Soil Survey Manual (March 2017)

Soil Survey Manual (March 2017)
Soil Survey Manual (March 2017)
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This manual is a revision and enlargement of U.S. Department of Agriculture Handbook No. 18, the Soil Survey Manual, previously issued October 1962 and October 1993. This version supersedes both previous versions.

Table of Contents

List of Figures vii

List of Tables xvii

Introduction to the Fourth Edition

Purpose xxiii

Need for Additions and Revisions xxv

Online Accessxxvii

Citation and Authorship xxvii

Acknowledgements xxviii

References xxviii

Chapter 1 Soil and Soil Survey

Soil Survey—Definition and Description 1

Early Concepts of Soil 3

Early Development of Soil Classification 7

Modern Concept of Soil 8

Development of Soil Taxonomy 9

Scientific Foundation of Soil Survey 10

Development of the Soil Survey in the U.S. 13

References 18

Chapter 2 Landscapes, Geomorphology, and Site Description

Introduction 21

Capturing Soil-Landscape Relationships at Various Scales 25

Placing Soil-Landscape Relationships in Their Proper Context 28

Consistently Describing Landscapes, Landforms, and Geomorphology  30

Parent Material 53

Bedrock 66

Lithostratigraphic Units 69

Erosion 70

Land Cover 77

Vegetation 78

Ecological Sites 79

Integrated Natural Resource Inventories 80

References 80

Chapter 3 Examination and Description of Soil Profiles

Introduction 83

General Terms Used to Describe Soils 84

Studying Pedons 87

Designations for Horizons and Layers 91

Near Surface Subzones114

Root-Restricting Depth118

Particle-Size Distribution  119

Soil Texture 120

Rock Fragments and Pararock Fragments 131

Artifacts 137

Compound Texture Modifiers. 140

Fragments on the Surface 141

Soil Color 145

Soil Structure 155

Internal Ped and Void Surface Features 163

Concentrations 168

Pedogenic Carbonates 173

Redoximorphic Features 177

Consistence 180

Roots 193

Pores 195

Animals 197

Selected Chemical Properties 198

Soil Water 205

Soil Temperature  228

References 230

Chapter 4

Soil Mapping Concepts

Soil Mapping Process.235

Field Operation and Equipment  241

Soil Survey Manual iii Soil Identification and Classification.245

Soil Map Units 248

Kinds of Map Units. 256

Minor Components Within Map Units 260

Designing and Documenting Map Units 262

Naming Map Units  265

Orders of Soil Surveys 268

Correlation Steps 276

Quality Control and Quality Assurance 280

Records and Documentation 281

Soil Handbook 284

Soil Maps Made by Other Methods 289

Supporting Data 291

References 292

Chapter 5 Digital Soil Mapping

Principles and Concepts 295

Stages and Processes299

Applications of Digital Soil Mapping 341

Summary  346


Chapter 6.—

Tools for Proximal Soil Sensing

Introduction 355

Common Geophysical Methods. 356

Less Common Proximal Sensing Methods 376

References 387

Chapter 7 Soil Survey Data Collection, Management, and Dissemination

Introduction  395

Automated Data Processing in Soil Survey 396

Recording Data and Information—Field and Lab 400

Soil Information Systems 415

History of Soil Data Management in the U.S 421

References 432

Chapter 8

Interpretations: The Impact of Soil Properties on Land Use

Introduction 433

Interpretive Models 436

Current U.S. Interpretive System  440

Map Units and Soil Interpretations 446

Interpretive Soil Properties.449

Dynamic Soil Properties 456

Interpretive Applications 457

Areal Application of Interpretations 475

References 478

Chapter 9 Assessing Dynamic Soil Properties and Soil Change

Importance of DSPs 481

How to Collect DSPs for Soil Survey 483

Data Collection Plan4 89

Analyzing Dynamic Soil Property Data. 497

Summary of DSPs in Soil Survey 501

References 502

Chapter 10

Subaqueous Soil Survey

Introduction  505

Sampling, Description, Characterization, and Classification 506

Soil-Landscape Relationships 513

Significance of Subaqueous Soil Information 519

References 521

Chapter 11 Human-Altered and Human Transported Soils

Survey Methods and Procedures 525

Introduction 525

Background  526Importance 531

Occurrence 532

Identification 532

Description  536

Survey Methods and Procedures. 537

Pedon Descriptions. 549

References 552

Appendix 1 Official Soil Series Description

Olton Series 555

Appendix 2

Detailed Map Unit Description

OcA—Olton clay loam, 0 to 1 percent slopes 561

Appendix 3 NCSS Soil Characterization Database

Appendix 4 Web Soil Survey 

Soil Survey Maps and Map Products 573

Index 587


The Manual is intended primarily for use by soil scientists and surveyors engaged in the work of making soil surveys. Workers and students who have limited soil science experience or are less familiar with the soil survey process can also use the information. Teachers, researchers, and students of soil science and related disciplines, especially those interested in pedology, soil morphology, soil geography, ecology, geomorphology, and the science underlying soil survey, will find this manual useful. Resource specialists, such as wetland scientists, foresters, and agronomists, and others who use soil surveys in their work, can refer to the Manual to better understand how soil surveys are made and how to interpret the technical information they provide.

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Supersedes 1962 and 1993 editions of the manual.
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  • Soil Science
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