SOIL AND ITS COMPONENTS
Soil is everywhere. It is abundant throughout the earth and contains most of the worlds diversity. Soil is full of life. It is actually believed that a handful of soil may consist of more living organisms than there are on this Earth.
Soil is a natural body comprised of solids (minerals and organic matter), liquid, and gases that occurs on the land surface. (Natural Resources Conservation Service, 2013)
At first glance, soil may seem to be just another substance that lies on the ground beneath our feet. But by taking a closer look, soil appears to be more lively and complex with organisms including archaea, bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, algae, protozoa, and a wide variety of larger soil fauna, including springtails, mites, nematodes, earthworms, ants, insects that spend all or part of their life underground, and larger organisms such as burrowing rodents. All of these are important in making up the environment we call soil and in bringing about numerous transformations that are vitally important to life.
LAYERS OF SOIL
Soil is made up of distinct layers, called horizons. Each layer has its own characteristics that make it different from all of the other layers. These characteristics play a very important role in what the soil is used for and why it is important. The four horizons are the O horizon, the A horizon, the B horizon, and the C horizon. (4 Layers of Soil, 2013)
O HORIZON-This is the top layer of soil that is made up of living and decomposed materials like leaves, plants, and bugs. This layer is very thin and is usually pretty dark. (4 Layers of Soil, 2013)
A HORIZON- This is the layer that we call "topsoil" and it is located just below the O Horizon. This layer is made up of minerals and decomposed organic matter and it is also very dark in color. This is the layer that many plants roots grow in. (4 Layers of Soil, 2013)
B HORIZON- This is the layer