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What minerals are found in alluvial soil?

Question:

What minerals are found in alluvial soil?

Minerals and Alluvium:

Alluvial soils, or alluvium, are created when the flows of rivers and streams slow, allowing suspended particles of soil and other matter to settle and deposit on the bottom of the waterways or oceans into which the waterways empty (river deltas).

Answer and Explanation:

The composition of alluvial soils varies widely and is dependent on the region through which the waterways producing them have traveled. If the rivers and streams originated or passed through areas with high iron ore content, then the soils will resultantly have high iron content. Likewise, areas with copper or cobalt ores exposed by weathering will result in the presence of copper and cobalt in the alluvium.

In general, though, alluvial soils are comprised of gravel, sand, silt, and organic matter/nutrients washed down and carried in the moving waters until deposited as alluvium. As many alluvial soils are good for plant growth, these soils contain useful concentrations of minerals and elements needed by plants for growth, like calcium, sodium, potassium, silicon, phosphorus (typically phosphates), nitrogen (as nitrates or ammonium salts), carbonates, sulfates, etc.. Again, though, the ratio of these elements and minerals is dependent on the geographical regions through which the waters have traveled.


Learn more about this topic:

Alluvial Channels: Definition & Types

from Earth Science 101: Earth Science

Chapter 14 / Lesson 8
16K

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