Soil An important factor influencing the productivity of our planet's various ecosystems is the nature of their soils. Soils are vital for the existence of many forms of life that have evolved on our planet. For example, soils provide vascular plants with a medium for growth and supply these organisms with most of their nutritional requirements. Figure 1: Most soils contain four basic components: mineral particles, water, air, and organic matter. Soil itself is very complex. Organic Activity A mass of mineral particles alone do not constitute a true soil. Humus is the biochemical substance that makes the upper layers of the soil become dark. It enhances a soil's ability to hold and store moisture. Organic activity is usually profuse in the near surface layers of a soil. Translocation When water moves downward into the soil, it causes both mechanical and chemical translocations of material. Soil Texture Clay is probably the most important type of mineral particle found in a soil. Soil pH
Alum (douple sulfate) Bulk alum Chemical properties Uses Industrial uses Alum has been used at least since Roman times for purification of drinking water and industrial process water. Cosmetic Alum in block form (usually potassium alum) can be used as a blood coagulant.Styptic pencils containing aluminium sulfate or potassium aluminium sulfate are used as astringents to prevent bleeding from small shaving cuts.Alum may be used in depilatory waxes used for the removal of body hair or applied to freshly waxed skin as a soothing agent.In the 1950s, men sporting crewcut or flattop hairstyles sometimes applied alum to their hair as an alternative to pomade. Culinary Flame retardant Solutions containing alum may be used to treat cloth, wood, and paper materials to increase their resistance to fire.Alum is also used in fire extinguishers to smother chemical and oil fires. Chemical flocculant Taxidermy Medicine Art History After M.H.
The secret to richer, carbon-capturing soil? Treat your microbes well Imagine if someone invented machines to suck carbon out of the atmosphere — machines that were absurdly cheap, autonomous, and solar powered, too. Wouldn’t that be great? But we already have these gadgets! The problem is, plants die. This has left people scratching their heads. Clive Kirkby was one of those government agents urging farmers to leave dead plant residues in their fields. As he was proselytizing, Kirkby began to bump heads with an agronomist named John Kirkegaard. This made Kirkby crazy. “I’ve been returning the stubble to the ground now for six years, and it’s just not going into the soil,” Kirkegaard told him. The way that soil locks up greenhouse gas has been frustratingly mysterious, but the basics are clear: After plants suck up the carbon, the critters (microbes and fungi and insects) swarming in the topsoil chew up plant molecules, subjecting them to one chemical reaction after another as they pass through a fantastically complex food web. “Humus!” This stopped me.
Soil Structure & Composition Sunday, 06 June 2010 07:35 The Plant Lady Living Matter Mostly in the top 4" of the soil. Good guys & bad guys...but large volume & diversity control the trouble makers by making it a competive environment for resources. 1 teaspoon of soil: 1 billion bacteria several yards of fungal hyphae several thousand protozoa few dozen nematodes Bacteria attracted by the root exudate (carbohydrates and proteins secreted from the plant roots). the numbers and kinds of bacteria that are attracted are controlled by the plant, depending on season and conditions most bacteria need carbon sources to live. bacteria use slime to stick to substrates and move around. this slime traps pathogens. this slime is also responsible for sticking soil particles together, giving soil its structure. vitmamins and antiobiotics are produced by some bacteria & fungi that help the plants bacteria also work in th ephyllosphere (leaf surface) Fungi fungal hyphae kill nematodes, which are after the plant roots Protozoa Nematodes earthworms
Ilmenite Crystal structure of ilmenite Ilmenite is a weakly magnetic titanium-iron oxide mineral which is iron-black or steel-gray. It is a crystalline iron titanium oxide (FeTiO 3). It crystallizes in the trigonal system. The ilmenite crystal structure is an ordered derivative of the corundum structure; in corundum all cations are identical but in ilmenite Fe2+ and Ti4+ ions occupy alternating layers perpendicular to the trigonal c axis. Distinguishing features Ilmenite is commonly recognized in altered igneous rocks by the presence of a white alteration product, the pseudo-mineral leucoxene. In reflected light it may be distinguished from magnetite by more pronounced reflection pleochroism and a brown-pink tinge. Ilmenite is weakly magnetic, with a weak response to a hand magnet. Mineral chemistry Ilmenite from Froland, Aust-Agder, Norway; 4.1 x 4.1 x 3.8 cm At higher temperatures it has been demonstrated there is a complete solid solution between ilmenite and hematite. Paragenesis
