Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park
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Stop 3
Erosion and Soil Formation

The smaller soil particles have washed away leaving larger rocks behind.
The smaller soil particles have washed away leaving larger rocks behind.

The Nature Park has at least eight different types of soil. The differences exist because of the variety of ways that the five soil forming factors (climate, organisms, topography, parent material, and time) interact. These factors, acting together, form soil by altering the physical and chemical nature of the original geologic deposits and rock.

At this stop, the steep slope (topography factor), the small amount of vegetative cover (organism factor), and the heavy rainfall intensity (climate factor) cause most of the water to run off. Only a small amount of water goes into the soil. The sand, silt, and rocks (parent material factor) are less likely to break down through chemical weathering processes than in a soil that stays moist for long periods (time factor). As a result, this soil contains more rocks than it would if it were wetter.

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