AGRASID 1.0: Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual - Glossary of Terms

 
 
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Agroclimate: Compilation of the average and extreme weather of an area as it affects agricultural cropping in that area. Agroclimatic classification in Alberta is based on limitations of available heat and/or moisture. 

Apron:
A relatively gentle slope extending along the foot of a steeper slope and formed of re deposited materials derived from the steeper, upper slope. 

Basin:
1) The drainage or catchment area of a stream or lake. 2) An extensive depressed area into which the adjacent land drains, and having no surface outlet. 

Bedrock:
Geological materials so hard and consolidated they cannot be dug with a shovel (i.e. by hand). Indurated layers created by soil-forming processes are excluded. 

Bench:
An elongate, narrow, horizontal or near-horizontal platform formed by differential erosion. Most Canadian Quaternary researchers apply the term only to features formed in bedrock; those formed by erosion of unconsolidated sediments are termed terraces. 

Block:
One of the 5 White area regions (Peace, SE, SW, NE, NW). 

Block leader:
The individual responsible for ensuring mapping consistency for a Block. 

Bog:
Sphagnum or forest peat materials occurring in an ombrotrophic (nutrient poor) wetland environment, often slightly elevated and disassociated from underlying nutrient-rich groundwater and mineral soils. Bog peat is usually extremely acid (pH <5.4) and undecomposed (fibric). 

Calcareous:
Descriptive of materials containing calcium carbonate. 

Channel:
(1) An extremely linear three-dimensional object, usually bounded only on the bottom and sides. (2) The trough-like form which contains a river and is shaped by the force of water flowing along it. Its shape is capable of accurate measurement. 

Clay:
1) A mineral particle less than 0.002 mm in equivalent diameter. Clay particles are often distinct clay minerals, but amorphous free oxides and primary minerals can also be clay sized. 2) A soil texture class. See soil texture. 

Coarse fragments:
Rock or mineral particles greater than 2.0 mm in diameter.  

Coarse Textured:
A broad textural grouping that refers to soils or materials dominated by sand, loamy sand, and sandy loam textural classes. 

Colluvial:
Materials that have reached their present position by direct, gravity induced movement. 

Conglomerate:
Sedimentary rock composed of rounded coarse fragments cemented together, the predominant grade of the coarse fragments being the gravel and/or cobble size fractions. 

Correlation block:
A subdivision of a ‘sub-block’ occupying about 15 to 40 townships. The Correlation Block was the area used by the correlation team to check for data quality and integrity. 

Correlation team:
A group of individuals (Scientific Leader, Block Leaders, Agriculture Canada Correlators and Field Assistants) responsible for maintaining consistency in soil taxonomy and interpretation. The correlation team also ensure the standardization of basic soil attributes and the development of soil landscape model concepts. 

Coulee:
A deep stream valley, often rectangular or parabolic in cross-section. Coulees frequently represent glacial meltwater channels in western Canada. 

Crevasse fill:
An elongate ridge formed by the infilling of crevasses in glacial ice. Crevasse fills often are characterized by angular bends and wide, level tops. The infill material may be sand, gravel, diamicton, or a combination of all three. Crevasse fills commonly occur in groups. 

Delta:
A fan-shaped area at the mouth of a river formed by deposition of successive layers of sediments brought down from the land and spread out on the bottom of a basin. Where the stream current reaches quiet water, the bulk of the coarser load is dropped and the finer material is carried farther out. Deltas are recognized by nearly horizontal beds, termed bottomset beds, overlain by more steeply inclined and coarser-textured beds called foreset beds. 

Deposition:
The leaving of material in a new position following its transport by a natural agent such as water, wind, ice, or gravity, its growth and death in the case of organic matter, or by the activity of man. 

Digital data processor (DDP):
The person responsible for converting hard copy soil lines into geographically referenced (digital) soil lines. 

Discharge area:
Expanse over which water becomes free to be removed from the zone of saturation, especially by coming to or near to the ground surface. 

Double-sided channel:
A stream channel delineated on a map as a channel bank, the flood-plain, and a channel bank. 

