The Physical Environment

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Soil Systems



salinization_solodized_pr2_Agri_Food_Canada.jpg (16972 bytes)Figure 11.18 Accumulation of salts is easily seen in this salinized soil.
(Image source: Agriculture Agri-Food Canada. Used with permission)

Salinization occurs in warm and dry locations where soluble salts precipitate from water and accumulate in the soil. Saline soils are common in desert and steppe climates. Salt may also accumulate in soils from sea spray. The rapid evaporation of salt-rich irrigation water has devastated thousands of acres of land world-wide.


Gleizationcultivated_gleysol_on2_Agri-_Food_Canada_small.jpg (16457 bytes)

Figure 11.19 Cultivated gley soil in southern Canada
(Image source: Agriculture Agri-Food Canada. Used with permission)

Gleization occurs in regions of high rainfall and low-lying areas that may be naturally waterlogged. Bacterial activity is slowed in the constantly wet environment thus inhibiting the decomposition of dead vegetation allowing it to accumulate in thick layers. Peat is found in the upper portion of the soil. Decaying plant matter releases organic acids that react with iron in the soil. The iron is reduced rather than oxidized giving the soil a black to bluish - gray color.



Self Assessment

Which soil forming process is active in the Amazon Basin of Brazil?

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Assess your basic understanding of the preceding material by "Looking Back: Soil Profiles and Pedogenic Processes" or skip and continue reading.

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For Citation: Ritter, Michael E. The Physical Environment: an Introduction to Physical Geography.
2006. Date visited.  ../title_page.html

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