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How Do Soils Form?

Soil forms continuously, but slowly, from the gradual breakdown of rocks through weathering. Weathering can be a physical, chemical or biological process: physical weathering—breakdown of rocks from the result of a mechanical action.

How Do Soils Form?

Soils form from the interaction of four main factors: parent material, climate, topography, and biotic activity. Parent material refers to the rocks and minerals that are broken down to form the soil. Climate affects the rate of weathering and decomposition of the parent material, which affects the rate of soil formation. Topography affects the drainage of water and the movement of water and wind, which affects the rate of soil formation. Biotic activity includes both living organisms and their activities, such as roots and burrowing, which affect the structure of the soil.

Parent material is the basis for soil formation and is composed of rocks and minerals from which new soil forms. Rocks are broken down by weathering and erosion over time to form smaller particles. As water and wind move these particles, they become finer and begin to form new soil. Climate affects the rate of soil formation by determining the rate of weathering and decomposition of rocks and minerals.

Temperature, precipitation, and wind speed all affect the rate of weathering and decomposition. For example, warmer temperatures and more precipitation can speed up the process of soil formation, while colder temperatures and less precipitation can slow it down.

Topography is the third factor that affects soil formation. Topography is

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