Soil and Health Library International Biochar Initiative | International Biochar Initiative Mineralogy Database - Mineral Collecting, Localities, Mineral Photos and Data How to Assess Soil Composition The health of garden plants depends on the soil's composition — the proper balance of mineral pieces, organic matter, air, and water. Knowing the type of soil you have can help you choose techniques to enhance its good qualities. The best garden soil should have proper balance of minerals, water, organic matter, and air. The relative amounts of clay, silt, and sand particles determine your soil texture: Clay particles are microscopic and flat. Determine the type of soil you have. For most plants, the ideal mixture is approximately 40 percent sand, 40 percent silt, and 20 percent clay. Clay soils are naturally fertile, but the individual particles are so small that they pack tightly, leaving little room for water and air. Unfortunately, except by trucking in huge amounts of soil, you have no way to change your soil's texture. Many factors affect soil structure, but the most important ones include the following:
What is Plate Tectonics? | Plate Tectonics From the deepest ocean trench to the tallest mountain, plate tectonics explains the features and movement of Earth's surface in the present and the past. Plate tectonics is the theory that Earth's outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle, the rocky inner layer above the core. The plates act like a hard and rigid shell compared to Earth's mantle. Developed from the 1950s through the 1970s, plate tectonics is the modern version of continental drift, a theory first proposed by scientist Alfred Wegener in 1912. "Before plate tectonics, people had to come up with explanations of the geologic features in their region that were unique to that particular region," Van der Elst said. The driving force behind plate tectonics is convection in the mantle. Mid-ocean ridges are gaps between tectonic plates that mantle the Earth like seams on a baseball. Many spectacular volcanoes are found along subduction zones, such as the "Ring of Fire" that surrounds the Pacific Ocean.
Biomineralization Glomerula piloseta (Sabellidae), longitudinal section of the tube, aragonitic spherulitic prismatic structure IUPAC definition Mineralization caused by cell-mediated phenomena.[a] Biomineralization is the process by which living organisms produce minerals, often to harden or stiffen existing tissues. In terms of taxonomic distribution, the most common biominerals are the phosphate and carbonate salts of calcium that are used in conjunction with organic polymers such as collagen and chitin to give structural support to bones and shells. The structures of these biocomposite materials are highly controlled from the nanometer to the macroscopic level, resulting in complex architectures that provide multifunctional properties. Biological roles Biominerals perform a variety of roles in organisms, the most important being support, defense and feeding. Biology Shell formation in molluscs Chemistry Evolution Astrobiology Potential applications 
8 Steps for Making Better Garden Soil Starting to build a new garden isn’t difficult. Most people begin by going out into their yards with a shovel or garden tiller, digging up the dirt and putting in a few plants. Following the organic and natural methods, add a little mulch or compost, and you’re well on your way to make good soil for your homegrown vegetables. But in the long run, the success of your garden depends on making healthy garden soil. In the last issue, I discussed the value of soil care methods that imitate natural soil communities. In this article, I’ll focus on specific ways to achieve these goals. Add Organic Matter For the best soil, sources of organic matter should be as diverse as possible. 1. You should apply manure with care. However, because some nutrients from manures are so readily available, they are more likely to leach out of the soil (where they’re needed) into groundwater and streams (where they’re pollutants). When thinking of manure, it’s worth considering our own. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.