How Is Soil Formed and Where Does Soil Come From?

There are four basic “ingredients” that go into the “recipe” for making soil: tiny pieces of rock, decayed plants and animals, water, and air.

where does soil originate

When small pieces of rock break off larger ones, they form the basis of all soil.

This breaking can occur in several ways: through the action of glaciers pushing rocks along the ground and grinding them against other rocks; through the action of chemicals in water eating away at rocks; through changes in temperature causing water to freeze in rocks and crack them open; through the force of wind throwing sand and pebbles against rocks; and through the movement of plant roots splitting rocks apart.

This rocky, ground-up material is called the parent material of the soil.

When a plant or animal dies, its remains are attacked by bacteria which decompose, or break them down. This decaying matter combines with the parent material and provides the soil with many nutrients to help new plants grow.

Water and air fill in the spaces between the ground-up rock and decaying matter to provide places for tiny insects to live and for plant roots to grow.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

3 thoughts on “How Is Soil Formed and Where Does Soil Come From?”

  1. how can there be a recipe for soil?….i think that soil should be natural from the ground. No should be able to make soil. If you mix banana peals with the soil then your plants will grow really healthy and beautiful. So everything in the environment should be natural for all of us. The soil should help the world. Peoplr shouldn’t destroy what the earth has made for us. People should treat the soil as if it were a human because soil grows too. Respect the soil like how you would respect a regular person.


  2. ummm wowwwww. they dont mean for you to make soil with this. this is just the NATURAL cycle and mother NATURE’s ‘ingredients’ as to how soil is NATURALLY made. and what on earth do banana peels have to do with making soil?!?!?!?!

  3. wow this was a lot of help for my homework. I needed to find out what makes soil and this basically told me that! Thanks a lot! :)

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