How Is Soil Formed?

There are four basic “ingredients” that go into the “recipe” for making soil: tiny pieces of rock, decayed plants and animals, water, and air.

When small pieces of rock break off larger ones, they form the basis of all soil. This breaking can occur in several ways: through the action of glaciers pushing rocks along the ground and grinding them against other rocks; through the action of chemicals in water eating away at rocks; through changes in temperature causing water to freeze in rocks and crack them open; through the force of wind throwing sand and pebbles against rocks; and through the movement of plant roots splitting rocks apart. This rocky, ground-up material is called the parent material of the soil.

When a plant or animal dies, its remains are attacked by bacteria which decompose, or break them down. This decaying matter combines with the parent material and provides the soil with many nutrients to help new plants grow.

Water and air fill in the spaces between the ground-up rock and decaying matter to provide places for tiny insects to live and for plant roots to grow.


  1. Anonymous says

    how can there be a recipe for soil?….i think that soil should be natural from the ground. No should be able to make soil. If you mix banana peals with the soil then your plants will grow really healthy and beautiful. So everything in the environment should be natural for all of us. The soil should help the world. Peoplr shouldn’t destroy what the earth has made for us. People should treat the soil as if it were a human because soil grows too. Respect the soil like how you would respect a regular person.


  2. Anonymous says

    Woow, ii Nevvr Knnew Sooliiil Haad Ingreddiientss lol
    Learnn Sumthiinng Nuu Evrri Dai ;)

  3. Anonymous says

    my teachers made up this song WAIO so that we can remember all the ingridients in soil…WAIO stands 4 Water, Ail, Inorganic material, and Organic material… like theres more lyrics to it tho…but its just a helpful suggustion 4 when u take the science MCAS u will remember all of the ” ingridients ” in soil

  4. Anonymous says

    Thank u so much! this is the perfect website! I wish there where more people who bothered to make stuff like this! Thnx again!!!!!!!! :)

  5. Anonymous says

    Thanks whoever created this, because this just provided me with a page of writing for my geography project! :D

  6. Anonymous says

    someone has no social life to create this site. But thank you boring creator…it was the perfect end to my geography project! :)

  7. Anonymous says

    this is just what i was looking 4 fanksss guysssss !! all my love anonymous.x

  8. Anonymous says

    Thanks a lot! This was exactly what I needed for my assignment! :)

  9. Anonymous says

    This was awesome i had strep throat and couldnt do it and only had one day

  10. shocked. says

    ummm wowwwww. they dont mean for you to make soil with this. this is just the NATURAL cycle and mother NATURE’s ‘ingredients’ as to how soil is NATURALLY made. and what on earth do banana peels have to do with making soil?!?!?!?!

  11. shocked. says

    haha its providing me with a path to go for my research for a professional poster presentation on how soil is formed. so thanks :)

  12. shocked says

    wowww. can you just be grateful instead of being mean? someone made this website to benefit you, and all you can do is insult them.

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