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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 38 No. 3, p. 486-491
    Received: Oct 19, 1973
    Accepted: Jan 2, 1974

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Soil Temperatures in Selected Southeastern Idaho Soils: II. Relation to Soil and Site Characteristics1

  1. Robert E. McDole and
  2. Maynard A. Fosberg2



Development of the new Soil Taxonomy (Soils Survey Staff, 1970) and classification of soils in the new system has brought about renewed activity in collecting soil temperature data in the past few years. However, little of this data has been published to date.

In an attempt to properly classify soils of the Fort Hall Area, Idaho, Soil Survey, an extensive study of soil temperatures was conducted over a 2-year period. The temperature data collected furnished information on soil temperature as it relates to such characteristics as elevation, slope, texture, drainage, and ground-water temperature.

Mean annual soil temperature (MAST) is strongly influenced by elevation. An increase in elevation of 300 m reduces the MAST by 2.5 to 2.7C. Presence of a water table having an average temperature of 9.6C in the 150-cm soil profile resulted in lowering the MAST from the 10 to 12C typical of well-drained soils in the area to a low of 7.5C on a very poorly drained soil. Mean summer soil temperature (MSST) decreases in going from a well-drained soil to a very poorly drained soil. In contrast, the mean winter soil temperature (MWST) is higher in the more poorly drained soils than in better drained soils.

South-facing slopes and coarse texures give indications of slightly increased MAST over nearly level slopes and medium textures, although results from this study are not conclusive. North-facing slopes show decreased MAST when compared to nearly level slopes.

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