Collect and Study Soil from at Least Two Different Sites

What is Soil?

Soils are a complex combination of organic matter, gasses, minerals, organisms, and liquids, that altogether support our life. Earth's body of soil is called the pedosphere, which has four important functions. It is a medium for plant growth, it stores water, supplies, and purifies, it is a modifier of the earth's atmosphere, it is a habitat for organisms. Soil is one of the principal substrata of life on earth, which is a participant in the cycling of carbon and other elements through the global ecosystem. To study the texture of soil samples and a few more go through the experiment below.


Soils are a complex combination of various organic matter, gasses, minerals, organisms, and liquids, all of which support our life. The Earth's body of soil is known as the pedosphere, which has four important functions:


Soil is used for the growth of plants. Soil helps to store water. Soil is said to be the modifier of the earth's atmosphere and also is a habitat for organisms.


To study soil samples from two different sites and in order to analyze their properties like the texture, moisture content, water-retaining capacity, and pH of the soil, the soil collected from the roadside is to be used. Apart from the soil samples, the following materials and apparatus are also needed:

  1. Tile. 

  2. Beaker. 

  3. Funnel. 

  4. Burner. 

  5. Dropper.

  6. Crucibles. 

  7. Petri dish. 

  8. Glass rods.

  9. Test tubes.

  10. Wire gauze. 

  11. Filter Paper.

  12. Distilled water.

  13. Mortar and Pestle. 

  14. pH paper booklet. 

  15. Measuring cylinder. 

  16. Universal pH indicator solution.

  17. Tin Box with a perforated bottom. 

  18. Weighing scale or Electronic balance.


An Experiment to Study the Texture of Soil Samples

Aim:

To study the texture of soil samples,

To study the moisture content of the soil samples,

To study the capacity of holding water of soil samples,

To study the pH of the soil samples.


Apparatus Required:

Roadside and garden soil to be used. Other materials apart from the samples are:

  1. Dropper

  2. Beaker

  3. Tile

  4. Measuring cylinder

  5. Filter paper

  6. pH paper booklet

  7. Test tubes

  8. Distilled water

  9. Funnel

  10. Universal pH indicator solution

  11. Wire gauze

  12. Burner

  13. Crucibles

  14. Weighing scale

  15. Mortar and pestle

  16. Petri dish

  17. Glass rods

  18. Tin box with perforated bottom


Procedure:

The steps to analyze various properties:


To Study the Texture of Soil Samples,

  • Collect 50 gm of soil in a cylinder.

  • Pour a little water into the cylinder and shake.

  • Wait for the particles to settle down.

  • The particles in the measuring cylinder will start settling down in layers. Record the thickness of these layers.


To Study the Moisture Content of the Soil Samples,

  • Put the two samples of soil in different crucibles.

  • Weight the samples using a weighing balance.

  • Place the crucibles over the Bunsen burner and heat it until it becomes dry.

  • Weight the crucibles and record the weight of the dry soil samples.

  • The samples are now ready to be used to determine the moisture content of the soil.


To Study the Holding Capacity of Water of Soil Samples,

  • Take a soil sample in a mortar.

  • Grind it into a fine powder.

  • Place a filter paper at the bottom of the box.

  • Weigh the entire contents of the tin box and add the powdered soil into the box.

  • Use the glass rod to press and tap the box so that the soil is uniformly layered.

  • Measure and record the weight of the tin box.

  • Take two glass rods placing them parallel to each other. Ensure that the distance between the two is not significant.

  • Position the tin on the two glass rods such that the bottom is in contact with the water.

  • This setup should be left undisturbed until the water seeps through the upper surface of the soil.

  • Remove the tin and allow all the water to flow out from the bottom.

  • Wait until no more water percolates from the tin. Then, wipe the bottom dry and note down the weight using the weighing machine.


To Study the pH of the Soil Samples,

  • Take the roadside soil and put it into a beaker containing water. Repeat the steps for the garden soil sample as well.

  • Take a test tube and pour the soil solutions separately through filter papers using a funnel.

  • The collected filtrates in the test tube are ready for pH testing.

  • Put a few drops of universal indicator solution using a dropper in the test tube.

  • Finally, observe the changes.


Observation:

  • To Study the Moisture Content of the Soil Samples: The sample where the initial and final weight is the larger indicated higher moisture content and if lower indicates the lower moisture.

  • To Study the pH of the Soil Samples: The color changes are trackable using the pH color chart. Roadside soil has a pH level of 7 while garden soil has a pH level of 6. Maximum crops grow between pH levels of 6.0 and 7.0.


Solved Examples

Question: What are the layers of soil?

Answer: The layers of soil are topsoil, subsoil, and parent rock.


Fun Facts

  1. It contains more organisms in one tablespoon of soil than there are people on earth.

  2. Even to form an inch of topsoil it may take nearly 500 years.

  3. 0.01 percent of the water on earth is held in the soil.

  4. Soil lies at the bottom of the food chain. Still, it is the cornerstone of life on the earth.

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FAQs on Collect and Study Soil from at Least Two Different Sites

1. What are the different types of Soil?

  • Sandy Soil- A type of soil that has a high percentage of sand, and large soil particles. 

  • Silt Soil- A light and moisture-retentive type of soil which has a high fertility rating.

  • Clay Soil- A heavy type of soil that benefits from high nutrients.

  • Loamy Soil- A mixture of soil which is the ideal plant-growing medium Peaty soil – a type of soil that is made up of waterlogged and partially-decomposed plant material.

  • Chalky Soil- A soil that could be light or heavy but is mostly made up of calcium carbonate and this kind of soil is very alkaline.

2. What is the importance of soil?

Soils are the basis of life for a large number of plants and animals. Apart from the importance of biodiversity, soils are known to be essential for most agricultural plants to grow. Soil degradation is known to reduce agricultural yields and threaten farmers' livelihoods. To ensure a steady supply of food, we need healthy soil.

3. What is the observation when you study the pH of soil samples?

The Observation after studying the pH of the soil, we see that: 

The universal pH indicator, when added to the test tube containing the soil solution, we see the color of the solution change, and these changes in the color can be tracked using the pH color chart. The soil collected from the Roadside has a pH level of 7and the soil collected from the garden has a pH level of 6. Most of the crops are known to grow between pH levels of 6.0 and 7.0.

4. What are the steps required To study the Moisture Content of Soil Samples?

  • Collect two different soil samples into two different containers.

  • Weigh the soil samples using a weighing balance.

  • Note the reading.

  • Place the two containers over the bunsen burner and heat it until it becomes dry.

  • Weigh the soil samples again and record the weight of the dry soil samples.

  • The samples are now ready to be used in order to determine the moisture content of the soil.

  • Calculate the two different readings to get the moisture content of soil samples.

5. Where can I get Study Materials on Soils?

In Biology, the study of soil is an important topic and it is necessary to be able to practice some of the important questions to be able to do well. The online portal, Vedantu.com offers important questions along with answers and other very helpful study material on Soil which have been formulated in a well-structured, well-researched, and easy to understand manner. These study materials and solutions are all important and are very easily accessible from Vedantu.com and can be downloaded for free.


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