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Topsoil and Subsoil

O and A Horizon..Topsoil
Only a few meters deep; provides the richest amount of organic matter for germinating
seeds since plants and animals decay on the ground level. As decomposition occurs in the
topsoil, microorganisms, from bacteria to fungi, populate the soil to keep the decaying
process active.
E and B Horizon..Subsoil
Subsoil does not have high organic matter concentrations but offers rich minerals for root
systems. Minerals from the topsoil find their way down into the subsoil through water
runoff;
C Horizon..Regolith
R Horizon...Bedrock
Composition of Subsoil
Sand: Composed mostly of quartz, which is very resistant to chemical weathering
Silt: Composed mostly of small particles of quartz and feldspar
Clay: A variety of secondary alumino-silicate minerals, aluminum, iron and
manganese oxides and precipitate minerals like carbonates and sulfates

Abundance of Weathered Products in Soils Size:


Sand: 1 mm 50 m
Silt: 50 m 2 m
Clay: < 2 m

Sand Clay

Primary Silicate Minerals: Feldspar, Mica, Olivine, Pyroxene, etc.


Secondary Silicate Minerals: Various kinds of clay minerals
Other Secondary Minerals: Metal oxide and hydroxides
Soil Classification by Texture
Erosion
Erosion is defined as removal of rocks and soil by wind, water, ice and gravity. Wind,
water, ice and gravity are also known as the agents of erosion.

Weathering breaks rocks into smaller pieces and also converts it into secondary minerals
like clay and metal oxides/hydroxides. These material may be moved from their place of
origin by the agents of erosion.

Erosion by Water
Flowing water would break away chunks of rock weakened through weathering. Flowing
water will also scour (uplift) settled particles, provided the horizontal velocity of flow is
greater than scouring velocity of the particle to be uplifted.

s
Scouring Velocity (Vsc) of a spherical particle = v sc 4. g. .d

Such particles will travel with the water (advection) until the horizontal velocity of flow
becomes less than scouring velocity of the particle. Then the particle will settle down.
Thus the particles are transported from one place to another by water.

Small particles are easily waterborne and travel for long distances suspended in water.
Large particles travel for short distances before settling.
Erosion by WaterConsequences

Rill Erosion Gully Erosion A Ravine

A Canyon Riverbank Erosion Sheet Erosion


Erosion by Water.Formation of Valley

Erosion of Mountains Formation of a Valley

Initial V-Shaped Valley


Valley Progression
Functions of a River.Water and Sediment Transport
Sediment Transport Formation of a Plain

Indo-Gangetic Plain Rivers of India


The Lost River.Saraswati