Soil and its component: Types of Soil, Colour- Embibe
  • Written By Rumela_M
  • Last Modified 22-06-2022
  • Written By Rumela_M
  • Last Modified 22-06-2022

What Does the Soil Contain?

Soil is the material that covers most of the upper surface of the land. It is made up of both inorganic and organic matter. We celebrate the importance of the soil on December 5 every year as World Soil Day. Soil is a porous medium consisting of various materials we will read in the article. Soil is formed by Mechanical Weathering, Chemical Weathering, and Biological Weathering.

Components of Soil

Soil is composed of numerous components which are as follows:

  • Minerals 
  • Organic matter
  • Water 
  • Soil Atmosphere
  • Soil Microorganisms

Let us learn about each of these components:

  • Minerals – Soil consists of minerals such as Carbon, Calcium, Manganese, Nitrogen, Sulphur, Potassium and Phosphorus. Minerals contribute more than 45% of the soil volume. Soil contains both primary and secondary minerals. Minerals such as Manganese, Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus are essential minerals that contribute to the healthy growth of plants. 
  • Organic matter – When plants and animals die and decay, the decomposition results in organic matter called humus. Humus enriches the Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Sulphur content in the soil. 
  • Water – Water is both a solvent as well as a carrier for plant nutrients. Water is required to conduct the metabolic processes in microorganisms.
  • Soil Microorganisms – Microorganisms such as fungi, algae, bacteria, protozoa, arthropods, nematodes and worms are found in the soil. 
  • Soil Atmosphere – Half of the soil volume has pores filled with air or water. Soil contains more carbon dioxide than air because soil microorganisms breathe in the soil.  

Other than the above mentioned, sand, silt and clay are some of the inorganic components that make up the  texture of the soil. 

Types of Soil 

Soil can be of the following types:

  • Clay Soil
  • Sandy soil
  • Loamy Soil
  • Silt Soil

Sandy soil does not have any structure or have very little. They often drain freely. If a soil type has higher content of clay, the strength of the soil structure increases but its drainage ability decreases. Heavy clay is able to hold large quantities of water and the infiltration rates in them is slow. On the other hand, Sandy soil and Loamy soil have minimal to no clay content in them.

Soil Colour

Colour is a parameter that differentiates one type of soil from another. Colour can indicate the drainage quality of the soil, how much of organic matter is contained in the soil, the parent material from which the soil is made, and the amount of weathering that has taken place in the soil. If a soil is dark in colour (for example, if a soil is black in colour), it indicates that it is highly fertile. If it has a lighter shade (for example, white sand), it means that the soil is not very fertile. The different colours of the soils along with what they indicate, has been given in the table below:

Colour of the SoilIndication
RedThe soil is high in iron content
It drains freely
The soil may not have adequate. Phosphorus content for the plants
BlackThe soil is high in humus
YellowThe soil indicates:
moist conditions
restrictive draining
less weathering
Dark BrownThe soil is high in organic matter content
Blue or Green or GreyThis indicates waterlogging and Poor drainage facility in the soil

Importance of Soil

Soil is very important for our ecosystem. Let us find out how soil contributes to our ecosystem:

  • Soil is the very foundation that accounts for the growth of plants.
  • Soil acts as a modifier or the Earth’s atmosphere
  • Soil is one of the most crucial components of our biosphere
  • It provides shelter to microorganisms such as bacteria, and fungi. It is also the home to several insects, bigger animals and multiple organisms. For instance, rodents, and rabbits burrow holes in the soil for their food and shelter. 
  • Soil recycles raw materials and filters water
  • Soil acts as the foundation on which we build our houses, buildings, roads, and bridges. It is also used for making various elements.  

We hope that this information on Soil And Its Components has helped you. If you have any queries, then you can visit our website and write to us with your queries. We will assist you in the best way possible.

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