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Thread: Questions about Volcanic Soil

  1. #1 Questions about Volcanic Soil 
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    First off, I've always wondered if volcanic soil is really as fertile as everyone claims. I've heard lots of people say it is, but others claim that it just makes rocks. Which is it or is there something about where, when, and for how long that makes it either fertile or barren?

    Second, if volcanic soil is very fertile and since lava is molten rock, if I took any bunch of rocks from the ones in my back yard to a mountainous landscape and melted them all, would they then cool into volcanic soil?

    Thank you.


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  3. #2  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    for starters, there's a massive difference between lava and, say, granite - the latter won't do all that much for fertility, whereas lava tends to become friable on weathering, which usually gives rise to fertile soil


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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    To make soil, you do not melt the lava or granite. You grind it into dust. Then you have to improve the physical properties like drainage and aeration. This is done by blending it with composted leaves. That blend - ground up lava or granite, with composted leaves - makes excellent and very fertile soil.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    isn't granite often too acidic to produce much of a decent soil ?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Marnix

    I do not know.
    My information about making soil from ground up granite plus composted leaves came from a New Scientist article, reporting on researchers who done exactly that, and made excellent soil. Beyond that, I profess lack of expertise.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Much of the volcanic soils in the Pacific Northwest are derived from the ash falls and tuffs from volcanic eruptions much more than from weathering of basalts and other lavas.
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  8. #7  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    isn't granite often too acidic to produce much of a decent soil ?
    Late response: granite is an acidic rock in petrology terms. That just means it has a high percentage of silica. I'm not sure that it tends to produce soils that are more acidic than say gabbro.
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