Soil composition

The soil consists of a mixture of solid particles, water and air. Solid particles can be inorganic or organic. The inorganic parts are mainly minerals: silicates, oxides and hydroxides of iron, aluminium, manganese, etc. that, according to their dimension, are classified in skeleton and fine earth, which are then divided into sand, slime and clay. These derive from the alteration of rocks into smaller and incoherent material, which accumulates to form superficial deposits. The deposit of incoherent material can occur in the same place as the rock was disintegrated.
The degradation processes of vegetal residues (leaves, fruits, dry branches or whole plants) and dead animals lead to the creation of organic fractions of the soil. Organic compounds can keep unaltered for long periods (non-humic compounds) or be subject to deep and fast changes in their original chemical structure (humic compounds or humus).
Water and air occupy the free spaces between solid particles (pores), and form a thick and extended network that allows water to move in the ground.

Special reports

  • 13 May 2013

    Small steps, great footprints

    Have you ever wondered how much space is taken up by an apple or a steak?...

    3 December 2006

    Sustainable agriculture

    Agriculture is man’s main activity, it enables the production of food...

    10 May 2008

    Bioindicators

    Ecologic research is more and more oriented towards an...

  • 10 March 2006

    Environment biotech

    Biotechnology can be defined as the application of microbiology...

    10 January 2007

    Man and the mountain

    The antique populations that used to live at the bottom of the mountains...

    7 January 2010

    Alps and Appennines

    The term orogeny was born from the Greek words...

  • 18 May 2009

    Sauropods

    40 meters long and 17 high, huge...

    10 November 2011

    Landslides

    When studying landslide phenomena, it is opportune to distinguish...

    30 April 2019

    Urban woods

    When walking along a tree-lined avenue in a crowded and traffic-congested city, wrapped up in our daily commitments, we do…

  • 13 May 2013

    Small steps, great footprints

    Have you ever wondered how much space is taken up by an apple or a steak?...

    3 December 2006

    Sustainable agriculture

    Agriculture is man’s main activity, it enables the production of food...

  • 10 May 2008

    Bioindicators

    Ecologic research is more and more oriented towards an...

    10 March 2006

    Environment biotech

    Biotechnology can be defined as the application of microbiology...

  • 10 January 2007

    Man and the mountain

    The antique populations that used to live at the bottom of the mountains...

    7 January 2010

    Alps and Appennines

    The term orogeny was born from the Greek words...

From the Multimedia section

Facts