Types of soil (soil profiles)

Types of soil (soil profiles)

This animation demonstrates different types of soil.

Geography

Keywords

soil types, soil section, soil, rocky soils, hygroscopic soils, zonal soils, meadow soil, marshy soil, Saline soil profile, Sandy soil, skeletal soil, alluvial soil, Field soil, forest soil, Rust-brown soil, acidic soil, rendzina, fertility, soil particle, humus, soil formation, rock, pedosphere, Earth's crust, nutrient, soil-dwelling, fragmentation, vegetation, weathering, ecosystem, nature, geography

Related items

Questions

  • Which of the following is a chemical property of soil?
  • What material accumulates in the subsoil?
  • Which of the following consists of rock detritus, minerals, organic matter, water, and air?
  • Which horizon is dark in colour because of its humus content?
  • Which of the following can be used to describe the structure of the soil?
  • Which of the following is an organic material in the soil?
  • Is it true that the structure of a good soil is solid?
  • Is it true that a good soil contains lime?
  • Is it true that soil is the uppermost layer of the Earth's crust?
  • Which of the following is NOT a constituent of soil?
  • Which of the following letters do not indicate a soil horizon?
  • Which of the following is NOT converted into humus?
  • Which of the following does NOT influence soil formation?

Scenes

Soil profile (soil horizons)

  • 10 cm
  • O – Organic matter - Layer of accumulating organic matter.
  • A – Surface soil - The layer with the highest humus content, which mixes with minerals. Readily soluble mineral salts are leached out of this layer due to precipitation and transported to lower layers, thus reducing the fertility of this layer.
  • B – Subsoil - The humus content gradually decreases in this layer. In areas with a lot of precipitation, materials leached out of the upper layers (organic matter, clay, iron, aluminium) accumulate here.
  • C – Substratum - Unconsolidated rock formed as the bedrock weathers.
  • R – Bedrock - Hard, consolidated rock.

Soil is the uppermost, loose, fertile layer of the Earth's crust. It stores water and provides nutrients to plants. Parent material, climate, topography (relief), as well as flora and fauna all play a role in soil formation. Soil only forms in areas where the crust is in contact with water and the atmosphere. These exert their soil-forming effect together with the living organisms.

Soil consists of soil particles as well as water and air that fills the spaces (pores) between these particles. The physical properties of soil include its structure, porosity, moisture content, temperature, and texture.

The chemical properties of soil include soil pH. It can be acidic, neutral or alkaline. High-quality soil is crumbly, rich in humus, contains an appropriate amount of calcium, has good heat and water transfer properties, and can provide air to soil-dwelling organisms.

To examine the structure of the soil, a soil profile is created. It is a vertical section of the soil containing all of the horizons from the soil surface to the bedrock. Soil horizons are horizontal layers between the soil surface and the bedrock that formed as a result of soil forming processes.

Definitions:

Bedrock: The lowest, consolidated layer of rock from which the soil forms by physical and chemical weathering.

Humus: A dark mixture of organic compounds composed of large molecules. It plays an essential role in the nutrition of plants.
Humus is formed from dead plant and animal matter in the soil, where it is broken down by bacteria and fungi. The organic compounds produced during the chemical processes can be taken up by plants. A significant amount of the nitrogen and phosphorous necessary for plants is obtained from humus. Humus-rich soils are dark in colour.

Leaching: The transport of easily water-soluble salts in the soil to lower layers. This process plays a role in soil formation in areas where the annual precipitation is greater than the rate of evaporation. (Humus consists of slightly soluble compounds, so it is not prone to leaching.)

Illuviation: Accumulation of dissolved materials in one soil horizon.

Major soil groups

  • 10 cm
  • O – Organic matter - Layer of accumulating organic matter.
  • A – Surface soil - The layer with the highest humus content, which mixes with minerals. Readily soluble mineral salts are leached out of this layer due to precipitation and transported to lower layers, thus reducing the fertility of this layer.
  • B – Subsoil - The humus content gradually decreases in this layer. In areas with a lot of precipitation, materials leached out of the upper layers (organic matter, clay, iron, aluminium) accumulate here.
  • C – Substratum - Unconsolidated rock formed as the bedrock weathers.
  • R – Bedrock - Hard, consolidated rock.
  • Layer of accumulated organic matter
  • Frigid zone and cold temperate zone soil types
  • Temperate zone soil types
  • Warm temperate and torrid zone soil types
  • Hydrologic soil groups
  • Cryosol
  • Podzol
  • Chernozem
  • Phaeozem
  • Kastanozem
  • Ramann brown forest soil (Cambisol)
  • Clayey brown earth (Luvisol)
  • Podzolic brown earth (Albeluvisol)
  • Acrisol
  • Alisol
  • Lixisol
  • Ferralsol
  • Calcisol
  • Histosol
  • Gleysol
  • Vertisol
  • Solonchak
  • Solonetz

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) prepared a soil classification system and a corresponding soil map to provide information on soils covering the Earth’s surface.