Drainage:
The removal of water from an area by (a) surface flow (stream and sheet flow) (b) by downward and/or lateral flow through soils. 

Duned:
Descriptive of an area with numerous low hills or banks of drifted sand. 

Ecodistrict:
Subdivision of Ecoregion in the Ecological Land Classification hierarchy. 

Ecoregion:
Part of an ecozone characterized by distinctive ecological responses to climate as expressed by the development of vegetation, soil, water, fauna, etc. 

Ecozone:
An area of the earth's surface, representative of large and very generalized ecological units characterized by interactive and adjusting abiotic and biotic factors. 

Eolian (adj.):
Descriptive of materials transported and deposited by air (wind). 

Esker:
An elongated sinuous ridge or series of mounds, composed internally of stratified or semi-stratified sand and gravel (may have minor amounts of diamicton, silt, or clay), produced by subglacial, englacial, or supraglacial streams. Eskers are commonly associated with other stream features (deltas, tributaries, etc.) Eskers may be single ridges, or may be aligned in a braided or reticulate pattern. 

Farmland Assessment Records:
The record of a parcel of land which details soils, topography, agroclimate, stones, vegetation and access. The farmland assessment record is used to determine the fair actual value of the parcel for taxation purposes. 

Fen:
Brown moss and sedge peat materials occurring in an eutrophic (nutrient rich) wetland environment, the wetness coming from nutrient-rich groundwater communicating with mineral soils. Fen peat is usually medium acid to neutral (pH 5.5-7.5) and moderately well to well decomposed. 

Fine textured group:
A broad textural grouping that refers to soils or materials dominated by clay, sandy clay, silty clay, and heavy clay textural classes. 

Floodplain:
The land bordering a stream, built up of sediments from overflow of the stream and subject to inundation when the stream is at flood stage. 

Fluted moraine:
Plain of glacial till having long, smooth, gutter like depressions and/or low, elongated drumlins moulded beneath moving ice and oriented parallel to the direction of ice flow. 

Fluvial (adj.):
Descriptive of materials transported and deposited by flowing water. 

Fluvioeolian (adj.):
Descriptive of materials transported and deposited by the combined action of streams and wind. 

Fluviolacustrine (adj.):
Descriptive of materials pertaining to sedimentation partly in lake water and partly in streams, or to sediments deposited under alternating or overlapping lacustrine and fluvial conditions. 

Glacial (adj.):
Pertaining to, characteristic of, produced or deposited by, or derived from a glacier. 

Glaciofluvial (adj.):
Descriptive of material moved by glaciers and subsequently sorted and deposited by streams flowing from the melting ice. The deposits are stratified and may occur in the form of outwash plains, deltas, kames, eskers, and kame terraces. 

Glaciolacustrine (adj.):
Pertaining to, derived from, or deposited in glacial lakes; especially said of the deposits and landforms composed of suspended material brought by meltwater streams flowing into lakes bordering the glacier, such as deltas, kame deltas, and varved sediments. 

Gleysolic soils:
An order of soils developed under wet conditions and permanent or periodic reduction. These soils have low chromas, or prominent mottling, or both, in some horizons. The great groups Gleysol, Humic Gleysol, and Luvic Gleysol are included in the order. 

Gradient:
See slope. 

Gravelly (adj.):
1) Containing an appreciable amount of gravel (i.e. rock fragments 2 mm to 7.5 cm in diameter). 2) Textural modifier descriptive of materials with 20 to 50% gravel (i.e. the particle size distribution is noticeably bimodal) or rock fragments make up 15 to 35% by volume of the soil and the predominant rock fragments are gravels. 3) Material modifier descriptive of an accumulation of rounded to subrounded particles ranging in size from pebbles to boulders (2 mm to greater than 60 cm). 

Gullying:
Removal of soil by running water, with formation of channels that cannot be smoothed out (and often cannot be crossed) during normal tilling by wheeled vehicles. 

Hierarchical:
Higher levels in the hierarchy provide broader information as compared to lower levels in the hierarchy.  

Hills:
Areas rising above the surrounding country and culminating in distinctive crests or summits. Abrupt elevation differences are usually less than 300 m, altitude differences exceeding this being more typical of mountains. 

