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A horizon

The top layer of soil that has most nutrients and humus, most fully evolved layer dark in color and has minerals grains, decaying leaves, roots, insects, and worms.

B Horizon

The layer of soil that is often called subsoil that usually consists of clay and other particles.

Bedrock

The continuous mass of solid rock that makes up Earth's crust.

C Horizon

Beneath B horizon, contains weathered parent material.

Clay

The smallest type of soil particles that have the capacity to absorb and hold water.

Contour farming

Plowing furrows sideways across a hillside to help prevent formation of rills and guillies.

Crop rotation

Process of changing what is planted in a field from year to year in order to restore soil nutrients.

Desertification

The process by which formerly fertile lands become increasingly arid, unproductive, and desert-like.

Dust Bowl

Term used to describe the central and southern Great Plains in the 1930s when the region sustained a period of drought and dust storms.

E Horizon

Very little humus. Minerals leached from rainwater and minerals already in the soil that resist leaching. Below A above B.

Intercropping

Strip cropping, planting bands of different crops across a hillside.

Leaching

The removal of soluble substances from rock, ore, or layers of soil due to the passing of water.

Loam

A type of topsoil that is rich in minerals and has lots of humus.

Monoculture

The agricultural practice of producing or growing one single crop over a wide area.

Natural Resources

Materials found in nature that are used by living things.

Conservation Service

A group that helps the conservation of resources and farmland.

No Till Agriculture

The process of not plowing land and using herbicides to prevent some types of weeds from surfacing.

O Horizon

The uppermost horizon of soil, primarily made up of organic material and humus.

Parent material

Inorganic material base from which soil is formed.

R Horizon

The bedrock that lies below all of the other layers of soil.

Salinization

When small traces of salt in freshwater irrigation builds up in arid climates, rendering the land worthless.

Sand

Small particles of various minerals and broken rocks, the result of weathering and erosion.

Shelterbelt

Row of trees that protects farm from wind.

Silt

A mixture of tiny bits of soil and rock carried and deposited by a river.

Soil profile

The sequence of soil horizons from the surface down to the underlying bedrock.

Terracing

Stepped ridges carved into hillsides help retain water and reduce erosion.

Weathering

The breaking down of rocks and other materials on the Earth's surface.

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