Soil Pit Illustration soilpit_structure
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It takes a really long time to form topsoil, so we need to protect and conserve soil.  A rule of thumb is that it takes a hundred years to form one inch of topsoil.  A thousand years! Remember, just as we need good soil today, so will people in the years to come! picture showing the soil erosion When the ground is left bare like this, soil could be blown away by the wind, or carried away by water.  This is called erosion, and we need to prevent it from happening. A lot of soil erosion happened in the 1930ísóso much soil was blowing around in the air that it became known as the Dust Bowl.  


Do you see how the top layer almost looks like a crust on top of the soil profile?  That is because this soil has been plowed, and the structure of the soil has been destroyed.  this picture shows the destroyed structure of the soil because of ploughing


Letís look below the plow layer.  See how this horizon is all cracked?  It looks like a whole bunch of blocks stacked together.  Letís remove some of these blocks and take a closer look at them. structure with cracks


Here are some more of those blocks.  They still hold together when you pull them out of the profile.  Soil structure is the arrangement of smaller soil particles to form larger pieces, such as these blocks.  It is important to have good soil structure.  Remember how the A horizon had a thick crust on top of it?  blocks of soil structure showing the bad structure  That is a bad thing, because soils need cracks and holes, or pores.  Why does soil need pores?  Because the pores are where water is stored, and without soil structure and pores, water has a hard time getting down into the soil profile and to plant roots.


the picture showing the tracks of worm A worm has been through here.  How do I know?  You can see the tracks (look at the tip of the pencil)!  The soil is home for many animals and microorganisms.  Can you think of some other animals that live in the soil? 

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