Soil in Terms of Words

I’m a big fan of words. After a couple Latin classes in high school, I’ve learned to examine words from various roots that I’ve learned. I”m also not a big fan of memorizing. If you just memorize a word list or some formula, I find I normally lose the information by the time the final exam comes around. To prepare for the exam we had a couple weeks ago, I looked at prefixes and suffixes of the various subscripts and identified roots from other words that I already knew.

Fibris, the subscript for undecomposed matter in the A horizon, can be derived from the latin noun fibra, or fiber. To identify a fibris A horizon, leaves or other undecomposed organic materials would have to be visible, and therefore “fibers” would fit. Histosols, with the Greek Root prefix histos means tissue. Histosols are soils that have high organic content, think that plants and animals are made of tissue, decomposed to form organic material. For those who’ve taken Biology recently, you’d know that a mollusk has a soft body and the word is derived from the Latin root Mollis, or soft. A mollic epipedon is one that may be soft from organic material. Gellisols have a root derived from Gelare, which is latin for “to freeze.” The root for Inceptisols, inceptum, is a latin word derived for a beginning. In inceptisols, there is a “beginning” to a B horizon in this little developed soil order. Vertisols can be linked to the Latin root “verto” meaning to turn. We learned in class that with significant amounts of cracking in the soil, the horizon can reverse itself. Spodosols are derived from the Greek root “spodos” meaning wood ash. From Google I found that wood ash is acidic and Spodosols are characteristically very acidic soils.

After the last lecture, we talked about the ability for water to percolate through a soil. The difference between soil with clay and soil with sand is that there are more connected pore spaces for water to travel through. This is known as the tortuocity. While it may seem odd to describe the soil in terms of torture, tortuocity can be derived from the the latin root tortu- for winding or twisting. So in this application, torture could be plausibly defined as a method or twisting or winding and this would also describe water twisting or winding throughout soil.

This post may be a little dry to some, but I think that word roots that can be applied and seen in language are interesting. Roots also make those pesky vocab words a little easier to remember if you know how to put together parts you already know

(edit: sorry- it looks like my autosave draft didn’t save correctly before I posted)

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One Response to Soil in Terms of Words

  1. ccaammii says:

    Where did the rest of the post go?
    Woow this was interesting! Haha it’s a good way of memorizing but I don’t think I could personally do it, it would take even more memorization to remember what I was suppose to remember in the first place.

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