2. The study of minerals of importance to farming and horticulture, especially with regards to soil fertility and fertilizer components. These minerals are usually essential plant nutrients and are referred to as agrominerals.
Expanding the understanding of agrogeology
Agrogeology is the study of the natural fertilization that takes place when weathering breaks rocks into their constituent elements. It was first studied in the early nineteenth century; however, the success of the artificial fertilizers eliminated interest in this natural approach until the late 1970s when Dr. Chesworth, a geologist at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, combined his theoretical studies of rock decomposition to determine that weathering of a common volcanic rock like basalt made land more fertile.
Continuing studies indicate that volcanic rocks like basalt, supply the nutrients necessary for plant and animal growth. The essential elements for plant growth include: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron, molybdenum and chlorine. In addition, the presence of rock fragments in the soil and on the soil surface significantly influences infiltration, runoff, and moisture storage, all of which significantly effect plant growth.
In recent years, soil scientists have conducted numerous studies to reduce the application of chemical fertilizers on the nation's farmlands. Results from these analyses indicate remineralization can achieve a series of benefits:
- Combat the effects of pests and diseases that effect plant growth.
- Reduce the water requirements necessary for plant growth.
- Lower the cost of production and produce higher yields on treated lands.
- Provide the necessary nutrients to increase the quality and quantity of the plants grown.