Soil scientists provided soils training to Rice University students taking an earth science class. Soil scientists Dennis Brezina, Bryan Zone Office; Kenneth Hall, Dr Nelson Rolong, and Jon Wiedenfeld from the MLRA 150 Soil Survey Office provided the training in October. The class taught by Dr. Caroline Masiello, Assistant Professor at Rice University, received the hands on instruction on the identification and description of soil features.
The students were studying a unit on soils, and the opportunity to have professional soil scientists that work with soil daily give their expertise has really reinforced the classroom instruction says Masiello. All of these students will have a need to understand a technical soil description at some point in there careers added Dr. Masiello. A pit was excavated on Rice University property in Houston in a typical urban influenced soil. With coaching from the soil scientists, the students were able to describe soil color, texture, structure and major diagnostic features.
"The students were energetic and asked some pretty good questions," said Wiedenfeld. The academic background for this class varied from premedicine to engineering.
In addition, the MLRA 150 Soil Survey Office took samples from the site, which will be sent to the National Soil Survey Laboratory in Lincoln, Nebraska for characterization analysis. These data are used for the update of the soil survey of MLRA 150, Gulf Coast Prairies and to better understand soils forming in an urban environment.
This profile shows a typical urban soil, where fill has been added to a site to raise the elevation of the area. The original surface is located at about 70 centimeters.
Jon Wiedenfeld, soil scientist at Rosenberg, describing soil features to Rice University students.