Mineral Ridge Scenic Area and Recreation Trail

Station 2: Soils

Soils are weathered rock fragments combined with decaying plant and animal remains. Wind-blown loess and volcanic ash can also form part of the soil. Soil furnishes support, food, water and air for growing plants. In return, the soil is held in place and protected from erosion by plant roots. When the plants die, minerals are returned to the soil by bacterial decay and decomposition. As organic matter decomposes, carbon dioxide is released, which combines with water to form a weak acid solution. This acid reacts chemically with some of the soil minerals to further break down rock and soil particles. Decomposition is a basic forest process that will be discussed more as you continue 
your hike.Soil Profile

Soil Profile

a decomposition layer of plant/animal material

2) TOPSOIL: contains more organic matter than subsoils andappears darker in color; coarse texture; larger pore spaces allow for more water absorption, so plant roots concentrate here

3) SUBSOIL: lighter in color than topsoil layer; finer textured;lacks organic matter

4) PARENT MATERIAL: composed of fractured rock;lacks organic matter