Hummocky (adj.):
Descriptive of land surfaces with a complex sequence of slopes that merge from somewhat rounded depressions or kettles of various sizes to irregular to conical knolls or knobs. There is a general lack of concordance between knolls or depressions. Slopes are generally 5 to 70%. 

Ice-contact (adj.):
Stratified material deposited directly adjacent to glacial ice, or within channels and hollows in ice. Eskers, kames, and glaciolacustrine deltas are composed of ice-contact sediments. 

Ice-thrust (adj.):
Descriptive of materials with deformation structures, including folds and faults, and landforms, including moraines and arcuate ridges of sediment and/or bedrock, created by glacial thrusting at or near the termini of glaciers. 

Ice-thrust moraine:
Broadly arcuate, subparallel ridges, commonly high (up to 200 feet, or 60m), large and long (up to several miles, or km), resembling moraines but composed mostly of detached blocks of unconsolidated bedrock, and/or Quaternary deposits that have been folded and thrusted by glacial pressure. Ice-thrust moraine is intimately associated with lodgement till and in many places it is covered by ablation till, forming hummocky knobs and knolls on the surface of large areas of subparallel arcuate ridges. 

Inclined (adj.):
Descriptive of sloping, unidirectional surfaces. Gradients range from 2 to 70%, but any individual inclined area has a generally constant slope not broken by marked irregularities. 

Kettle:
A steep-sided, bowl or basin-shaped hole or depression in glacial drift deposits, especially outwash or kame, and believed to have formed by the melting of a large, detached block of stagnant ice, (left behind by a retreating glacier) that had been wholly or partly buried in the glacial drift. Kettles commonly lack surface drainage and some may contain a lake or swamp. 

Lacustrine (adj.):
Descriptive of materials that either have settled from suspension in bodies of standing fresh water or have accumulated at their margins through wave action. 

Lake:
Any standing body of inland water, generally of considerable size. 

Land system:
Subdivision of Ecodistrict (LRA) in the Ecological Land Classification hierarchy. 

Land system database:
An electronic spatial database (the map) linked to an attribute database created by the CAESA-SIP. The main attributes of the database are: Land System Name, Land System Number, Surficial Geology, Regional Surface Form, Groundwater Discharge, Stream Courses, Regional Bedrock, Lakes and Wetlands, Regional Soil Models. 

Land system inventory:
An inventory compiled at the 1:250 000 scale. Land Systems within one ecodistrict are recognized and separated by differences in one or more of: general pattern of land surface form, surficial geological materials, amount of lakes or wetlands, or general soil pattern. All Land Systems within one ecodistrict have the same general climate for agriculture but differences in microclimate patterns can be recognized. An average-sized Land System is approximately three to four townships (32,000 hectares).  

Land system name:
Consists of a geographic locator and a morphological descriptor (e.g.. Neutral Hills). 

Land system number:
The concatenation of the Ecoregion number, the Ecodistrict number, and the Land System number. Land System numbers are unique (one to one relationship of Land System number to Land System name. 

Landform:
The shape of the land surface resulting from a variety of actions such as deposition or sedimentation (eskers, lacustrine basins), erosion (gullies, canyons), and earth crust movements (mountains). 

Landscape:
All the natural features such as fields, hills, forests, and water that distinguish one part of the earth's surface from another part. Usually it is the portion of land or territory that the eye can see in single view, including all its natural characteristics. 

Landscape model:
A sub-model used in building a soil landscape model. The Landscape Model includes slope class, surface form, a surface form modifier and many other attributes of a landscape. 

Legend:
A brief explanatory list of the symbols, cartographic units, patterns (shading and color hues), and other cartographic conventions appearing on a map, chart, or diagram. 

Level:
Descriptive of flat land surfaces with slopes less than 2 percent. 

Limestone:
Sedimentary rock consisting chiefly of calcium carbonate. 

Lithic (adj.):
Descriptive for the condition when bedrock (too hard to dig with a shovel) immediately underlies a soil. 

Loess:
Unconsolidated windblown deposit (eolian) of silt and very fine sand. 

