Friday, July 8, 2011


Perhaps you have an inquisitive mind that never rests. As soon as I wake up these ramblings begin to spin. I can not help it.

The Industrial Revolution for example. All the theoretical benefits attributed to it,  in essence came from dirt/soil minerals in the land. Steel, bronze, copper, oil, everything. Not to get into the uranium, nuclear energy, the clean safe energy without CO2, but you may remember that sumami in Japan.  

At any rate, here from Farm Knowledge some info  rarely mentioned and/or acknowledged in gardening blogs. Here the first installment. It may be long but worthy.

Viewed as a world--wide material, the soil is merely a part of the waste, the scrap, the splinters and shavings  of earth's change and progress.  The earth is a globe of stone solidified only in its outer shell.  This stone shell which everywhere underlies the blanket, of pulverized rock material of which the upper part is the soil, is undergoing constant but very slow change.

The forces of nature -pressure, heat, frost, water, ice, and wind-as well as the processes of plants and animals-are continually at work on the rock shell,
breaking up its surface, changing its composition and moving its materials about.  The soil is the latest waste of that process.

Observe a rushing mountain rill or a flooded river after a heavy rain and note the mass of fine rock material that is carried and rolled along by the current, and you have a good illustration of one of the ways in which rocks are ground up and their chips or waste carried to a new resting place.

Along every brook, creek and river bed is spread a ribbon of this rock flour laid down as "mud", sand , gravel or stone, according to th speed of flow of the water.  Rapid flowing water carries material of all sizes, even up to boulders, and deposits or leaves behind only the coarsest. As the stream reaches lower levels and runs less swiftly it drops more of its load--always the coarsest material--until on the broad flat river plain only the finest sediments remain to be deposited.  These form the fine uniform river and creek bottoms that make so much of the most fertile farm land in the world.

The Nile Valley, the valley of the Euphrates and Tigris--perhaps the Garden of Eden of the Bible, the valleys of the Rhine, the Danube, and the Seine in Europe, and of our own American Mississippi River system with all its large tributaries, all these are notable examples of soils carried and deposited by the flow of water from the higher lands to the lower areas. Rocks are cut away by these flowing waters which, more than any other force, are responsible for the intricate pattern of valleys that form most of our landscape.

Every exposed surface of rock gives up its toll of material to the passing stream.  Millions upon millions of tons of rock material are moved by every rain storm.  Rock material once carried a little force of the current is reduced; and as it is moved, so also is it rubbed and worn down constantly smaller and smaller. 

On our next chapter:
The sorting action of water
 a few words for thought

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