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Weathering and Soil

Vocabulary words from the Changing Surfaces Unit

TermDefinition
Weathering The chemical and physical process that break down rocks and Earth’s surface.
Erosion The process by which water, ice, wind, or gravity moves weathered rock and soil.
Mechanical Weathering he type of weathering in which rock is physically broken into smaller pieces.
Abrasion The grinding away of rock by other rock particles carried in water, ice, or wind.
Chemical Weathering The process which breaks down rocks through chemical changes.
Oxidation A chemical change in which a substance combines with oxygen, as when iron oxidizes forming rust.
Permeable Characteristic of a material that is full of tiny, connected air spaces that water can seep through.
Soil The loose, weathered material on Earth’s Surface where plants can grow.
Bedrock The solid layer of rock beneath the soil.
Humus Dark-colored organic material in soil.
Soil Horizon The layer of soil that differs in color and texture from the layers above and below it.
Loam Rich, fertile soil that is made up of about equal parts of clay, sand and silt.
Topsoil Mixture of humus, clay and other materials that forms the crumbly, top most layer of soil.
Subsoil The layer of soil beneath the topsoil that contains mostly clay and other minerals.
Litter The loose layer of dead plant leaves and stems on the surface soil.
Decomposer Soil organism that breaks down the remains of organisms and digests them.
Soil Conservation The management of soil to prevent its destruction.
Contour Plowing Plowing fields along the curve of a slope to prevent soil loss.
Conservation Plowing Soil conservation method in which the dead stalks from the previous year’s crops are left in the ground to hold the soil in place. (
Crop Rotation The planting of different crops in a field each year to maintain a soil’s fertility.
Created by: BarbraTA