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Name: Anonymous
Status: Student
Age: 16
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: January 6, 2004


Question:
Do different soils such a sandy soil etc. affect the different acidity levels in the soils? For example if you have sandy soil will the acidity level be higher then if you have a different type of soil?



Replies:
The acidity of the soil is a function of the soil type and the acidifying and neutralizing inputs from precipitation and dry air pollution.

Soil is composed of inorganic and organic components. Depending on the soil type, and therefore the amounts of organic and inorganic components that it is composed of, you can get a wide range of natural acidity (or alkalinity) of the soil. Being sandy may not influence the acidity much, as external influences may dominate.

Precipitation and the fallout of dry material (such as air pollution) from the atmosphere alters the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. In some areas of the United States, such as in New York and southern New England, the dry fallout of and scavenging of air pollution by precipitation severely increases the acidity of the soil above what would be natural. This has bad effects on plants and animals in the soil and on the aquatic systems, particularly lakes.

David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory


A lot of things affect soil pH. The presence of limestone (CaCO3) will buffer the soil. Organic matter can alter the pH depending upon what organic matter is decomposing. Sandy soils that transport a lot of water can also change the pH, depending upon what is in the rain (acid rain is real). It is very difficult to make any generalizations about soil pH that I am aware because there are so many conflicting variables.

Vince Calder



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