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Topographic Factors In Soil Formation

Topography Effects Soil Development

The up and down changes in hills and mountains of a particular location is referred to by scientists as topography. Topography has an important influence in how soils form.

The first topographic factor is steepness of hill and mountain slopes. All soils around the Earth are slowly getting deeper and deeper, as lower levels of dirt are being turned into soil. At the same time, wind and water carry the surface soil away through erosion.

In areas which are flat, the soil typically tends to get deeper quicker than the surface erodes away. On steep slopes, erosion usually takes place quicker than the formation of new soil beneath.

The result is that flat locations typically have a deeper, more mature soil layer than do locations with a steep slope.

The second topographic factor affecting soil formation is drainage, or in other words, how well the soil is able to get rid of extra water via draining it. Most locations have excellent drainage, but some locations do not. Some locations become water logged. This water blocks oxygen, which is important to soil formation. Thus in these locations soil formation can become seriously hindered.

Water Drainage Effects Soil Development