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Airdate: Apr 07, 2016
Scientist: Nadine Kabengi

Soil - Planet Skin

Soil - Planet Skin
Some soils have taken hundreds of thousands of years to form.

Soil the Planet's Skin

It's one of the resources we mostly take for granted and yet our lives depend upon it. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Kabengi: I am a soil chemist and and an environmental geochemist.

Nadine Kabengi is an assistant professor of geochemistry at Georgia State University.

Kabengi: Soil is the skin of the planet. We think soils are made of three things: water, air, and the solid particles that are grouped into three categories: sand, silt and clay. It's a very dynamic and complex media that our lives depend on in many numerous ways.
So think back to every action that we do in our life: We eat and this comes from farming soil. We live - this comes from putting buildings and houses on that soil. We drink, and the rain is filtered through the soil. We are clothed by growing cotton for example out of that soil. So the uses of soils in our life is just everywhere, and we depend on it to a great extent. The bad thing is that soil takes a long time to form. So we have to preserve it and we have to take care of it because in a lifetime, it's not going to renew.
Soils take anywhere between thousands of years to hundred of thousands of years, depending on the development. So newer soils can be formed in maybe 10,000 - 50,000's and older soils, soils that have been present for a long time have been formed maybe 200,000 - 300,000 years old, if not more.

We'll hear more on soil in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology and the National Science Foundation. You can listen to this and previous programs on our podcast.