This classification system was designed to map soils at a global scale based on soil properties and factors of soil formation. The current FAO soil classification system contains 28 major soil groups.

Frigid zone and cold temperate zone soil types

  • 10 cm
  • O – Organic matter - Layer of accumulating organic matter.
  • A – Surface soil - The layer with the highest humus content, which mixes with minerals. Readily soluble mineral salts are leached out of this layer due to precipitation and transported to lower layers, thus reducing the fertility of this layer.
  • B – Subsoil - The humus content gradually decreases in this layer. In areas with a lot of precipitation, materials leached out of the upper layers (organic matter, clay, iron, aluminium) accumulate here.
  • C – Substratum - Unconsolidated rock formed as the bedrock weathers.
  • R – Bedrock - Hard, consolidated rock.
  • Cryosol
  • Podzol

Temperate zone soil types

  • 10 cm
  • O – Organic matter - Layer of accumulating organic matter.
  • A – Surface soil - The layer with the highest humus content, which mixes with minerals. Readily soluble mineral salts are leached out of this layer due to precipitation and transported to lower layers, thus reducing the fertility of this layer.
  • B – Subsoil - The humus content gradually decreases in this layer. In areas with a lot of precipitation, materials leached out of the upper layers (organic matter, clay, iron, aluminium) accumulate here.
  • C – Substratum - Unconsolidated rock formed as the bedrock weathers.
  • R – Bedrock - Hard, consolidated rock.
  • Chernozem
  • Phaeozem
  • Kastanozem
  • Ramann brown forest soil (Cambisol)
  • Clayey brown earth (Luvisol)
  • Podzolic brown earth (Albeluvisol)

Warm temperate and torrid zone soil types

  • 10 cm
  • A – Surface soil - The layer with the highest humus content, which mixes with minerals. Readily soluble mineral salts are leached out of this layer due to precipitation and transported to lower layers, thus reducing the fertility of this layer.
  • B – Subsoil - The humus content gradually decreases in this layer. In areas with a lot of precipitation, materials leached out of the upper layers (organic matter, clay, iron, aluminium) accumulate here.
  • C – Substratum - Unconsolidated rock formed as the bedrock weathers.
  • R – Bedrock - Hard, consolidated rock.
  • Acrisol
  • Alisol
  • Lixisol
  • Ferralsol
  • Calcisol

Hydric soils

  • 10 cm
  • A – Surface soil - The layer with the highest humus content, which mixes with minerals. Readily soluble mineral salts are leached out of this layer due to precipitation and transported to lower layers, thus reducing the fertility of this layer.
  • B – Subsoil - The humus content gradually decreases in this layer. In areas with a lot of precipitation, materials leached out of the upper layers (organic matter, clay, iron, aluminium) accumulate here.
  • C – Substratum - Unconsolidated rock formed as the bedrock weathers.
  • Layer of accumulated organic matter
  • Histosol
  • Gleysol
  • Vertisol
  • Solonchak
  • Solonetz

FAO soil classification

Related items

Soil types – Hungary (map)

This animation demonstrates the types of soil found in Hungary.

Soil pollution

This animation demonstrates the main sources of soil pollution.

Pollution

Pollution is the negative effect of human activity on the natural environment.

Scots pine

One of the most common tree of the pine family, native to Eurasia.

Structure of the Earth (intermediate)

The Earth is composed of several spherical layers.

Deforestation

Deforestation has a negative impact on the environment.

How does it work? - Combine harvester

Combine harvesters are machines that harvest and thresh grain crops.

Layers of forests

The layers of different types of forests may vary.

Nitrogen cycle

Atmospherical nitrogen is bound by bacteria and used by living organisms in the form of various compounds.

Farming techniques

Farming techniques evolved with the development of human civilisation in the Middle Ages and the Modern Age.

Horse chestnut

This animation demonstrates how horse chestnut trees change throughout the seasons

Topographic map of Hungary

This animation demonstrates the geographical regions of Hungary.

Added to your cart.