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Chapter 14: Using Earth's Soil

After completing this chapter you will understand:

  • Soil is a natural mixture of minerals, rock fragments, and organic material that makes up a porous layer on Earth’s land surface.  All Earth’s systems interact in soil.
  • Soils form from the physical, chemical, and biological weathering of rocks and minerals from the geosphere. 
  • Weathering processes typically produce soil layers called horizons, and soil horizons define the soil profile.
  • Soil is important because it sustains plants, cycles materials between Earth systems, provides a home for many living things, stores and clean water, and underlies human-built structures.
  • People affect soil in many ways through farming practices, building structures, and disposal of wastes, to name a few. 
  • Soil is a sustainable resource.  If people carefully manage their use of soils, its quality and quantity can be maintained for the future. 

Use the navigation on the left to explore this unit's chapter and investigations.

Investigation 14.1 Next Arrow