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NSSH Part 631

Soil Survey Investigations

631.00  Definition and Purpose

Soil survey investigations are activities that develop and provide reliable new information and understanding about soils, soil relationships, and soil survey methods. Soil survey investigations:

  • supplement field information with laboratory and analytical data on the properties and behavior of soil;
  • develop field and laboratory methods;
  • provide a database of soil information;
  • provide concepts, methods, understanding, and predictions for soil survey interpretations and modeling; and
  • develop and provide theories and understanding to soil formation and the relationship of soils to genetic and landscape factors.

631.01  Policy and Responsibilities

  1. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has authorization for research in support of soil survey activities. Soil survey researchers of the NRCS coordinate with field, state soils staffs, and state conservationists of NRCS and partners of the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS). Investigations primarily focus on the soils of the United States, Puerto Rico, and trust territories. Researchers working in other countries coordinate with the NRCS International Conservation Division and the USDA Office of International Cooperation Division of the Foreign Agricultural Service.
  2. Investigations by the National Soil Survey Center respond to requests from NRCS soil survey, soil survey regional, or state offices, other branches of the NRCS, and other organizations. The National Soil Survey Center initiates some projects to advance the NCSS program.
  3. The National Soil Survey Center (NSSC) is responsible for:
    1. Leadership in regional and national research projects for soil surveys;
    2. Leadership in the federal research program in pedology;
    3. Manuals on laboratory procedures;
    4. Training for field investigations; and
    5. NCSS soil characterization and laboratory information management system (LIMS) databases.
  4. The soil survey regional office (SSRO) is responsible for:
    1. Approval of field soil survey investigations;
    2. Attribute data in the National Soil Information System;
    3. Identifying data voids;
    4. Coordinating work plans with cooperators;
    5. Requesting National Soil Survey Center assistance;
    6. Ensuring complete pedon descriptions and accurate georeferenced locations for soil characterization samples; and
    7. Updating the classification of pedons in the National repository for laboratory data.
  5. The MLRA soil survey office leader is responsible for:
    1. Complete and accurate pedon descriptions and the classification of soils on sampling projects within the project area.

631.02  Kinds of Projects

  1. Laboratory Characterization Projects

    1. Characterization projects define the morphological, chemical, physical, and mineralogical properties of soils within a major land resource area. The data are included in soil survey reports at the discretion of the MLRA office team leader.
    2. Characterization projects usually include suites of standard laboratory analyses, which are defined in Section 631.03 (a).
    3. Laboratory characterization projects require work plans for the major land resource area. Exhibit 631-3 provides an example of a characterization work plan. The work plan identifies pedons and laboratory data that may be published in the soil survey.
  2. Research Projects

    1. Research projects define soil data relationships, soil genetic processes, soil-landscape relationships, soil interpretive applications, or criteria for soil classification. Research projects normally combine field observations and laboratory or special field analyses. Some projects examine existing data to reveal new data relationships or applications.
    2. An outline of the objectives, hypotheses, and methods of study for research projects reduces the complexity and helps report the results to other scientists.
    3. Research projects require work plans. Exhibit 631-1 gives an example of a research work plan checklist and Exhibit 631-2 gives an example work plan.
  3. Laboratory Reference Projects

    1. Reference projects answer a single question or at most very few questions, directed at quick analyses such as on particle-size class, base saturation, or mineralogy.
    2. Reference projects require basic documentation, including pedon descriptions, but do not require work plans.
  4. Other Kinds of Projects

    Other projects or services include landform and geomorphic studies, ground penetrating radar, other special measurements, extraction of information from the laboratory database, and literature searches.

    Liaisons and others at the National Soil Survey Center answer technical questions and help develop plans for a state, major land resource area, or other land area.

    The National Soil Survey Center staff cooperates on various projects with visiting scientists, including NRCS soil scientists. Studies by major land resource area, including soil survey updates, are an example.

    Listings of existing data for the area of interest are available and should be obtained prior to requesting additional data-gathering projects.

631.03  Laboratory Investigation Methods

  1. Standard Analyses

    Standard laboratory analyses include chemical, physical, and mineralogical analyses for classification of soils within soil taxonomy. Analyses also answer specific questions relating to soil survey interpretations and soil performance. The more routine analyses include particle-size, cation exchange capacity, base saturation, organic carbon, pH, calcium carbonate equivalent, salt, bulk density, water retention, and clay mineralogy.

