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Soil: Glossary

A

agronomist
scientist who studies soil
atmosphere
the layers of gas surrounding the earth

B

bedrock
the layer of solid rock that underlies loose and broken material, such as soil, sand, clay, or gravel
beneficial
good

C

calcium
a mineral necessary for strong bones
carbon
an element that is the basis of most living organisms
carbon dioxide
a gas used by plants
cement
a mixture of limestone and water used to make mortar, concrete, grout and other bonding construction supplies
chemical
a compound or substance that has been purified or prepared, especially artificially
clay
a very fine soil that when mixed with water produces a sticky material that turns hard when fired - used for dishware
compound
two or more atoms joined together chemically
concrete
a mixture of cement, rock, water and sand used to make stone-like material for sidewalks and such
contaminant
a pollution or material that can harm life

D

decaying
the process of breaking down, decomposing
decomposing
to break matter down into its chemical elements
defined borders
obvious edges
displaced
moved from one location to another
dissolve
to break up or reduce into small parts - or melt away

E

ecosystem
a community of living organisms
elements
natural forces of nature: wind, water, temperature, etc
environment
the plants, animals and all other matter in an area
erosion
soil and rock that is moved by man or nature
evaporation
to break up or reduce into small parts - or melt away

F

fungi
the plural of fungus - mushrooms, mold, etc

G

garbanzo beans
also called chickpeas
geologic
having to do with the layout of the land; mountains, lakes, rivers
gradient
the strength of a material or color that changes slowly from the top to the bottom or from side to side; the colors in a rainbow are gradient

H

hummus
a food eaten with chips or crackers made from ground garbanzo beans
humus
top layer of soil made of decayed plants and animals

I

impacts
effects
impurities
pollution or matter that alters the purity of a substance
industry
collection of companies that create a common product or deliver a common service
iron
element known for its rusty color

L

lumber
wood from trees used in construction

M

magnesium
a mineral element necessary for health
methane
a gas created from digestion or decaying matter
microorganism
very small living organism - bacteria, virus, etc
mineral
a nonliving substance found in nature

N

natural resource
anything in nature that can be used
negative charge
electrical property of a substance
nonexistent
does not occur
nutrient
part of food that provides health

O

oxygen
gas in our atmosphere necessary for breathing

P

parent material
material in the soil layers that is the basis for future soil
positively charged
electrical property of a substance
production
something made or built
properties
characteristics of an object or matter - size, smell, color, etc
pummeling
hitting repeatedly

R

raw ingredients
the most basic materials used in creating something

S

silica
also known as silicon dioxide - sand or ground quartz
stalactite
deposit of calcium carbonate that hangs from the ceiling of a cave
stalagmite
deposit of calcium carbonate that piles up on the floor of a cave
subsoil
also called undersoil; layer made of rocks, minerals, sand, etc. - small amount of decayed matter

T

topsoil
top 6 inches (approx.) of soil - contains the most nutrients

W

weathered
worn or damaged by nature
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