Order Soil Properties Assignment

Order Soil Properties Assignment
Overview Earth’s soil plays a major role in the world’s agriculture and has a substantial effect on water availability in a given area. In this inves- tigation, the student will analyze the natural porosity and particle size of soil samples along with the chemical composition and profile of different soil types.
Outcomes • Examine the properties of soil and their effects on agriculture
and water availability. • Describe and identify soil horizons based on their chemical and
physical composition. • Distinguish between the particle sizes of three different types of
soil: sand, silt, and clay. • Determine the porosity of different soil types. • Analyze soil samples for a variety of nutrients to determine soil
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Order Soil Properties Assignment
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Key Personal protective equipment (PPE)
goggles gloves apron follow link to video
photograph results and
stopwatch required
warning corrosion flammable toxic environment health hazard
Table of Contents
2 Overview 2 Outcomes 3 Time Requirements 3 Background 8 Materials 9 Safety 9 Preparation 10 Activity 1 11 Activity 2 12 Activity 3 12 Activity 4 13 Disposal and Cleanup 14 Observations
Background Soil Horizons and Chemical Composition The type of dirt that makes up the dry surfaces of the earth has numerous effects on humans and the environment, and vice versa. Humans can modify the suitability of some areas for agriculture based on prior land use. The properties of soil also determine water availability in a given area. Areas that contain the most suitable soil for farming are often limited.
Certain properties of soil determine whether an area is suitable for human activity. When consid- ering the properties of soil, texture, shape, particle aggregation, and suitability for growth come to mind. These properties all play a major role in determining the capability of an area to retain water and air, which are necessary for several agricultural processes that are vital to human life.
It is important to understand the profile and chemical composition of soil to understand how they affect agriculture and water availability. For instance, some farmlands have been plowed for hundreds of years yet the soil remains very
fertile. However, in other areas with a similar history, much of the soil has been adversely affected (over one-third of the soil in the United States is now deemed as destroyed). With years of continuously turning over the soil to cultivate crops, the damage accumulates and many areas are left vulnerable to erosion, weathering, and deterioration of nutrient and organic material. Why then is there such great disparity in the way certain soils flourish? It is because of the various layers, or horizons, of the soil.
Soils differ greatly depending on the proportion of each of these horizons (see Figure 1). If you were to dig a hole or to drive a corer (a special drill that uses a hollow steel tube to remove a cylindrical dirt sample) deep into the ground to extract a sample of soil, a visible color difference would be evident in the soil profile, or horizon composition. The colors of various horizons differ based on the organic content and mineral composition of each soil. Each horizon can also vary in texture, which is determined by the makeup of sand, silt, or clay.
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