soil

  

Definition

Life-supporting upper surface of earth that is the basis of all agriculture. It contains minerals and gravel from the chemical and physical weathering of rocks, decaying organic matter (humus), microorganism, insects, nutrients, water, and air. Soils differ according to the climate, geological structure, and rainfall of the area and are constantly being formed and removed by natural, animal, and human activity. Study of soils is called pedology.

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