Understanding That Soil Is Like Cake Could Lead to Tastier Pastures

I like cake. I really do. My kids like it, but they usually eat the cake and leave the layers of frosting behind. It’s all about the layers, though, whether you like cake or prefer frosting. Soil has layers, too, kind of like cake. If you dig a hole deep enough, you’ll see the layers, stacked in a profile.  The layers, called horizons, tell the story of the soil’s character. Each horizon has a name, or rather, really just a letter. O = organic matter, like thatch, or leaf litter A = top soil, rich in organic matter E = not always present, this layer that has had things like clays and oxides wash out of it, into the layer below. B = the layer of accumulation, sometimes it is where those clays and oxides accumulate, sometimes it just looks like another version of the layers below, C = close to the bottom of the soil profile, the C horizon is hardly weathered, so it usually looks a lot like the parent material, if the soil has formed from parent material below. R = regolith, the underlying rock. Sometimes not all of these horizons are there. The A horizon may have been washed away, or scraped off by an overzealous developer, like the frosting my kids don’t like to eat. The soil may be so young that it hasn’t had time

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