Lowland:
Any extensive hollow or low-lying land bounded by diverse hills and uplands. Though it may be traversed by a major stream, it does not have distinctive directionality related to that stream. Drainage from the surrounding uplands tends to meander across it before joining the major stream. 

Map (electronic):
A collection of geographically referenced data stored in a file and capable of being displayed on a graphics screen or plotted in hard copy form. 

Map units:
Measurement units used to define quantities depicted on a map, such as offset distances, pattern and shade spacing, and text and symbol size. 

Marine (adj.):
Descriptive of materials that have settled from suspension in salt or brackish waters, or have accumulated at their margins through shoreline processes such as wave action and longshore drift. 

Marl:
A soft, unconsolidated earthy deposit consisting of calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate, or both, and often shells, usually mixed with varying amounts of clay or other impurities. 

Medium textured group:
A broad textural grouping that refers to soils or materials dominated by loam, silt loam, silt, silty clay loam, clay loam, and sandy clay loam textural classes. 

Moraine:
An accumulation of heterogeneous rubbly material, including angular blocks of rock, boulders, pebbles and clay, that has been transported and deposited by a glacier or ice-sheet. 

Morainal (adj.):
Descriptive of materials transported and deposited by glacial ice. 

Mudstone:
1) Non-fissile sedimentary rock composed mainly of clay. 2) Term used for any fine grained, clastic sedimentary rock where doubt exists about the proportions of sand, silt, and clay, or where the proportions vary in such a way that more precise terms cannot meaningfully be used. 

Nonsoil:
Nonsoil is the collection of soil-like material that does not meet the definition of soil. It includes soil displaced by unnatural processes and unconsolidated material beyond the influence of soil-forming processes, except for the material that occurs within 25 cm below soil as defined. Nonsoil also includes unconsolidated mineral or organic material thinner than 10 cm overlying bedrock; organic material thinner than 40 cm overlying water; and soil covered by more than 60 cm of water in the driest part of the year. 

Organic deposit:
Materials that have accumulated by growth and death of plants, and that contain more than 17% organic carbon. 

Organic soils:
Soils that have developed dominantly from organic deposits. The majority of Organic soils are saturated for most of the year, unless artificially drained, but some of them are not usually saturated for more than a few days. They contain 17% or more organic carbon, and: 1) if the surface layer consists of fibric organic material and the bulk density is less than 0.1 (with or without a cultivated horizon less than 15 cm thick), the organic material must extend to a depth of at least 60 cm; or 2) if the surface layer consists of organic material with a bulk density of 0.1 or more, the organic material must extend to a depth of at least 40 cm; or 3) if bedrock occurs at a depth shallower than stated in 1) or 2) above, the organic material must extend to a depth of at least 10 cm. 

Paralithic (lithic-like) (adj.):
Refers to weathered bedrock (softrock) which is permeable and penetrable by plant roots. The material is "diggable" and has a hardness on the Mho's scale. Coarse fragment content of this boundary layer between soil and solid bedrock increases with depth until consolidated rock is encountered. 

Parent material:
The unconsolidated and more or less chemically weathered mineral or organic matter from which the solum of a soil has developed by pedogenic processes. 

Peat: Unconsolidated soil material consisting largely of undecomposed, or only slightly decomposed, organic matter. 

Pediment:
a plannate erosion surface abutting a mountain front or set of high hills. 

Pedon:
The smallest three-dimensional unit at the surface of the earth that is considered as a soil. Its lateral and vertical dimensions can vary with circumstances, but commonly it measures 1 m square by 1 m deep. 

Phase, (soil):
A functional unit outside the system of soil taxonomy designed and defined according to the purposes of a soil survey. 

Plain:
A region of generally uniform slope that is comparatively level, of considerable extent, and not broken by marked elevations and depressions. 

Plateau:
An extensive, relatively elevated area of comparatively flat land, commonly limited on at least one side by an abrupt descent to lower land. 

Point data:
Refers to a detailed site description, or detailed map. Examples of point date include: assessment records, detailed soil survey site investigations, pipeline soil survey, salinity survey, irrigation land classification (level 2). 

