1. Introduction, Soil Minerals

Soils in the Australian Landscape (EART 1011)

Introduction to the course taught at University of South Australia. Mentions about sustainability, environmental management of soils, and conservation. 

Soil minerals about Iron (Fe), Magnesium (Mg), Al (Aluminium), Potassium (K), Sodium (Na), and Calcium (Ca).

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What are the three phases of soil? (states of matt

1. Solid phase (organic matter)

2. Liquid phase (solution)

3. Gaseous phase (O2/CO2)

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Why study soils?

1. Food production (99.7%)

2. Fibres

3. Fuel

4. Infrastructures

5. Nutrient cycling (N, P, C, S)

6. Filter/water storage - filter potential pollutants

7. Key role in the environment

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What are the factors that make up soil formation?

1. Climate - rain, wind, temperature, radiation

2. Topography - relief, slope, characteristics

3. Organisms - flora, fauna, humans

4. Parent material - geology

5. Time

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What is soil classification?

Naming system - describe and identifies soil orders

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What is soil degradation?


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What is the difference between minerals and rocks?

Minerals are aggregates of rocks - they make it up.

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Name characteristics of minerals.

-Naturally occurring



-Specific chemical composition - formula

-A regular atomic arrangement - crystalline 

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What is the difference between a primary and a sec

Primary minerals: From parent material. E.g. quartz, feldspar

Secondary minerals: From components of primary minerals. E.g. Fe (iron) and Al (aluminium) oxides.

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What is a silicon tetrahedron? (SiO4)4-

-Silicon fits neatly into the hole made when 4 oxygen atoms (positively charged) arrange themselves as a tetrahedron. 

-Building block of all silicates

-Tetrahedron's positive charge (Si++++) can combine with the negative charge (metals).

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What are the silicates?

1. Fe (iron)

2. Mg (magnesium)

3. Al (aluminium)

4. K (potassium)

5. Na (sodium)

6. Ca (calcium)

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What group belongs in the single chain structures?

Pyroxene group.

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What group belongs in the double chain structures?

Amphibole group. (perfect cleavage)

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What group belongs in sheet structures (planar)? (

Micas, clays.

-Tetrahedrons linked by 3 oxygens with perfect cleavage.

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What group belongs in three dimensional (3D)?

Quartz, feldspar.

-Tetrahedron linked by 4 oxygens.

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Name other soil minerals besides silicates.

Al and Fe oxides.

-Hematite (Fe2O3), red in colour.


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Name a different type of soil organic matter.

-Living component - bacteria, organisms, humus matter, residues.

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