COURSE SUMMARY: This course is appropriate for advanced undergraduate and graduate students and is an overview of the science of pedology, which is devoted to soil formation and its examination in natural settings. We will review the factors that combine to form soil, soil features that can be measured in the field and laboratory, and the physical and biological processes that form soil features. We will also examine the importance of some aspects of soil formation in larger contexts such as climate change, land use patterns and paleoclimatic reconstructions.
TEXTBOOKS: Soils: Genesis and Geomorphology, Schaetzel and Anderson Keys to Soil Taxonomy, Soil Survey Staff
Recommended: Soil taxonomy: a basic system of soil classification…, Soil Survey Staff
EXAMINATIONS AND CREDIT BREAKDOWN:
Problem Sets (5) 20% Midterm Exam 20% Final Exam (take-home) 20% Topical Paper 20% Presentation 20% Total 100%
PROBLEM SETS: There will be problem sets assigned approximately every two weeks and they will be due the following week. You are welcome to collaborate in groups on these, but your work must be your own.
EXAMS: The midterm exam will be taken in-class and open-note. You may use your course notes, problem sets and the texts assigned for the course. You may not use any electronic resource, or discussion with anyone during the exam. The final exam will be take-home and will be assigned on the last day of class, and will be due approximately one week later. You may use any resources you choose on the final exam, but you may not discuss it with your classmates or anyone else.
PAPER AND PRESENTATION: Each student will research a pedological or soil-related topic of their choosing, write a short (6-8 page) paper on it, and give a 20-minute presentation on their topic during the final exam period for the course. During the semester, we will circulate a sign-up list so there is no duplication of topics. Each student is encouraged to research and present on a topic they find interesting and/or is relevant to their research.
1 Introduction to soil development and soil classification Models of soil formation