical properties
- Plant growth and biological activity
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Finely divided rock-derived material containing an admixture of organic matter and capable of supporting vegetation. Soils are independent natural bodies, each with a unique morphology resulting from a particular combination of climate, living plants and animals inhabiting it, parent rock materials, relief, groundwaters, and age. Soils support plants (Fig. 1), occupy large portions of the Earth's surface, and have shape, area, breadth, width, and depth. Note that the term soil, as used here, differs in meaning from the term as used by engineers, where the meaning is unconsolidated rock material. See also: Forest soil; Pedology; Soil chemistry; Soil conservation; Soil ecology; Soil fertility; Soil mechanics; Soil microbiology
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