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Book: Quantifying Soil Hydromorphology
Published by: Soil Science Society of America



  1.  p. 95-105
    SSSA Special Publication 54.
    Quantifying Soil Hydromorphology

    M.C. Rabenhorst, J.C. Bell and P.A. McDaniel (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-949-7


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Soil Color, Organic Carbon, and Hydromorphology Relationships in Sandy Epipedons

  1. D. L. Lindbo,
  2. M. C. Rabenhorst and
  3. F. E. Rhoton
  1. North Carolina State University Plymouth, North Carolina
    University of Maryland College Park, Maryland
    USDA-ARS Oxford, Mississippi


Quantitative assessment of soil color may increase the sensitivity of color determination to allow for the correlation of soil color to hydrology. One hydric soil indicator for sandy soils is dark colors (value/chroma > 3/1) coupled with a high percentage (<70%) of organic-coated sand grains in the surface mineral horizon. Observations indicate that as the percentage of uncoated sand grains increases, soil color often lightens. Soil color therefore may serve as an additional indicator of wetness conditions; however, the Munsell soil color book lacks sufficient detail to make specific determinations. Samples of A horizons were collected from a transect of sandy soils formed in late Pleistocene dunal deposits on the Delmarva Peninsula of Maryland. The soils represented were Quartzipsamments, Endoaquods, and Alaquods. Quantitative soil color was measured with a chroma meter using five absolute chromaticity systems (3 tristimulus systems, Yxy, L*a*b*, and L*C*H∘; Munsell system, hue, value, and chroma; and colorimetric density, Dxyz). The samples were measured air dry and wet (saturated). Differential color was determined using the topographically lowest sample as the target sample to which all other samples were compared. Organic C was correlated to the observed color trends with a maximum, r2= 0.63. In general, colorimetric density and hue of the Munsell system were not useful in relating color to either organic C or cumulative percentage saturation The lightness or reflectance values of three tristimulus systems (Y and L*) and Munsell value increased as the soils become better drained.

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