Fundamentals of Physical Geography

2nd Edition
James Petersen
ISBN: 9781133606536



Fundamentals of Physical Geography

2nd Edition
James Petersen
ISBN: 9781133606536
Textbook Problem

What factors are involved in the formation of soils? Which is most important on a global scale?

To determine

The factors that are involved in the formation of the soils and the most important factor on a global scale.


The soil formation and development are functions of climate, organic matter, relief, parent material and time. These are observed and noted by soil scientist, Hans Jenny.

Parent material: The weathered rock particles if accumulated in the same place beneath the soil, it is called as residual parent material and if the weathered rock fragments are carried to the site deposited by the streams, waves, winds, gravity or glaciers then it is called as the transported parent material.

Soils with weathering resistant rocks tend to have more similarity to parent material than the rocks with easily weathering rocks. As the time goes, the parent material characters in the soil slowly diminish. The size of the soil is the primary determination for the soil texture and structure.

Organic Activity: The microscopic plants and animals live in the soil contribute to the organic activity. The leaves, bark, branches, flowers and root networks contribute nutrients and the organic composition to the soil through litter and the remains of dead plants.

The organisms such as earthworms, nematodes, termites, wood lice, and burrowing rodents stir up the soil and helps in the mix up of the components from the lower levels with the organic components from the top level.

Climate: Temperature of the soil influences the decomposition of the organic matter. High temperatures favor the fast decay of organic debris or humus. Hence, there is rich growth of plants. Moving towards poles due to less temperature, the microbial activity is minimum resulting in the accumulation of debris or humus and limited plant growth...

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