5 Soil Forming Factors and Complete Explanation

5 Soil Forming Factors and Complete Explanation


Land that is in the lithosphere or the topmost layer of the earth is formed through a long process. This land formation process can be caused by a variety of different important factors. Each of these soil-forming factors has a different effect on the process.

Some important factors that influence the process of soil formation include: climate, parent material, organisms, time and topography. Some of these factors can also be formulated in a series of formulas, as follows.

T = f (i, o, b, t, w)


T = soil
f = factor
i = climate
o = organism
b = parent material
t = topography
w = time

For clarity, the factors that form the soil can be further described, in the following explanation.

Contents lll

a. Climate

Climate has elements that influence the process of land formation. The climate elements are mainly temperature and rainfall. Temperature influences the weathering process (more clearly about weathering. Understanding Weathering, Types and Causes ), which occurs parent material. When the temperature is high, the weathering process can take place more quickly so that soil formation will also be faster.

Meanwhile, rainfall greatly affects the strength of erosion and soil washing. In fact, rapid soil washing can cause the soil to become acidic or the soil pH will be lower so that the process of soil formation is also faster.

b. Organisms (Vegetation and Microorganisms)

Organisms such as vegetation and microorganisms have a considerable influence on the process of soil formation. These influences include:

  • Helps the weathering process, especially the organic weathering process
  • Help the process of forming humus. Because, plants will produce leaves and branches that accumulate on the soil surface. The leaves and branches that accumulate will rot with the help of microorganisms or microorganisms that are in the soil.
  • Vegetation type is very influential on soil properties. For example, in forest vegetation, it can form forest soil that has a red color. As for grass vegetation, it can result in the formation of black soil because it contains a lot of organic material.
  • The content of chemical elements in plants can affect soil properties. This can occur for example, if there are evergreen plants, these plants will provide chemical elements, such as Ca, Mg, and K which are relatively low. As a result, the soil under the pine will have a higher degree of acidity than the soil under the teak tree.

c. Parent Material

Ground holding material is the main forming material or origin of the soil. parent material consists of volcanic rocks, igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, and metamorphic rocks. This parent rock will be crushed into parent material, then weathered, and become soil.

Generally, soil on the surface of the earth will exhibit the same properties as its parent material, especially in its chemical properties. The parent material which is still visible is generally like a soil with a sand structure derived from a parent material with a high sand content.

In addition, the chemical and mineral composition of the parent material can influence the intensity of weathering and vegetation on it. The parent material which contains a lot of Ca element will form soil which also has a high level of Ca ions.

This can prevent the soil from purifying silicic acid which can cause the soil to turn gray. Conversely, if the parent material has less lime content, the result can be formed reddish soil.

d. Topography or Relief

The state of relief from an area can affect soil formation. These topographical influences such as:

  • Thick or thin layer of soil. In this case, for areas with sloping and hilly topography, the topsoil becomes thinner due to erosion. While in flat areas, the soil layer tends to be thicker because of the sedimentationprocess .
  • Drainage or drainage system. Areas that have poor drainage systems will usually be flooded more often. This condition can cause the soil to become acidic jerky.

e. Time

Land is an object that exists in nature, which is constantly changing. The changes that occur are caused by weathering and sanctification that occurs continuously as well. This ongoing process causes the soil to grow older and thinner.

If this happens, soil minerals that contain lots of nutrients will be depleted due to the weathering process. Then what remains is minerals that are hard to decay, like quartz.

As a result of the ongoing process of land formation, the mother land has also undergone changes in succession to be: young, mature land, and old soil.

Young soil is a soil that is marked by the process of soil formation which is still visible mixing of organic material and minerals or the structure of the parent material is still visible. Examples of young soils include alluvial soils, regosols, and litosol.

Mature soil is a type of soil that can be recognized by the existence of further processes so that young soil can be turned into mature soil. The process in question is the formation of horizon B. Examples of mature soils are andosols, latosols and grumosols.

Old soil is a type of soil that is characterized by the process of soil formation which is still ongoing so that there is a process of real changes in horizons A and B. Examples of old soil are podsolic soil types and old latosol (laterite).

All of these processes certainly take time, so time is also considered a major soil forming factor. As for the length of time this land formation can vary.

Volcanic parent material which is released like volcanic ash, for example, will take up to 100 years to form young soil, and up to 1,000-10,000 years to form mature soil.

by Abdullah Sam
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