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Soil and Research Laboratory

The Charles E. Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory (KSSL) is the key source for soil analytical data for the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS). The KSSL receives samples from soil survey project offices located throughout the continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii as well as from cooperating partners at universities and other government and non-government organizations. The KSSL:

  • Conducts analyses needed to classify soils and to support soil use. The full characterization of a soil survey sampling site typically requires 30 or more analyses.
  • Develops and maintains the standards for the specific analytical methods required for soil classification according to Soil Taxonomy.
  • Is directly involved in method development and analysis for cutting-edge soil science activities within the Soil Science and Plant Division, such as coastal zone soil survey and infrared spectrometry for soil analysis.
  • Conducts analyses requested by NRCS State and resource soil scientists, who provide technical soil services to NRCS soil conservationists in field offices throughout the country. The data supports conservation activities involving soil health, wetlands, and ecological sites.
  • Works directly with a team of NRCS research soil scientists located within the lab facility.
  • Maintains a publicly accessible database of historic soil analytical data and associated site information from thousands of sites in all States and worldwide.
  • Curates what may be the world’s largest collection of analyzed and cataloged soil samples, some of which date to before 1940.



Research Focus Areas