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Name: Melissa
Status: Student
Grade: 6-8
Location: GA
Country: United States
Date: Fall 2009


Question:
What is Subsoil? What is in subsoil?



Replies:
Melissa,

Soils are characterized through analysis of a soil pedon; a soil pedon is a three-dimensional soil body that is 1 x 1 x 1.5 (deep) meters. Soils develop distinct layers at varying depths. These layers, in a vertical section, define the soil profile. We use the soil profile to determine the type of soil.

There are numerous types of soils, each with characteristic layers, called: soil horizons. There are many soil horizons, but we commonly refer to the Master Horizons, known as the O, A, E, B, C, and R horizons.

The B-Horizon is also known as the subsoil. This horizon, if developed within the pedon under study, is a zone of accumulation of material from above. We commonly find an accumulation of silicate clays, Fe, Al, carbonate, gypsum or Si that was precipitated or translocated. The B-Horizon is commonly yellowish to red in color with little or no organic material. Air and water are present along with highly weathered parent material. It may take 1,000 to 10,000 years to develop a B-Horizon.

Soils are amazing ecosystems. Without life there would be no soil, and without soil, there would be no life. Well, the only life that would exist would be chemotrophic organisms found along mid-ocean spreading ridges! Even more amazing is that the world’s soils are disappearing faster than they are being created. Do you think that we can use hydroponics to feed the world’s people?

Leslie Kanat



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