The dirty truth about soil and its impact on minerals
Filth. Dust. Grime. These unpleasantries often come to mind when “dirt” is mentioned.
Naturally, there are also positive connotations, mostly appreciated by the likes of farmers, scientists, environmentalists and others who are closely associated with mother nature.
Citizens from societies around the world will likely recall a typical situation from youth: yes, you can play outside, your parents or grandparents said, but do not come back dirty.
While messy and dirty situations are typically viewed negatively, there are positive aspects regarding dirt and its impact on human civilization and overall development, especially when soil is considered.
For starters, soil has a handful of critical functions, tied closely to our water and food cycle. Also known as the pedosphere, soil is the outermost layer of earth that is made up of clay, sand and humus, which includes decomposed leaves and other plant material.
The functions of soil is heavily linked to agriculture, water storage and purification, as well as serving as a habitat for various organisms. It includes a mixture of organic matter and minerals that support life. Scientists note that it takes about one thousand years for soil to form, resulting in a diverse mix of mineral, rock and organic matter particles, among other organic and inorganic materials.
Water is also directly involved in the soil development, responsible for aiding in the transport and deposition of the materials of which a soil is composed.
Soil differs greatly from one part of the world to another, which impacts the quality of drinking water. This is particularly important as water not only picks up minerals, but helps to filter out the various contaminants. If soil is poor, the parent rock is often blamed, as it determines the nutrient richness of the resulting soil. Various places around the world have different properties and they vary widely in regard to color, texture and composition.
Various contaminants, such as bacteria, pesticides, and viruses, can lead to groundwater contamination. This may be in addition to localized problems with tap water quality, especially for the growing concerns in the United States of America. So while soil is considered as one of the positive factors that leads to the amount of minerals (and their associated qualities) in drinking water, the rising rates of pollution is causing alarm.
The information contained in this article is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or nutritional advice.