The map produced by William Smith in 1815 is recognized as the first geological map of Britain, but it also represents a benchmark in cartography for the Earth sciences. Following the agrogeology concepts of the time, the title claims that by mapping the geologic strata, the varieties of soil are also shown. The new opportunity to leverage the proper map scaling in topographic maps as a locational reference to map other Earth science attributes set the stage for other revolutions.
Author: Bradley Miller
A new depositional model for sand-rich loess on the Buckley Flats outwash plain, northwestern Lower Michigan
This landscape was originally interpreted as loess mixed with underlying sands. This paper re-evaluates this landscape through a spatial analysis of data from auger samples and soil pits. To better estimate the loamy sediment’s initial textures, we utilized “filtered” laser diffraction data, which remove much of the coarser sand data. Our new model for the origin of the loamy mantle suggests that the sands on the uplands were generated from eroding gullies and saltated onto the uplands along with loess that fell more widely.
Despite the soil science discipline in the USA hitting hard times in the 1980s and 1990s, there were still many positive advances within soil science in the USA during these two decades. There was an increased use of geophysical instrumentation, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and global positioning systems (GPS), and research began in digital soil mapping, all of which lead to better understanding of the spatial distribution and variability of soils. Digital soil mapping is being incorporated into the National Cooperative Soil Survey, and the impact of humans on the soil system is being fully recognized. The expansion of soils into new areas and widening recognition of the importance of soils gives the field hope for a bright future in the USA.
We all want to know the future, but what is the best way to predict what will happen? Assuming we don’t have a crystal ball or a time machine, we have to find patterns in the available information and use that make our best, informed guess. This is what scientists do. There is a spectrum … Continue reading Oracles and Science: The Trouble with Predictions
This study examines the spatial patterns and accuracies of predictions made by different spatial modelling methods on sample sets taken at two different scales. These spatial models are then tested on independent validation sets taken at three different scales. Each spatial modelling method produced similar, but unique, maps of soil organic carbon content (SOC%). Kriging approaches excelled at internal spatial prediction with more densely spaced sample points.
Categories of cartographic scale correspond to the selection of environmental soil predictors used to initially create historical soil maps. Paradigm shifts in soil mapping and classification can be best explained by not only their correlation to historical improvements in scientific understanding, but also by differences in purpose for mapping, and due to advancements in geographic technology. Although the hierarchy of phenomena scales observed in this study is generally known in pedology today, it also represents a new view on the evolution of soil science.
You can still take the survey to voice your perspective on the definitions of colluvium and alluvium! TAKE THE SURVEY
Soil mapping, classification, and pedologic modelling have been important drivers in the advancement of our understanding of soil. Advancement in one of these highly interrelated areas tend to lead to corresponding advances in the others. Traditionally, soil maps have been desirable for purposes of land valuation, agronomic planning, and even in military operations. The expansion of the use of soil knowledge to address issues beyond agronomic production, such as land use planning, environmental concerns, energy security, water security, and human health, to name a few, requires new ways to communicate what we know about the soils we map as well as bringing forth research questions that were not widely considered in earlier soils studies.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of high-resolution, minimally invasive sensor data to predict spatial variation of soil organic carbon stocks within highly degraded peatland soils in northeast Germany. Soil organic carbon density was related to elevation, electrical conductivity, and peat thickness. Modeling peat thickness based on sensor data needs additional research, but seems to be a valuable set of covariates in digital soil mapping.
What is Colluvium? An Interactive Poster Seeking a Common Definition to Improve International Communication (2015 SSSA Conference)
UPDATE: This poster was a test run for a survey asking the audience for their perspectives on how to differentiate colluvium and alluvium. That has now evolved into an online survey that you can now take. Respondents have told us that taking the survey was fun and thought-provoking. Please add your perspective by completing the … Continue reading What is Colluvium? An Interactive Poster Seeking a Common Definition to Improve International Communication (2015 SSSA Conference)