Does Water Make Soil? Ancient and Modern Views Take on the Great Mixer

From a pre-modern point of view, water, left to sit, will create soil. From a modern point of view, soil, suspended in water, settles out when the water stills.

Some Very Nice Ditch Water Doing its Thing

It is also possible to say that the energy that carries water carries soil, until the mass of the soil particles is greater than the energy that keeps them in suspension. There is very little energy then, and the water is said to be still. Intriguingly, the energy that has this effect in water, does not sort earth into soil in this way on its own, or bring together the necessary ingredients, including living or dying or dead plant tissue. Accordingly, the pre-modern point of view is correct: water creates soil. Beautifully enough, the modern point of view is also correct: soil is the point at which water, earth and energy meet, after the energy has left. Water might create soil, but only because it is a point of intersection. Water, of course, couldn’t care whether the ancients or the moderns agree. It just does its thing.

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