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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Early Teaching in USA of Dokuchaiev Factors of Soil Formation


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 61 No. 1, p. 11-16
    Received: Oct 12, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Roy W. Simonson 
  1. Kendal at Oberlin, 21 Kendal Drive, Oberlin, OH 44074-1901



Teaching of the factors of soil formation first recognized by Dokuchaiev began in the USA in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Reports on their functions had been available in English prior to and early in the 20th century, but Americans were not receptive to the Russian idea of five factors, still holding that soil formation consisted of rock weathering. Following the First International Congress of Soil Science and related activities in 1927, however, the Dokuchaiev factors were soon introduced in pedology courses, first by J.C. Russell in Nebraska and next by Charles E. Kellogg in North Dakota. Basically the same for the two men, the presentation of the five factors illustrated here is from the course taught by Kellogg in 1932. The presentation was chiefly a combination of lectures and reading assignments but included limited field study. Slightly less than half of the lectures in a three-hour course were about the factors of soil formation. Evident now, the lectures and reading assignments reflect the state of knowledge of their day, including both gaps and errors. At the same time, the coverage is impressive when considered against the limited study of soils in the world accomplished up to that time.

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