Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Biological Science (MBioSci)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Dixie Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Phillip Harries

Third Advisor

Dr. Kevin Elliott

Abstract

Soil formation is a process that entails the breakdown of rock particles otherwise known as weathering. It is a process that is determined by various factors such as time, climate, parent materials, topography, and biota. The exposure of the rock particles to these factors affects the process of soil formation in that more exposure accelerates soil development. To establish the rate of soil development, we based our research on reclaimed and un-reclaimed regions. According to the results, soil developed at a rate of 10-24cm per annual while on the un-reclaimed land it was 0.05-0.06cm per annual. The difference in the two areas is explained by the fact that in the reclaimed land it is hospitable for the growth of microbes that supports soil development microbes and invertebrates. This is because of the presence of organic matter that energizes microbes thus increasing the rate of decomposition. Again, reclaimed soil develops faster than un-reclaimed soil because of the presence of small, uniform particles, which offers a large surface area for chemical reactions. In other words, the reclaimed land is hospitable and prepared for maximum weathering. On the contrary, the un-reclaimed sites weathers slowly because it does not support the growth of plants and micro-organisms. This is because the mining leftovers are acid and have not organisms that would provide energy for the growth of microbes. However, the parent materials for the reclaimed sites offers the unconsolidated material that could cause rocks and small particles to weather at a higher rate. In general, the biotic action is essential in soil development since organisms are responsible for the process and breakdown of the existing organic matter. The purpose of this paper is to examine the rate of soil development in reclaimed and un-reclaimed grassland soil.

Included in

Biology Commons

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