    Laboratory analyses follow standards described in Soil Survey Investigations Report No. 42, Soil Survey Laboratory Methods Manual, Version 4.0, November 2004, USDA, NRCS. Only the laboratory data from standard analyses enters the permanent NCSS Soil Characterization database. Method codes identify the analytical method for these analyses.
  2. Special Analyses

    Some chemical, physical, and mineralogical analyses answer specific requests from states for conservation activities or to test new methods. Recurring requested analyses may become standard. Special analyses include published procedures used by other laboratories that have been developed or adapted by the NSSC Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory.
  3. Soil Sampling and Analysis

    1. A soil horizon is the primary sampling unit. For all characterization projects and some reference projects, all horizons to 2 meters are sampled unless strongly cemented to indurated bedrock (i.e., lithic contact) is at a lesser depth. The project work plan identifies the pedons to be sampled and analyses to be made.
    2. The soil survey office locates pedons for sampling that represent the soils and conditions of concern. Large excavations facilitate sampling. The sampling team records site data, including geomorphic information, vegetation, land use, and pedon description data before soil sampling begins.
    3. Most laboratory analyses use air-dry bulk samples that are screened through a 2-mm sieve. Bulk samples need to be large enough to represent the proportion of rock fragments up to 20 mm (3/4 in.) in diameter and to provide at least one quart of material less than 2 mm in diameter. Proportions of rock fragments larger than 20 mm (3/4 in.) in diameter are estimated by volume or by a combination of weight and volume in the field. Bulk density, coefficient of linear extensibility (COLE), and moisture retention determinations require clod samples which preserve the field configuration of pore space. The NSSC Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratoryhas detailed information on pedon sampling.
    4. The project objectives determine the analyses. The local and laboratory project coordinators jointly refine the objectives. Sampling protocol and standard laboratory analytical methods may be referenced in the Soil Survey Laboratory Methods Manual.
    5. The NSSC Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory, upon request, provides sampling equipment and supplies, such as bags, tags, shipping documents, saran for coating clods, clod boxes, etc., for sampling soils that are to be sent to the laboratory. The National Soil Survey Center budgets costs for analyses and assistance for projects with NRCS and NCSS cooperators based on available funding and workload requests.

631.04  Field Investigation Methods

  1. Landscape and Geomorphic Studies

    1. Geomorphic studies use standard geologic methods and concepts of geomorphic surfaces to understand the relations among soils and the various parts of the landscape. Geomorphic surfaces can identify landscape elements that share a common geologic time component and can establish how different landforms and their materials relate to each other.
    2. Field investigations of soil-geomorphic relations require detailed studies of the surficial geology and geomorphology of a small area. In the process, these patterns are related to the occurrence and distribution of soils.
    3. The four phases of a field investigation are: (1) determining the surficial geology, such as deposits and stratigraphy, (2) identifying the geomorphic surfaces to help establish the landscape and time frame, (3) establishing spatial relations through elevation and distance control, and (4) relating soil patterns to geomorphic units.
    4. States initiate field investigations with a request for technical assistance to the National Soil Survey Center, as described in Section 631.06. Obtain local assistance through national soil survey cooperators, state geological surveys, and universities.
  2. Ground-Penetrating Radar and Electromagnetic Ground Conductivity Meter

