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The sediment added to our patch of land may be great for building new soil, but if it accumulates too quickly it will merely bury the existing soil. In any case, the old topsoil, now compressed and deeply buried by sediment and soil, is no longer turned over by earthworms or small animals.It is deprived of oxygen and fresh organic material, such as rotting leaves.

Consequently, a patch of soil cannot be older than the last local erosion--whenever that might have been.

It is no longer a paradise for bacteria, and fungi.

What organic material it did have is often lost by decay and slow oxidation.

Geologically speaking, any given patch of land is seldom in equilibrium for long.

Either it is collecting sediment or being eroded away, usually the latter. Water-borne sediment will be washed in from higher ground, perhaps hills and mountains hundreds of miles away.

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