Question: Briefly describe soil formation in a naturalsetting?
passage for the question: Soils form through agroup of processes no matter where they are located or what theyare used for. All soils form because of four processes operatingalong with five basic soil-forming factors. The four processes thatoperate on soil material are additions, transformations,translocations, and losses (figure 2.5). We are able to map,classify, and interpret soil because a given set of environmentalfactors produces a predictable kind of soil. The soil-formingfactors are parent material, climate, living and dead organisms,time, and landscape position. When all soil-forming factors aresimilar, a similar soil is produced. If we change one or more ofthe soil-forming factors significantly, then a different soil isproduced. Additions to soil generally include organic matter,fertilizer, pollutants, and deposits of soil material. All of theadditions change a soil and how it functions. In urban areas newsoil material is sometimes added on top of an existing soil. Ifthick enough, the new layer or layers can change the way the soildevelops. When a layer of concrete or asphalt is added to the topof a soil in areas where streets, parking lots, or driveways arebuilt, additions to the soil are suddenly altered, restricted, oreven stopped. Transformations are changes that take place within asoil. In figure 2.5, transformations are illustrated by the lettersx and y and the arrows that connect them. During transformationprocesses, material does not leave the soil but is simply changedfrom one form to another or from one compound to another.Microorganisms and earthworms play an important role in soiltransformations. Earthworms eat soil and plant materials andtransform them into organic material that provides food for plantsand other organisms. Chemical weathering changes parent material,such as rocks and sand grains, and creates new minerals and/orsmaller particles. Rocks are transformed into sand grains, and sandgrains are transformed into silt and clay particles over time. Asiron particles change form, they change soil colors from gray tobrown or to red and yellow. Applying too much fertilizer of certainkinds can transform a soil into one that is too acidic for plantsto grow. Translocations are movements of soil components from oneplace to another in the soil. Translocations can move materialsfrom one soil layer to another and can even move the materialscompletely out of a soil. Water moves through a soil profile andcarries clay particles, soluble salts, organic matter, and chemicalcompounds downward into the soil. Translocations can also be upwardor horizontal. As soil dries and water evaporates from the soilsurface, minerals and salts may move back toward the soil surface.In dry areas translocations are restricted because there is lesswater to carry compounds and materials deep into the soil.Compounds and minerals can move only as deep as water moves into asoil. Concentrations of soluble material generally are closer tothe surface in dry areas than in other areas. Windthrow and theactivity of animals (i.e., ants, termites, groundhogs, and worms)also can move soil components upward. Losses occur when water movesmaterial through and out of a soil profile. If enough water isavailable, soluble materials, such as sodium and calcium, areremoved early in the process of soil formation. Lawn and gardenfertilizers are relatively soluble and may be removed from a soilwhen too much water is applied. Ground-water pollution can occur iftoo much water is added to a soil that contains contaminates.Erosion by wind or water removes the soil particles and compoundsneeded for plant growth. Topsoil removed through water erosion in agiven area can improve the soil in the area where the sediments aredeposited.