Skip to navigation Skip to content

Soil formation

Image showing the National Soils Archive storage
The minerals, organic matter and living things in soil mean that soil is a hotbed of biological and chemical reactions. These underpin life on our planet as we know it.

Image showing Hour glass with soil pouring through itSoils are created by the weathering of rocks over hundreds to thousands of years.

The speed and nature of soil formation is affected by various factors.

  • The number and type of rocks that are broken down and dissolved by weather and plants, lichen and microbes.
  • The climate in the past including the effects of rain, temperature and wind.
  • The surrounding land and its slope, height and aspect.
  • The plants, animals and microorganisms who live in or on the soil who help dissolve rocks and recycle dead plants.
  • How the land is managed.

With all these ingredients it’s no wonder we have so many different soils.

The minerals, organic matter and living things in soil mean that soil is a hotbed of biological and chemical reactions. These underpin life on our planet as we know it.


Printed from /about/facilities/national-soils-archive/soil-formation on 17/08/18 02:20:02 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.