NCERT Notes for Class 8 | NCERT Quiz | NCERT Standard 8 - Science

Chapter 9. Soil

Weathering :  soil is formed by the breaking down of rocks by the action of wind, water and climate. This process is called weathering. The nature of any soil depends upon the rocks from which it has been formed and the type of vegetation that grows in it.

Classification of soils : The soil is classified on the basis ofthe proportion of particles of various sizes. If soil contains greater proportion of big particles it is called  sandy soil. If the proportion of fine particles is relatively higher, then it is called clayey soil. If the amount of large and fine particles is about the same, then the soil is called loamy. Thus,  the soil can be classified as sandy, clayey and loamy.
The sizes of the particles in a soil have a very important influence on its properties. Sand particles are quite large. They cannot fit closely together, so there are large spaces between them. These spaces are filled with air. We say that the sand is well aerated. Water can drain quickly through the spaces between the sand particles. So, sandy soils tend to be light, well aerated and rather dry. Clay particles, being much smaller, pack tightly together, leaving little space for air. Unlike sandy soil, water can be held in the tiny gaps between the particles of clay. So clay soils have little air. But they are heavy as they hold more water than the sandy soils.

Loamy soil is most suitable for plants : The best topsoil for growing plants is loam. Loamy soil is a mixture of sand, clay and another type of soil particle known as silt. Silt occurs as a deposit in river beds. The size of the silt particles is between those of sand and clay. The loamy soil also has humus in it. It has the right water holding capacity for the growth of plants. Different types of soils are used to cultivate different types of crops. Clay and loam are suitable for growing wheat, gram and paddy. Cotton is grown in sandy loam soil. Rivers of north India, which flow from Himalayas, bring a variety of materials including silt, clay, sand and gravel. They deposit their materials called alluvial soil, in the planes of north India. This soil is very fertile and supports nearby half the population of India.