leaching


leaching

Loss of soluble substances and colloids from the top layer of soil by percolating precipitation. The materials are carried downward and are generally redeposited in a lower layer. This transport results in a porous and open top layer and a dense, compact lower layer. In areas of extensive leaching, the remaining quartz and hydroxides of iron, manganese, and aluminum form laterite. In such areas rapid bacterial action results in the absence of humus in the soil, because fallen plant material is oxidized and the products are leached away.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on leaching, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up leaching? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.