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Soil Science Society of America
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Contact: Susan V. Fisk, Public Relations Director, 608-273-8091, sfisk@sciencesocieties.org

When does rock become soil?

ClORPT spells recipe for soil formation

Aug. 15, 2017 –  Nature’s way of forming soil takes a great deal of patience. The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) August 15 Soils Matter blog post explains the complex process of soils forming and maturing.

Lichen breaking down rock to soil“Rock starts becoming soil the moment it is exposed to the environment,” says soil scientist Barbara-Ann G. Lewis. “But it’s a long transformation process from exposed rock to a mature soil. Depending on the nature of the rock and other factors in its surroundings, that time period can range between tens to tens of thousands of years!”

Soil scientists look at five major factors in the soil-forming process. These are climate (Cl), organisms (O), relief (R) or topography and drainage of the land, the rock or other parent (P) material that will become the soil, and how much time (T) has gone by.  These can be combined into a “recipe” for soil known as ClORPT.

“The processes of weathering and soil formation go on, not only on the surface, but also below the surface within the soil itself,” Lewis comments. “Human survival depends on it.”

To read the entire blog post, visit https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/when-does-rock-become-soil/.

Follow SSSA on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSSA.soils, Twitter at SSSA_Soils. SSSA has soils information on www.soils.org/discover-soils, for teachers at www.soils4teachers.org, and for students through 12th grade, www.soils4kids.org.

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive, international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. It provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.

SSSA supports its members by providing quality research-based publications, educational programs, certifications, and science policy initiatives via a Washington, DC, office. Founded in 1936, SSSA proudly celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2011. For more information, visit www.soils.org or follow @SSSA_soils on Twitter.