Have you ever wondering where soil comes from? How does it just seemingly appear on the earth’s surface? How long has it been there? How did it get there? Well, there is an acronym that captures all of this: “CLORPT.”
This acronym stands for climate, organisms, relief/topography, parent material, and time. These components describe the leaps required to go from rock – also known as geological time zero – to a life-supporting soil. These processes together are referred to as “CLORPT” by soil scientists.
Climate contributes to the weathering of rock. It also influences existing soils. It can leach mineral or nutrient components over a few years or act over millennia. Climate can affect the types of plants and animals that will inhabit an area and influences their impact on the soil. Climate defines the parameters that will work on the soil over time.
Organisms contribute to the addition of organic matter and the mixing of soil constituents. For example, burrowing animals can introduce organic matter in large quantities deep in the soil profile and mix up the soil profile through digging activities. Smaller organisms like worms, fungi, or plants incorporate organic matter into the soil. Even smaller organisms like bacteria impact nutrient cycling and nutrient availability in the soil.
The relief or topography of the soil impacts how moisture interacts with the soil. For example, a depression in the topography will accumulate moisture, which will impact the amount of organic matter build up and the nutrient cycling in that small space. But a steep, south-facing slope will tend to be dry and dusty, providing harsher growing conditions in our southern British Columbia local landscapes. Alternatively, south-facing slopes in northern cold, less productive landscapes might be more biological because they receive more thermal energy.
The parent material, or the source rock of the soil, can determine the amount of silt sand or clay that is present. Parent material can be made up of bedrock and weather in place. Other parent material might be blown in from other mountain tops or deserts. An extreme example is dust from the Sahara dust being detected in Texas (NASA 2018). Other parent material might be clay or silt particles washed down from a glacier that settles on the banks of a braided river.
And time. The more or less time the soil or a rock at geological time 0 has been exposed to climate, topography, and organisms, the further developed that soil will be. This can lead to more additions, removals, and chemical reactions that will have occurred within that space over time.
Soil can come from many places. It is a process that can take thousands of years, starting from the initial melting of a glacier or other catastrophic events like a rockslide. Slowly, rocky material wears over time, new material is brought in, small plants start to grow, and soil slowly develops and accumulates. At NutriGrow, we combine all these constituents manually to produce an ideal soil, so our customers don’t have to wait a millennia.
NutriGrow is Western Canada’s largest manufacturer and bulk distributor of amended soils, composts, and mulches. NutriGrow has been manufacturing premium products since 2010. Rich in colour and nutrients, NutriGrow’s products are improving soil health, stability, and productivity across British Columbia. For more information, visit nutrigrow.ca.