    1. Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) reveals differential transmission, reflectance, and attenuation of the radar signal within soil. It indicates the depth and horizontal continuity of objects, horizons, or layers below the soil surface. Observation depths range from less than a meter in clays to thirty meters in some sands.
    2. Ground-penetrating radar helps to evaluate small-scale patterns of soil variability and estimate the composition of soil map units. It evaluates the continuity of root-restricting layers, and reveals other features and patterns that are important for soil mapping but are not clearly related to surface features.
    3. Several NRCS state offices maintain ground-penetrating radar equipment and operators. The National Soil Survey Center staff applies ground-penetrating radar to characterize soils and soil variability, determine the depths to diagnostic soil horizons, map bedrock surfaces and fractures, profile geomorphic and stratigraphic features, profile organic deposits and estimate peat reserves, and detect buried utilities, hazardous waste containers, and artifacts. The National Soil Survey Center offers this service to the agency and cooperating groups.
    4. Electromagnetic induction (EMI) estimates the electric conductivity of soil materials at variable depths below the soil surface. The electrical conductivity of soils is influenced by the type and concentration of ions in solution, the amount and type of clays in the soil matrix, the volumetric water content, and the temperature and phase of the soil water.
    5. Electromagnetic induction uses electromagnetic energy to measure the apparent conductivity of earthen materials. Values of apparent conductivity are seldom diagnostic, but lateral and vertical variations in these measurements help to infer changes in soil types and soil properties, depths to contrasting layers and bedrock, and the locations of buried cultural features. Interpretations of the data base on the identification of spatial patterns within data sets.
    6. Several NRCS state offices maintain electromagnetic induction or towed array resistivity devices and operators. The National Soil Survey Center staff applies this technology to characterize soils and soil variability for many purposes. These purposes include precision farming and high intensity soil surveys, assess the distribution of saline and sodium affected soils, locate and map contaminant plumes emanating from waste-holding facilities, filter strips, mine tailing ponds or landfills, locate buried artifacts and areas of disturbed soils, and select sampling or monitoring sites. The Center loans instruments and offers field assistance and training to the agency and cooperating groups.
  3. Other Special Measurements and Instrumentation

    The National Soil Survey Center offer other special equipment, such as electrical resistance blocks for water content and water suction, salinity meters, soil moisture and temperature sensors, and various permeameters for special investigations. Global positioning devices help document the locations of measurements. The center also provides simple, noncommercial methods to measure diverse properties, such as clod and crust rupture resistance, the near-surface bulk density of fragile soil materials, and roughness.

631.05  Investigations Planning

  1. Objectives

    Work plans focus the question, identify the resources required, and schedule the necessary steps. Research and full characterization projects require a written work plan because of the complexity and duration of the project; the number and location of participants; the magnitude of time, funds, and other resources required; and the relationships of organizations.
  2. Planning Process

    1. Project initiation

      Anyone within the NCSS or even from outside the NCSS may recognize the need and initiate an investigations project. The memorandum of understanding for a project soil survey often initiates projects. The soil survey project office may identify an investigations need as a survey progresses. Review of the laboratory data within the major land resource area may show gaps in information and consequently lead to an investigation project. State, regional, national, or international initiatives may also generate a need for special projects.

    2. Project definition

      A cooperative effort by several investigators from more than one agency may provide project objectives and background information. If projects are within a survey area, the project soil scientist and staff draft the objectives, background, and needs of the project.

    3. Scheduling and responsibilities

      The person who initiated the investigations usually is responsible for scheduling and arranging for resources that are required to conduct the investigation. This information is outlined in the project work plan. For reference projects, the time and nature of information needed are in letter or oral agreements. For small projects with analyses, the letter of transmittal accompanying the samples includes the necessary information. Send copies of correspondence to appropriate administrators and interested technical people.

  3. Work Plans

    Project work plans provide background information about the study area, survey project, scientific issues, resource relationships, or other concerns to identify the scope, objectives, and requirements. Work plans clearly specify the objectives, the needs, and the expected benefits. They assign responsibilities, estimate the resources needed, and outline how the results will be made available and used. Exhibit 631-3 shows a checklist and example work plan for a research project.

631.06  Requesting Assistance

Prior to the beginning of each fiscal year (usually by July 10), the National Soil Survey Center requests soil survey offices, soil survey regional offices, and States to submit their needs for assistance for the following year. Responses to those requests allow the National Soil Survey Center to allot resources and plan travel. The project work plan is to accompany the submission. Project work plans should be coordinated with cooperators prior to submission. The laboratory returns the work plan to the originator with comments and suggestions before work is begun on the project.

For reference projects, the request for assistance may accompany the samples and confirmed orally or in writing through the liaisons.

All submissions of samples should include a list of the pedons and horizons sampled and pedon descriptions. It is desirable to have a statement of the problem and any time constraints that one may have.

Liaisons for the National Soil Survey Center to the various soil survey regional offices (SSRO) and other staff members are available for the discussion, planning, and development of proposals for technical assistance on an informal basis at any time.