Recharge area:
Expanse of ground over which water is absorbed and added to the zone of saturation. 

Regional soil:
Soil specified at the subgroup and genetic material(s) levels in the soil and landform classification systems respectively, and identified within a Land System (1:250 000). 

Regional soil models:
A conceptual description of the Soil Model with the greatest aerial extent in the Land System (1:250 000). 

Regional surface form:
A conceptual description of a recognizably distinct landscape. 

Relief:
Inequalities or differences in elevation of a land surface occurring within some area under consideration. Level land with no unevenness or differences of elevation has no relief; undulating land has low relief; rolling and hummocky lands have moderate relief; and hilly land has high relief. 

Ridged (adj.):
Descriptive of land with long, narrow elevations of the surface, usually sharp crested with steep sides. The ridges may be parallel, subparallel, or intersecting. 

Rill:
A narrow, very shallow, intermittent water course having steep sides. It presents no obstacle to tilling. 

Rolling (adj.):
Descriptive of land surfaces with a very regular sequence of moderate slopes merging from rounded, sometimes confined concave depressions to broad, rounded convexities producing a wavelike pattern of moderate relief. Slope length is often 1.5 km or greater and gradients are greater than 5%. 

Rough broken:
Descriptive of an area having steep slopes and many intermittent drainage channels, but usually covered with vegetation. A miscellaneous land type used in soil mapping. 

Saline soil:
A non-sodic soil that contains enough soluble salts to interfere with the growth of most crop plants. The conductivity of the saturation extract is greater than 4 mS/cm, the exchangeable-sodium percentage is less than 15, and the pH is usually less than 8.5. 

Sand:
1) A mineral particle between 0.05 and 2.0 mm in diameter. 2) Any one of five soil separates. The names and size limits of sand separates recognized by pedologists in Canada and the United States are: very coarse sand (2.0-1.0 mm); coarse sand (1.0-0.5 mm); medium sand (0.5-0.25 mm); fine sand (0.25-0.10 mm); and very fine sand (0.10-0.05 mm). 3) A soil texture class. See Texture Class. 

Sandstone:
Rock composed of sedimentary grains cemented together, the predominant grade of the grains being the sand size fraction. 

Shale:
Laminar (fissile) rock composed of sedimentary grains cemented together, the predominant grade of the grains being the silt and clay size fractions. 

Silt:
1) A mineral particle between 0.05 and 0.002 mm in equivalent diameter. 2) A soil texture class. See Texture Class. 

Siltstone:
Rock composed of sedimentary grains cemented together, the predominant grade of the grains being the silt size fraction. 

Simple channels:
A stream channel mapped as a single element. The channel banks and floodplain portions are not separated. 

Slope (gradient):
Amount by which the surface of the earth deviates from horizontal, sometimes expressed in degrees, but more often as percent. 

Slope (gradient) class:
The description of an area or region in terms of the steepness of slopes. The slope classes and class limits and descriptive terminology area: 

Slope
Class
Percent
Slope
Approximate
Degrees
Terminology
0-0.5  level 
0.5-2.5  0.3-1.5  nearly level 
2-5  1-3  very gentle  slopes 
6-9  3.5-5  gentle  slopes 
10-15  6-8.5  moderate slopes 
16-30  9-17  strong  slopes 
31-45  17-24  very  strong  
slopes 
46-70  25-35  extreme  slopes 
71-100  35-45  steep  slopes 
10  >100  >45  very  steep  
slopes 

Slopewash: Unconsolidated material moved downslope by running water not confined to channels. 

Softrock:
A colloquial term used by geologists and soil scientists to designate soft (para-lithic) sedimentary rocks and to distinguish them from igneous and metamorphic rocks (hard rock). 

