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What is meant by soil, speaking in geology terms; It is the top layer of the Earth which is influenced by plant roots. Through this influence the soil is able to form different soil structures, mainly depending on type of vegetation and climate. Due to the processes that form those structures, specific beds can be formed. E.g. through illuviation of organic materials. Also chemical weathering plays an important role in the formation of soil structures. The formation of a recognisable soil profile in sediment takes at least several hundreds of years.

A wel known type of soil is the podzol, it can be found in sandy regions with a mild climate. A podzol can be recognized by it’s top layer of humus rich soil, covering a pale grey illuviation layer in which contains very little organic material. Moving from top to bottom, the next layer is a very dark illuviation layer in which a lot of organic matter is stored. All the way on the bottom lies the original sediment.

Different climates lead to different soil structures, as one can imagine. Arctic tundra will show different soil structures than areas with a tropical climate.

Also fossil soils are known from older periods, they were formed and covered by a new sediment.

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