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Soil Characteristics Background

Soil consists of the weathered, unconsolidated material on top of bedrock that contains organic material. Although these characteristics of soil seem rather invaluable, soil is necessary to support life, thereby making it very important to human survival.

Soil has three main textures: clay, sand, and silt, all of which can be determined through their porosity or permeability. Porosity is the measure of space between soil particles. If spaces are completely compacted, no water and air can be store and there would be zero porosity. Permeability, on the other hand, is water and air’s ability to move through the soil. Larger sized particles means more permeability and fast movement. Finding out the texture of soil is important in that it determines what vegetation can grow in an area. Testing soil for nutrients is a routine part of preparing soil for growth. The major macronutrients contained in soil are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. -Ph is important because it affects the availability of plant food. Also, lower Ph levels allow harmful metals to become more soluble, reaching toxic levels to plants. -Phosphorus is essential for normal seed development and root formation. -Nitrogen is a major component of essential compounds such as amino acids, nucleic acids, enzymes, chlorophyll, and many vitamins. -Potassium encourages hardy growth of plants and cell activity. These features are the basic characteristics of soil.

Soil Texture
Soil Sample A| Sand|
Soil Sample B| Sandy clay loam|
Soil Sample C| sandy loam|

Soil Density
Sample| Weight (g)| Volume (ml)| Density (g/ml)|
A| 15g| 10 ml| 1.5 g/ml|
B| 15g| 15 ml| 1 g/ml|
C| 15g| 16 ml| .94 g/ml|

Soil Permeability

Sample| Time to begin drip| Time to end drip| Rate of water movement| A| 10 s| 112 s| .098 ml/s|
B| 1072 s| 1663 s| .034 ml/s|
C| 1 s| 70 s| .43 ml/s|...
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