Soil:  
 
1) The unconsolidated material on the immediate surface of the earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of land plants.  
2) The naturally occurring unconsolidated material on the surface of the earth that has been influenced by parent material, climate (including the effects of moisture and temperature), macro- and micro-organisms, and relief, all acting over a period of time to produce soil that usually differs from the material from which it was derived in many physical, chemical, mineralogical, biological, and morphological properties. 
3) For the purpose of the Canadian taxonomic system, the earth's surface (the material to be classified) is divided into soil and nonsoil. Soil is the naturally occurring, unconsolidated, mineral or organic material at the earth's surface that is capable of supporting plant growth. It extends from the surface to 25 cm below the depth at which properties produced by soil-forming processes can be detected. These properties differ from those found in any underlying unconsolidated material. The soil-forming processes are defined as an interaction between climate, living organisms, and relief acting on soil and soil parent material. Unconsolidated material includes material cemented or compacted by soil-forming processes. Soil may have water covering as its surface to a depth of 60 cm or less in the driest part of the year. 

Soil analyst: A soil mapper responsible for soil mapping and coding of soil attribute data. 

Soil classification:
The systemic arrangement of soils into categories and classes on the basis of their characteristics. Broad groupings are made on the basis of general characteristics and subdivisions on the basis of more detailed differences in specific properties. 

Soil correlation area (SCA):
An area with similar agroclimate and landscape ecology such that it defines the geographic limits for usage of soil series names. 

Soil horizon:
A layer of soil material approximately parallel to the land surface; it differs from adjacent layers in properties such as colour, structure, texture, consistence, and chemical, biological, and mineralogical composition that usually reflect differences in soil genesis and/or deposition. 

Soil inventory meta data:
Data that explains soil inventory data structures, terminology, classification systems, models and procedures. 

Soil landscape:
(1) A subdivision of a Land System in the Ecological Land Classification hierarchy. (2) An actual piece of land identified in a Soil Landscape inventory as an entity for which attributes are described. 

Soil landscape inventory:
Subdivision of a Land System into Soil Landscapes based on recognition of differences in patterns of surface form, surficial geological materials, lakes and wetlands, and soils, and descriptions of associated attributes. 

Soil landscape model:
A conceptual description of recurring soil and land patterns appropriate for the Soil Landscape level of the Ecological Land Classification hierarchy. It is an amalgamation of the Soil Model and the Landscape Model. Referred to as 'soil map units' in previous soil survey reports. 

Soil landscape model symbol:
The Soil Landscape Model symbol used to describe the Soil Model and the Landscape Model on an output report. 

Soil layer file:
A CanSIS database; part of Soil Inventory Meta Data; lists properties by soil horizon for one typical profile per soil name. 

Soil map delineation:
Area delineated on a map to represent a definite tract of land (a Soil Landscape) about which information is to be communicated. For a tract to be definite, distinct from its neighbors the tract must have discernible consistency in attributes i) that are important, and ii) that (individually or collectively) can be conceptualized, defined, and named. Assigned to the delineation, usually through symbols, the names and definitions impart the meaning of the tract it represents. 

Since difference in important attributes is what justifies differentiation of adjacent tracts, therefore one or more polygon symbols (and attribute names and concepts they denote) must differ between adjacent polygons. Lines on the map (polygon boundaries) represent the places on Earth's surface where, for practical purposes, changeover in attributes can be said to occur. 

Soil map unit:
(See Soil Landscape Model) A combination of kinds of soil, or miscellaneous land types that can be shown at the scale of mapping for the defined purpose and objectives of a particular soil survey. 

Soil name (series) symbol:
A code which identifies a Soil Name (e.g. CMO for Camrose). 

Soil names file (generation 2):
The current (1993) list of Alberta Soil Names and selected descriptions. 

Soil map unit file:
A CanSIS created database. Refer to Soil Landscape Model database. 

Soil model:
Consists of a dominant or co-dominant soil series and any significant soils. 

Soil series:
A category in the Canadian System of Soil Classification. This is the basic unit of soil classification, and consists of soils that are essentially alike in all major profile characteristics except the texture of the surface. 

Soil texture:
The relative proportions of the sand, silt, and clay size fractions within the fine earth (<2 mm) fraction of a soil. Soil textures are usually expressed in terms of the texture class to which they belong. 

