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Water is essential for life, as it is composed of all the living processes taking place in a body. Failure of balancing the water cycle results in floods or droughts in various regions of the earth. Mineral sources are nutrients that are taken up by the soil and used by the plants. Thus, it is necessary to keep the soil fertile rich with nutrients, failure of which will result in infertility of the soil.
Water – Essential to Life
All of the living creatures require water and cannot live without water for many days. As we know, water covers 75% of the earth’s surface and is found underground as well. All the cellular process in our body takes place in a water medium, all living beings consists of 75-80% water in their body. All living creatures that live on land require fresh water as their body cannot tolerate the high amount of salt from the marine water. Hence we obtain fresh water from rivers, brooks, lake, and ponds. The natural source of fresh water is rainfall. Any change in the number of rainfall results in either floods or droughts in various regions of the world. The abundance of water in any country results in diversity of plants and animals present in the country.
Minerals in the soil:
Soil, which is a necessity for the growth of plants, should be rich in minerals. The minerals present in the soil are obtained from the outermost layer of the earth, called as the crust. The soil is made from the huge rocks present in the crust layer. Over a period of several thousand years, the rocks are broken down either physically, chemically or mechanically, resulting in small stones and fine particle soil which is rich in nutrients. The rocks are broken down by various mechanisms, such as
1. By sun’s heat – The sun’s heat results in expanding of rock and during nights, it results in contraction of rocks. This expanding and contracting of rocks results in cracks and breaking down of rocks into small stones.
2. By water: Water can get into the cracks of the rocks and freeze. The freezing of water results in expanding of rocks widely. Water also breaks down the rocks by another method. Water flowing down with force, such as from the falls carries rocks and other small particles which fall over other rocks resulting in rubbing and continuous abrasion of rocks. This ends up in breaking down of rocks into softer, small pebbles which are usually found in the river bed.
3. Wind: Strong winds breakdown the rocks through erosion and continuous abrasion of small rocks against huge rocks. The wind is also responsible for transporting rocks from one place to another.
4. Living organisms like lichens (a fungus) that grows on rock’s surface release certain substances that cause the surface layer of the rock to be converted into powder form and is used as soil by the neighboring plants. Old and large trees also force to crack down the rocks as they require more space for the roots.