631.07  Laboratory Databases

  1. National Cooperative Soil Survey Soil Characterization Database

    The database, located in Lincoln, Nebraska, currently contains data for more than 23,000 pedons from analyses performed at the NSSC Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory (KSSL) and from the three pre-existing NRCS laboratories (at Riverside, CA, Beltsville, MD, and Lincoln, NE). The laboratory adds data from more than 600 pedons annually. Beginning in 2009, the characterization data from NCSS cooperating laboratories began to be added to the database. Customers may access the data through the National Cooperative Soil Survey Soil Characterization Data webpage. The data are also available on one CD-ROM disk. Access to the indexed data through the online database is by state and county, by major land resource area(s), by classes of soil taxonomy, or by several other criteria.
  2. Maintaining Data for Laboratory Pedons

    1. Each laboratory pedon includes data for the taxonomic classification, latitude, longitude, map unit symbol, state, soil survey area, location of the sampled pedon, source of the data, kinds of analyses available, and other information. This information requires periodic maintenance to keep it current and accurate.
    2. The soil survey regional office updates the data at any time by sending updated information to the staff of the Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory. Contact the regional liaison for information on how the data may be submitted.

Exhibit 631-1—Research Work Plan Checklist

1. Statement of Problem

  • concise summary
  • questions that illustrate problem and should be answered by the study
  • operational, such as "need to know in order to" rather than just need to know

2. Justification

  • local importance, such as for county
  • implications for wider application, such as at State and regional levels
  • benefit(s) to the soil survey program

3. Background

  • setting, such as climate, geology, landscapes, or soils.
  • soil series and their classification
  • persons familiar with the problem, such as those in NRCS or at a university.
  • specific background work pertaining to the problem, such as fieldwork, reviews, preliminary data gathering

4. Information Needed

  • geomorphic assistance
  • literature review
  • evaluation of existing data
  • information to be gathered in present study

5. Actions and Assignments

  • projected time table
  • project coordinators such as the person in the state whom the National Soil Survey Center staff should contact
  • Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory assistance needed:
    • analyses suggested, such as specific questions to be answered for each soil and or horizon (complete analyses are not necessarily needed for limited, specific problems)
    • persons involved, including when and for what, and any necessary travel, etc.
  • report responsibility
  • report review responsibility
  • distribution and application of data, such as within state or in other states.

6. Illustrations

  • diagrams and illustrations that define study area location, soil-landscape, and stratigraphic relationships.

Exhibit 631-2—Example Research Work Plan

IN MLRAs 113, 114, AND 115

Sam J. Jones
MLRA Project Office
Belleville, IL

The Problem

(a) A significant portion of St. Clair County, and portions of Randolph, Monroe, Washington, Clinton, Bond, Fayette, and Marion Counties (Figure 1) are underlain by glaciofluvial and lacustrine deposits. These deposits can range in age from pre-Illinoian (formerly designated as Kansan or Nebraskan, and now grouped together as middle Pleistocene) to Woodfordian (mid to late Wisconsinan or late Pleistocene) or even to Holocene. The youngest of these deposits related to glacial activity is correlated with the Equality Formation (described by Willman and Frye, 1970). The fluvial deposits in the present flood plain area are correlated with the Cahokia Alluvium.

(b) The younger deposits in Glacial Lake Kaskaskia are part of the Equality Formation. Most of these areas are covered by Peoria Loess, except for the lowermost Woodfordian and possibly the early Holocene terrace level, which appears to have little or no loess cover (Figure 2). Extensive areas of Iva, Weir, Piasa, Herrick, Virden, and other similar soils were mapped on the other terraces along the Kaskaskia River. These soils typically formed in materials considered to be associated with upland positions.

(c) The original field sheets for the St. Clair County soil survey showed mapping units represented by tentative symbols, such as V308 (Alford), V453 (Muren), T16 (Rushville), V47 (Virden), T453B (Muren), and T454A (Iva). "V" was used for variant and "T" for terrace. These symbols were used to suggest differences in stratigraphy that do not traditionally occur in these upland soils. Documentation and correspondence during the survey also supported differences in stratigraphy. These differences were included in the "Formation of the Soils" section of the St. Clair County soil survey (Figure 3) (Wallace, 1978) but not included in the mapping and classification of the soils in the county. One of the main reasons for this exclusion was the emphasis in the 1978 survey on the description and classification of the soils to a depth of only 60 inches.

