Feb 15, 2021 in Coursework

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Question 1

To start with, Aridisols refer to those soils that have developed in very dry conditions, such as hot deserts and xeric shrublands, whereas Entisols are defined as soils that are formed due to the deposition of fresh materials in a given area. They are the youngest of soils in pedology (Livingstone & Warren, 1996). The properties that distinguish Aridisols from Entisols include the following: primarily, there are obvious disparities in the genesis of both soils. Aridisols do not have a profile development other than its A horizon.

Differences

Several properties distinguish Aridisols from Entisols. Firstly, the two types of soils are found in different places around the globe. The Aridisols are mostly located in arid and semi-arid climates. On the other hand, Entisols are found abundantly in most places worldwide. In fact, they are the second most profuse soil after Inceptisols. Entisols occupy 16% of the global ice-free land area. The concentration of organic matter in Aridisols is relatively lower than that of Entisols. It explains the paucity of vegetative production of the Aridisols as compared to the Entisols (Perry & Taylor, 2007).

The deficiency of moisture is another defining factor that differentiates Aridisols from Entisols. It, therefore, explains the reason why limited vegetation thrives on the Aridisols as compared to the Entisols (Cooke, Warren, & Goudie, 1993). Furthermore, the degree of leaching is more prominent in Entisols than in Aridisols. The existence of excessively high temperatures dampens the rate at which the leaching effect takes place in Aridisols.

The degree of water retention is higher in Entisols than in Aridisols. It is due to the composition of different soil particles in both of the soils. The genesis and origin of the soils are also different. For instance, Entisols owe their origin to geological factors, such as soil erosion and deposition, salt weathering, and mass wasting. It is for this reason that the absence of horizons and soil profiles is a common feature in the development of the Entisols. Conversely, Aridisols have horizons and layers of soils that have developed over a long period (Livingstone & Warren, 1996).

Similarities

The components of soil are similar in both Aridisols and Entisols. For instance, alkaline and saline substances cement the horizons of both soils. The presence of carbonates in the composition of both soils is evidential. Then again, both soils have varying levels of water vapor and moisture though it is lower in Aridisols.

Question 2

Salt weathering refers to the process, by which salts are accumulated at the surface of soils resulting in high salinity. The process of salt weathering arises due to both natural causes and artificial causes (Livingstone & Warren, 1996). The natural causes of salt weathering include the gradual insertion of an ocean or because of mineral weathering, whereas the artificial causes of salt weathering comprise land irrigation. Due to the disastrous effects of salt weathering on historic monuments, buildings, and engineering structures among others, researchers have to come up with various methods and strategies geared towards reducing the negative consequences of salt weathering. The following are some of the methods that have been successfully used to control the disastrous effects of salt weathering. They include water table control, leaching, subsurface drainage, flushing, and tile drainage among other methods.

Geologists in a bid to control the high rate of salt weathering have implemented various engineering solutions. Some of these solutions include terracing the slopes to reduce the steepness of the cuts, immediate re-vegetation, the use of rock bolts, screens, and cables, and cutting the steep slopes to the less significant gradients.

Prevention of salt weathering

1. Addition of Slope Vegetation

The addition of vegetation to a land that has a higher gradient reduces the rate, at which salt weathering takes place. The availability of mature trees anchors the slope of the land and protects sediments from rainfall and subsequent runoff. The application of this method in preventing salt wasting is exemplified at Angeles National Forest in California. This place has enough large trees, which have successfully moored and protected the area from severe effects of salt weathering (Cooke, Warren, & Goudie, 1993).

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2. Terracing The Slopes And Construction Of Walls

This method involves reducing the steep gradients of the places that are severely affected by the effects of salt weathering (Livingstone & Warren, 1996). For instance, an area that is characterized by high-level gradients can be terraced, so that the area becomes marginally even. The remaining part of the upper slope, therefore, becomes less stable. It ensures that the causes of salt weathering, such as heavy downpour and the inevitable runoffs, are minimized. The construction of a retaining wall also serves the same purpose since it supports the upper part of the slope and hence slowing the rate of salt weathering.

3. Improved Water Drainage

Drainage pipes are essential in areas that are characterized by excessive water. The presence of excessive water on the slopes leads to the reduction of shear strength of the slopes and the addition of unnecessary weight to the rock surface (Evans, 2005). It means that the rate of salt weathering is significantly increased. To reduce its disastrous effects, the researchers have designed the use of drainage pipes in such areas so that the excess water can be drained away. It prevents the excessive water from percolating into the rock sediments hence reducing salt weathering. Areas that have successfully utilized the use of drainage pipes controlling salt weathering include Palos Verdes Peninsula in California and the Portuguese Bend landslide among others.

4. Reduction Of Harmful Human Activities

The harmful human activities that lead to salt weathering include deforestation, quarrying, overgrazing, mining, and cultivation (Cooke, Warren, & Goudie, 1993). Deforestation weakens the strength of the land through the removal of trees that anchor the soil sediments. Mining and overgrazing result in the loosening of soil particles, whereas cultivation leads to the addition of salty substances to the soil. It is, therefore, imperative that such human activities are discouraged because they form part of the root causes of salt weathering (Goudie, 1990).

5. Leaching

According to Morris (1995), It is the process, by which soluble salts are extracted from the soil that has excessive irrigation water. This method involves applying the excess amount of water to an area that has a high concentration of salinity. The addition of water lowers the level of excessive saline substance to an acceptable level. It, therefore, prevents the corrosive effect of the excessive soluble salts from taking place.

As a final point, the process of salt weathering has been fuelled by the activities of human beings and by other acts of nature. Some of the disastrous effects of salt weathering include the weakening of modern and ancient buildings, historic sites, and engineering structures. For that reason, the control of artificial causes of salt weathering is relatively easier as compared to preventing the natural causes of salt weathering. Researchers and geologists have therefore devised such methods as leaching, afforestation, and reforestation, proper drainage systems, and terracing of steep slopes as means of controlling the disastrous effects of salt weathering.

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