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Book: Soil Color
Published by: Soil Science Society of America


This chapter in SOIL COLOR

  1.  p. 21-33
    SSSA Special Publication 31.
    Soil Color

    J. M. Bigham and E. J. Ciolkosz (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-926-8


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Laboratory Measurement of Soil Color: Theory and Practice

  1. J. Torrent and
  2. V. Barrón
  1. Universidad de Córdoba, Cordoba, Spain


Determination of soil color is useful to characterize and differentiate soils. The color of soil materials can be measured in the laboratory by using diffuse reflectance spectrophotometers. The spectral reflectance data given by these apparatuses are easily converted to three figures (“tristimulus values”) that define the color perceived by the human eye. In turn, tristimulus values can be converted to the Munsell notation or the parameters of other color systems. Modern, commercially available spectrophotometers not only allow a quick measurement of reflectance but usually provide color data in different systems. If care is taken in obtaining homogeneously granulated or powdered soil samples, and in preparing the white reflectance standards, high accuracy and precision are obtained. Small differences in soil color can then be used to identify and study differences in soil compositional properties. For this purpose, several “color indices” calculated from the color data can also be used.

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Copyright © 1993. Copyright © 1993 by the Soil Science Society of America, Inc., 5585 Guilford Rd., Madison, WI 53711 USA