(d) More recently, the terrace/upland problem has been recognized in adjacent counties. During the recently completed Clinton County soil survey, soils formed in lacustrine deposits were mapped as T46 (Herrick), T47 (Virden), and 474 (Piasa). Soils mapped in mapping units T47 and 474 were eventually classified as a Montgomery taxajunct (a soil developed in lacustrine material), and a new soil series was developed in lieu of terraced-positioned Herrick soil mapped in map unit T46 to recognize the importance of the lacustrine parent material.

(e) Questions have arisen on the impact of these terrace soils and underlying materials on water availability for crops, crop yields, and water quality. The Iva (86 bu/ac), Herrick (89 bu/ac), and Virden (91 bu/ac) upland soils have relatively high corn yields listed in University of Illinois Circular 1156 (Fehrenbacher et al., 1978) compared to the listed yields of the traditional terrace soils, which include Okaw (47 bu/ac) and Hurst (52 bu/ac). Also, the yield on areas on the terrace mapped as Piasa is much higher than that listed for the Piasa (52 bu/ac) that is traditionally mapped as an upland soil. These discrepancies have been brought to light in recent tax appeals to the State Board of Review. Differences in observed yields suggest differences in soils and available moisture for crop growth. These differences also suggest that the clayey substratum of the terrace soils influence the available water and the movement of the water through the soil.

(f) The problem involves not only accurately mapping and classifying the surface soils but also accurately identifying and mapping the underlying materials, which influence the genesis, classification, and management of these soils. The objective of this study is to accurately identify soils, parent materials, and stratigraphy in the Glacial Lake Kaskaskia area. The hypothesis is that soils in the Glacial Lake Kaskaskia area differ from the upland soils, and that this difference is reflected in stratigraphy, physical and chemical soil properties, water status, and crop yields. Studying these soils in detail will provide more accurate interpretations for agricultural and urban uses in the Glacial Lake area and the adjoining upland areas.


The Kaskaskia River glaciofluvial and lacustrine deposits occur in eight counties. The drainage basin of the Kaskaskia River covers 3,712,640 acres. The importance of the surficial and subsurficial materials in the Kaskaskia River Basin to agriculture and to the ground-water quality of the area is evident. Rapid urban growth is occurring in St. Clair, Randolph, and Monroe Counties, and therefore, more urban and agricultural demands are being made on water that is supplied by the Kaskaskia River Basin. St. Clair County is currently being updated as part of the Major Land Resource Area Soil Survey Update program in Illinois. Not only will the update in St. Clair County benefit from this study, all updates of the other counties within MLRAs 113, 114, and 115 that have glaciofluvial and lacustrine deposits will also benefit. The information gained in this study will improve the credibility of the soil survey by supplying the survey users with more accurate and precise soil maps and interpretations. We will also be gathering soils and geology information at greater depths.


(a) Most of the soils in the study area are the types that occur on uplands. The uplands consist mainly of the Illinoian glacial till plain or glacial outwash plain that is covered by loess. The total thickness of the Peoria Loess and Roxana Silt ranges from 100 feet in the western part of the area to 4 or 5 feet in the eastern part. Soils on the terraces formed in loess less than 60 inches thick overlying clayey material or in the clayey material. There are also extensive areas of alluvial lands and bottomlands that drain to the Kaskaskia River, which, drains into the Mississippi River.

(b) The focus of this study is to determine the boundary between the upland areas, represented primarily by soils formed in loess over glacial till, and the areas represented primarily by soils formed in glaciofluvial and lacustrine deposits. The difficulty in determining this boundary was well documented by the former soil survey leader of the 1978 St. Clair County soil survey and his primary survey members. Historical correspondence between the soil survey party, the Illinois State Geological Survey, and the MLRA staff shows the difficulty and importance of making this determination. Unfortunately, the separations made by the soil survey party were dropped during correlation and final publication. This action was due to the emphasis on studying the soil to a depth of only 60 inches and to the emphasis on the taxonomic placement of pedons. The MLRA update surveys will include more detailed descriptions at greater depths in order to meet the demands of modern agriculture and urbanization.

