Welcome to the MCSS Soils Tutorial
"Be it deep or shallow, red or black, sand or clay, soil is the link between the rock core of the earth and the living things on its surface." -Roy W. Simonson
Soil science is an exciting field of study and we welcome you to the MCSS Soils Tutorial. The purpose of this tutorial is to educate students and the general public about soil science. Upon completion of the tutorial, you will have a basic understanding of soil properties and processes that will help you appreciate the importance of this natural resource to society.
Perhaps no other single natural resource is as influential as soils. Soils affect much of what occurs on the skin of the earth, from earthworms to skyscrapers, from orchids to Giant Sequoias. It affects our daily lives in ways we may not be aware of: food and fiber, the majestic beauty of a forest or a lake, clean drinking water and filtration of chemical pollutants are all tied to the soil resource.
Functions of soil include plant growth (food and fiber, as well as aesthetics), providing physical support for our infrastructure (roads and buildings), and purification and filtration of water. The soil serves as a reservoir for wastes either through purification or by storage, and it provides materials such as clays or silica sands that are necessary for industrial processes.
This tutorial is designed to provide you with fundamental information about soils and soil properties, as a means to help you appreciate this natural resource to a greater extent. This site is by no means a comprehensive tutorial on soil science, but it is an introduction to the topic. If you wish to acquire a greater introduction to soil science, the following books may prove useful:
- Brady, N.C., and R. Weil. 2007. The Nature and Properties of Soil. 14th ed. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle, N.J.
- Singer, M. J., and D.N. Munns. 2005. Soils: An Introduction. 6th ed. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle, N.J.
- Plaster, E.J. 2003. Soil Science and Management. 4th ed. Delmar Learning, Albany, N.Y.
- Miller, R.W., and D.T. Gardiner. 2007. Soils in Our Environment. 11th ed. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle, N.J.
We hope that you enjoy your learning experience and that you come to "dig" soil science as much as we do.