Category Archives: Terminology

The Soil Orders – Spodosols

This is the third of a series of blog posts where I will describe some of the interesting features of each of the 12 soil orders in Soil Taxonomy – the soil classification system developed for the US by the … Continue reading

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Sizing Up Soil Structure

Today’s post will focus on soil structure. Previously, soil texture was defined as the relative proportion of soil particles (sand, silt, and clay). Soil structure is the arrangement of those soil particles into aggregates, or peds. Soil structure is important … Continue reading

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Getting a Feel for Soil Texture

One of the most important characteristics of soils is soil texture. Soil, by definition, consists of particles less than 2 mm in diameter. Soil texture is the proportion of sand, silt, and clay particles that are of soil size (2 … Continue reading

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The Soil Orders – Gelisols

This is the first of a series of blog posts where I will describe some of the interesting features of each of the 12 soil orders in Soil Taxonomy – the soil classification system developed for the US by the … Continue reading

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The Art of Soil Color

Soils from around the world differ greatly. One reason for that is color, as evidenced in the header of this website. Colors were first standardized by Professor Albert H. Munsell on a system with three components: hue, value, and chroma. … Continue reading

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A Spade is a Spade… or Sharp Shooter

I’ve been in grad school at NC State for almost 4 straight years now. Ever since I’ve arrived in North Carolina, I’ve thought that the use of the word “sharp shooter” to describe a tile spade (what I’ve always refferred … Continue reading

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“Soil” vs. “Dirt”

As a soil scientist I often hear non-soil scientists refer to soil as “dirt”, or people even ask me if there’s a difference. In my mind there is. The simple difference is this: “dirt is soil where it’s not supposed … Continue reading

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