Information Needed

A soil-geomorphic/soil-stratigraphy study would be appropriate to determine the characteristics and extent of the glacial lake and to examine the relationship of these deposits to the distribution of soils across the landscape. From this study we could expand our knowledge of geomorphology and pedogenesis and gain a greater understanding of the geologic history of the Kaskaskia River Basin.

Action and Assignments

(a) The MLRA update office requests the assistance of the staff at the National Soil Survey Center in Lincoln, NE. The Illinois Soil Survey Laboratory liaison is familiar with the area. He has expressed interest in working on this problem and would be of great assistance in determining the soil-geomorphic/soil-stratigraphy relationships.

(b) The coordinators for the study will be the MLRA project coordinator, the area soil scientist at Carbondale, IL, and the Illinois State Soil Scientist. I will be the contact person. Other participants will be personnel from the Illinois State University and soil scientists in MLRAs 113, 114, and 115.

(c) Deep cores taken with a hydraulic probe and pits will be used to describe soils and sediments and to collect samples for appropriate chemical, physical, and mineralogical analyses.

(d) The study will be carried out in stages. The first stage will begin in November in St. Clair County. Transects will be made across three major valleys in St. Clair County: the Kaskaskia, Silver Creek, and Richland Creek valleys. Deep cores (at depths > 20 feet) will be taken in transects perpendicular to each valley. A minimum of four cores will be taken in each transect; and each transect will begin in the upland and continue down an interfluve to the predicted terrace level, across the river channel to the terrace level on the other side, and again up an interfluve to the upland. Transect and core locations will be determined from topographic data and existing core data. We will determine the geomorphic and stratigraphic relationships with emphasis on identifying the presence or absence of the Sangamon Geosol. The Sangamon Geosol is a key marker in identifying upland positions.

(e) Tracing the Sangamon towards the streams will reveal where the Sangamon has been eroded out of the valley. At the erosional boundary we expect the surface to be covered by Wisconsinan deposits, and in places it may be lacustrine (slack water deposits). Therefore, we need to examine the water regime characteristics at this geologic boundary to determine its influence on the distribution of modern soils (especially "problem" soils, such as Natraqualfs).

(f) In places the development of the present soils in loess over the Pearl Formation with a Sangamon Geosol is different than that of the soils in loess over the Sangamon Geosol in till. The soils in the Pearl Formation are commonly developed to a greater depth and in places are better agronomic soils. This relationship may, in part, explain the higher yields of the Piasa mapped on the terrace as compared to the yields for the Piasa mapped on the upland.

(g) The results from the first stage of this study will be used to guide the investigations in other counties that contain Kaskaskia glaciofluvial and lacustrine sediments. After determining the soil geomorphic and soil stratigraphic relationships in St. Clair County, the next portion of the study will take place downstream in Monroe and Randolph Counties and upstream in Washington, Clinton, Fayette, Bond, and Marion Counties. We hope to begin this portion of the study in the spring of 1992. The goal is to map the areal distribution of glaciofluvial and lacustrine sediments in the eight-county study area and eventually throughout Southern Illinois and to determine the influence of these sediments on the genesis, morphology, classification, and management of the modern soils. The results of this study will be published and distributed to states that have extensive glaciofluvial and lacustrine sediments.

Summary of Plan of Action

(a) The MLRA project coordinator in conjunction with the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) will perform a literature review. (Completed 11/91).

(b) The details of the experimental design and laboratory needs will be determined by the MLRA project coordinator, the area soil scientist, the liaison for the National Soil Survey Center, and the Illinois State Geological Survey. At this time we will determine what water table, hydraulic conductivity, and yield data are needed for the study. (Completed 11/91).

(c) The fieldwork for the study will begin with 1 or 2 weeks of fieldwork in 11/91 and with cooperation between the Illinois NRCS, ISGS, and the National Soil Survey Center.

(d) Information gathered from the first three steps will guide the direction of the next portion of the fieldwork that is to be carried out in 3/92.

(e) It is envisioned that the study will take 3 to 4 years to ensure sufficient collection of soils, yield, and water table data.


Fehrenbacher, J.B., R.A. Pope, I.J. Jansen, J.D. Alexander, and B.W. Ray. 1978. Soil productivity in Illinois. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, Circular 1156.

