Soils References for the Alaska Envirothon
Soils References for the Alaska Envirothon Soil Study Material
Soil Characterization Protocols
Careers in Soil Science
Glossary of Soil Science Terms, from the Soil Science Society of America
Soil pH: What it means, from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
These documents require Adobe Acrobat:
From the Surface Down - An Introduction to Soil Surveys for Agronomic Use
Determining Soil Texture by the Feel Method, from Kansas State University
Key to Soil Taxonomy
Soil Erosion from NRCS USDA
Understanding Soil Risks and Hazards from NRCS USDA
Soil Survey of Upper Tanana Area, Alaska
Illustration, Charts, and Tables
For an Envirothon, it is important to be familiar with how to use a clinometer to measure slope, a topographic map to measure relief
and write legal descriptions. It is also necessary to understand a Munsell color book, a textural triangle, and a soil survey.
The primary purpose of a legal description (title description) is to describe a particular parcel of land in a way that uniquely describes only the subject parcel, without ambiguity. In the United States, the most common methods used to describe land are by reference to a lot, by the township and range system, by metes and bounds, or by a combination of these. Township and Range System descriptions are legal descriptions using the nomenclature of the U.S. Public Land Survey System. This would include references to portions of Sections, Townships, and Ranges. Land within rural or undeveloped land is often described this way. A typical legal description of this nature would read something like "The northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 30, Township 1 North, Range 70 West of the Sixth Principal Meridian" (a portion of downtown Boulder). Each occurrence of the word "quarter" indicates the division of the section (roughly one mile square) into quadrants (quarters), with each quarter being progressively divided into further quarters.
Terms used in the Township and Range System:
Section: Basic unit of the system, a square tract of line one mile by one mile containing 640 acres.
Township: 36 sections arranged in a 6 by 6 array, measuring 6 miles by 6 miles. Sections are numbered beginning with the northeast-most section, proceeding west to 6, then south along the west edge of the township and to the east.
Range: Assigned to a township by measuring east or west of a Principal Meridian
Range Lines: North to south lines which mark township boundaries
Township Lines: East to west lines which mark township boundaries
Principal Meridian: Reference or beginning point for measuring east or west ranges.
Base line: Reference or beginning point for measuring north or south townships.
How the Township and Range System Works:
A specific township is identified as being north or south of a particular baseline and east or west of a particular principal meridian. For example, T3N, R1E of the 3rd Principle Meridian is the third township north of the baseline in the first range east of the Third Principle Meridian. This particular 36 square-mile area is located in southern Illinois. The land description generally starts with the smallest part of the description and proceeds to the largest definition. For example, SE1/4 of NW1/4 of Section 3, T3N, R1E, 3rd PM would be the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section 3 in township 3 north, range 2 east.