AGRO 4058 – Soil Morphology and Classification

David Weindorf  |  8/25/2008 6:47:19 PM

Discussing catena concepts in San Luis Obispo, California.

Multiple horizons in a soil profile in Central Texas.

Sheet erosion and silicious gravels in Rapides Parish, Louisiana.

Redoximorphic features of periodically saturated soils in College Station, Texas.

Soil morphology and classification (SMC) concerns the field description of soils and their taxonomic classification in much the same way plants and animals are classified. Students taking this course will learn about the storied history of soil survey, the construction of US Soil Taxonomy and its underlying principles. In SMC, we cover all soil master horizons, subordinates, epipedons, and taxonomic hierarchy. We discuss concepts such as toposequences and factors of soil formation. The course involves considerable fieldwork, where students actually describe soils under natural conditions.

Soil morphology and classification has broad implications in soil interpretations for urban planning, agricultural production, hazard assessment, etc. Students completing the course will gain an understanding of how to interpret soils information from a taxonomic classification, where to find additional soils information online, and how to use digital soils data in a GIS format.

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