Wallace, D.L. 1978. Soil Survey of St. Clair County, Illinois. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

Willmam, H.B., and J.C. Frye. 1970. Pleistocene stratigraphy of Illinois. Illinois State Geological Survey Bulletin, 94, 204 pp.

Exhibit 631-3—Example of a Soil Characterization Work Plan



State Kansas
Date September 15, 1990
Investigation project name: Brown County Study
County (Counties) Brown
Plan prepared by Jim Jones
In-state contact(s) Jim Jones
Actively cooperating agencies Kansas Agricultural Exp. Sta.

Give the area or region of sampling, if appropriate, or the name(s) of soil survey area(s) if they are different from the county (counties) identified above.

Reason for Investigations Project:

Underscore the number for the primary reason(s) for the project.

1. Needs of current project soil survey
2. Survey update or modernization
3. Interpretations problem
4. Regional recorrelation or redefinition of series.
5. Study of genetic factors, processes, relationships
6. Support of other activity (such as an agronomic study)
7. Other (specify)

Intended Use of Project Information:

Underscore the number for the primary uses.

1. Characterize series or phase
2. Document experimental or study site(s)
3. Determine classification
4. Support correlation
5. Test Soil Taxonomy
6. Study soil relationships
7. Included in the published soil survey report
8. Other (specify)

For items 4, 5, 6, or 7, list questions to be answered.

Assistance Requested:

Help with sampling?

Which year(s): 1990 -
Lab analyses from: KSSL Only x KSSL and:
If data needed in less than 1 year, when? - -
Consultation before sampling? yes no
Field study before sampling? yes no
Reference samples to guide site selection? yes no
Help with sampling? yes no
Sampling equipment from KSSL? yes no
1. Number of pedons: 5-7 -
2. Approximate number of samples: 50-55 -
3. Ship to: Name -
- NRCS -
- Address -
- Town, State Zip -
Proposed date for sampling: May 7-11, 1990 -
Alternative date(s): - -

Status of Site Selection:

Sample sites have been identified - -
a. specific pedons? yes no
b. specific area (within 500 feet)? yes no
c. general area (with a mile or two)? yes no
Transect information available yes no
If a is no, when will pedons be selected? - -

Persons or Agencies Responsible:

Site selection Project Office
Excavation of pits: Local NRCS
Tools, equipment, materials KSSL
Descriptions and classification State Personnel
Sample shipment Kansas State Office
Analyses, other than KSSL none
Other -

Other Pertinent Information:
(may be supplied by attachments, such as official series descriptions, if applicable)

Pedon 5:
Amego soil does not have free carbonates in the solum.
The soils mapped in Brown County do.

Complete Table 1 for all projects; list alternatives if purpose is to check classification. Complete other tables insofar as information is readily available.

Table 1 - Classification of Pedons to be Sampled

Pedon Number Classification to Family Series (and phase, if important)
1 Typic Hapludolls
fine-silty, mixed, superactive, mesic
2 Aquertic Argiudolls
fine, smectitic, mesic
3 Aquertic Argiudolls
fine, smectitic, mesic
4 Typic Hapludolls
loamy, mixed, superactive, mesic, shallow
5 Typic Argiudolls
fine, mixed, superactive, mesic

*Pedons to be sampled may not be representative of the named series but may become new series.

Table 2 - Extent of Series or Other Class Represented

Pedon Number Estimated Extent, acres
This Survey Area State Total
1 - 173,000 1,600,000
2 - 2,000 111,000
3 - 97,000 97,000
4 - 132,000 132,000
5 - 39,000 39,000

Table 3 - Genetic Factors of Soil
(Attach block diagrams, geologic cross section, etc., if available)

Pedon Number Parent Material Landscape Material Drainage Class Vegetation Other
1 Loess Upland ridge W Corn -
2 Till Convex summit MW Wheat -
3 Alluvium Low terrace SP Soybeans -
4 Shale Steep upland E Pasture -
5 Shale, ss Narrow ridge W Native grass -

Table 4 - Useful Data Available for These or Similar Soils
(Use lines as needed for each pedon to be sampled)

Pedon Number Year & State County or other Similar Pedons Previously Analyzed
NRCS Lab Series Family Same Similar Other
3 KS1983 Morris KSSL Series -
5 KS1987 Wabaunsee KSSL Series -