Soil geomorphology and identification

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Courtesy of Stevens Water Monitoring Systems, Inc.

When working with or studying the soil, it’s important to know what type of soil is being examined. Each type of soil has different characteristics, and will have different effects on water infiltration rates, water holding capacity, Evapotranspiration rate, and other soil characteristics.

Soil sensors (also known as soil probes) are one popular way of measuring soil moisture, temperature level, conductivity, and other characteristics that are important to researchers, farmers, and others who rely on soil data for their work.

Measurements taken by the Stevens Hydra Probe II are not influenced by soil texture and bulk density, as the soil moisture calibration is very accurate. With this level of accuracy the user can make soil moisture comparisons between different types of soils.

The following guide is an overview of soil properties (soil geomorphology), with follow-up links to online resources for more information.

Soil Texture

An easy way to help determine what type of soil you have is to simply feel it to determine texture and thus what the primary makeup of the soil is. Grab a baseball size portion of the soil in your hands and wet the soil with water, working the moist soil with your hands. The stickier it is, the more clay there is. The soapier the soil feels the higher the silt content. Grittiness is indicative of sand. The soil texture triangle to the right shows the 12 major soil texture classes and what percent of each type soil makes them up.

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