Soil texture class:
The soil texture classes and their limits are: 
    sand: fine earth containing 85% or more of the sand size fraction; % silt plus 1.5 times % clay does not exceed 15. 
    loamy sand: fine earth containing at the upper limit 85 to 90% sand, and % silt plus 1.5 times % clay is not less than 15; at the lower limit loamy sand contains not less than 70 to 85% sand, and % silt plus twice the % clay does not exceed 30. 
    sandy loam: fine earth containing either 20% or less clay, with a % silt plus twice the % clay exceeding 30, and 52% or more sand; or less than 7% clay, less than 50% silt, and between 43% and 52% sand. 
    loam: fine earth containing 7 to 27% clay, 28 to 50% silt, and less than 52% sand. 
    silt loam: fine earth containing 50% or more silt and 12 to 27% clay, or 50 to 80% silt and less than 12% clay. 
    silt: fine earth containing 80% or more silt and less than 12% clay. 
    sandy clay loam:
    fine earth containing 20 to 35% clay, less than 28% silt and 45% or more sand. 
    clay loam: soil material that contains 27 to 40% clay and 20 to 45% sand. 
    silty clay loam: fine earth containing 27 to 40% clay and less than 20% sand. 
    sandy clay: fine earth containing 35% or more clay and 45% or more sand. 
    silty clay: fine earth containing 40% or more clay, less than 45% sand, and less than 40% silt. 
    clay: fine earth containing 40% or more clay, less than 45% sand, and less than 40% silt. 
    heavy clay: fine earth containing more than 60% clay. 

Names of soil texture classes can be modified by adding suitable adjectives when coarse fragments (particles >2 mm) are present in substantial amounts; for example, "stony sandy loam". Also, the sand, loamy sand, and sandy loam texture classes can be split into subclasses based on the proportions of the various sand separates present. 

Sub-block: A subdivision of a Block. For example the NE Block was divided into NE1, NE2, NE3, NE4 and NE5 sub-block. 

Surface form:
The assemblage and pattern of slopes within a landscape  

Technical authority:
The person to whom the final digital soils database was delivered to. 

Terraced:
Descriptive of land surfaces with a nearly level, usually narrow plain (tread) plus a short scarp face (riser), usually adjacent to a river, lake, or sea. Rivers sometimes are bordered by a number of terraces at different levels. 

Till:
Material transported and deposited by glacial ice. 

Undulating:
Descriptive of land surfaces with a regular sequence of gentle slopes that merge from rounded concavities into broad, rounded convexities producing a wavelike pattern of low local relief. Slopes are generally less than 0.8 km long and have gradients of 2 to 5 %. 

Upland:
Areas that rise above the surrounding country, but that do not culminate in distinctive crests or summits. Abrupt elevation differences are rare, and if present they are usually small. 

Valley:
Any hollow or low-lying land bounded by hill or mountain ranges. A valley is usually traversed by and has general directionality related to a stream that receives the drainage from the surrounding heights. 

Vector-based polygon:
A homogeneous area associated with a particular set of attributes and delineated by a boundary composed of linear features that form a closed loop. Vector-based polygons do not overlap and are created as an integral part of an area theme. 

Wetland:
Permanently or intermittently wet land, including shallow water and land-water margins. For an area to be considered a wetland water must remain in it long enough for distinctly aquatic processes to occur. Wetlands are recognized by the. 

White area:
An administrative boundary considered the "settled area" of Alberta. The White Area as of March 1992 was 63,248,640 acres (approx. 2745 townships). 

Working area:
An area ranging from 1 to 6 townships (mostly 6 townships) used by soil analysts to compile soils information. 
 
 
 
 

Other Documents in the Series

 
  CAESA Land Systems User's Manual
Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual
Canada - Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture (CAESA): Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual - Introduction
Canada - Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture (CAESA): Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual - The Soil Inventory Process
AGRASID 1.0: Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual - Digital Procedures
Canada - Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Agreement (CAESA): Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual - Data Dictionary
Canada - Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Agreement (CAESA): Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual - References
AGRASID 1.0: Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual - Glossary of Terms - Current Document
AGRASID 1.0: Soil Inventory Project Procedures Manual - Appendix A
 
 
 
 
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For more information about the content of this document, contact David Spiess.
This document is maintained by Laura Thygesen.
This information published to the web on February 7, 2003.
Last Reviewed/Revised on January 27, 2015.