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Soil Facts

 
I put together some facts about soil for another purpose and thought they might interest others.
 
 
  • Soil is a living system.
  • Soil contains 0.01% of the Earth’s water.
  • Soil is 49% Oxygen, 33% Silicone, 7% Aluminum, 4% Iron, and 2% Carbon.
  • Fifty percent of soil is air and water. The rest is mineral and organic material.
  • In one gram of soil, the number of bacteria ranges from 100,000 to several billion.
  • There are 5000 to 7000 different species of bacteria in one gram of soil.
  • The total living matter in an acre of soil ranges from 5000 to 20,000 pounds.
  • Each year, 15 tons of dry soil per acre pass through earthworms. Earthworms eat soil to get the organic materials in it. The rest passes through them.
  • About 42 centuries ago, the Chinese used a soil map to determine taxation amounts.
  • Soil develops from geologic materials such as rocks, glacial deposits, granite, limestone, and stream sediments.
  • Soil influences the life spans of our roads and highways.
  • The stability of the foundations of our houses and buildings are determined in part by the soil they rest on.
  • Soil is much like the earth’s peel, similar to an orange peel.
  • Erosion of soil from our lands clogs rivers and dams and decreases the usefulness of soil for growing plants.
  • Soil is often at the bottom of the food chain. Plants and small invertebrates feed off of the soil and animals feed off of the plants.
  • Soil is used to adsorb wastes.
  • Over 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides worth 25 billion dollars are used each year, much of it ending up in the soil. That is over 4 pounds per person.
  • Cleaning up toxic chemicals in the soil and water has cost $20 billion over the past 15 years in the United States.
  • Cleaning up the rest of the toxic chemicals already in the environment would cost $500 to $2500 per person.
  • The United States has at least 36,000 hazardous waste sites present in our soils.
  • Soil supplies the water and nutrients necessary for plant growth.
  • Around one acre of land is use to supply the food for each person in the world.
  • An acre of corn gives off 4,000 gallons of water a day in evaporation.
  • Soil needs to provide 4,000 gallons of water to grow one bushel of corn and 11,000 gallons of water to grow one bushel of wheat.
  • Soil makes excellent mud pies.

Sydney Harper
1996

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