15 January 2015

Do you know your state soil?

Did you even know that your state has an official "state soil"?

The Minnesota one is "Lester" -
Named after the town of Lester Prairie, Lester is a nutrient-rich soil ideal for the growing of pasture grasses and crops such as soybeans and corn. It is present in approximately sixteen Minnesota counties and covers over 400,000 acres. Lester was chosen by the Minnesota Association of Professional Soil Scientists for fitting four criteria: it is based in Minnesota, is extensively located and economically important, and is photogenic
I suppose one could argue over the "photogenic" attribute.  I've embedded at the right a 6-foot-deep soil profile from the aforementioned Minnesota Soil Scientists website.  The description is actually quite interesting:
Soil scientists describe the layers as "horizons" using the scientific notation on the right side of the soil photo. The following is a brief description of each horizon.
A Horizon
– This is the surface horizon. It is darker than other horizons as it contains the most organic matter. Organic matter coats and stains the soil particles. The organic matter comes from annual accumulation of plant material that decomposes in the soil each year.
E Horizon
– This horizon is grayer than the other layers since it has been leached of clay and organic matter by water movement through the soil. Soils that have trees growing on them long term have these horizons as the decomposing leaf litter is more acid. Soils that have grasses growing on them typically lack E horizons.
Bt Horizon
– This horizon has clay accumulation that leached from the horizons above. This layer has the most clay in the Lester profile and has the most effect on water movement, compaction, and workability. The lower part of this horizon has the most clay and organic coatings in root and earth worm pores and faces of peds.
Bk Horizon
– Calcium carbonate (lime) accumulates in this horizon as a result of being leached from the surface when the soil was first forming about 12,000 years before present. It often has a higher pH than any other horizon.
C Horizon
– This is the unaltered parent material produced by glaciers grinding up rocks and stones as they moved through Minnesota. It has had little or no soil development and looks much like it did when first deposited.
More at the link.  You can look up your state's state soil here.

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