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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - DIVISION S-1-SOIL PHYSICS

Particle-Size Distributions


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 65 No. 2, p. 300-310
    Received: Feb 22, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): safa@mail.cor.epa.gov
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  1. Mostafa A. Shirazi *a,
  2. Larry Boersmab and
  3. Colleen Burch Johnsonc
  1. a Western Ecology Division, NHEERL, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 200 SW 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333
    b Dept. of Crop and Soil Science, ALS 3017, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR 97331-7306
    c OAO Corporation, 200 Sw 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333


Conventional soil texture classification systems use different definitions of particle-size distributions (PSDs). For example, sand in the International Soil Science Society (ISSS) system equals the combined separate limits of coarse silt and sand in the USDA system. Because relationships between texture and other soil properties are affected by these differences, the ability to merge survey data in environmental studies is limited. Previous research calculated two PSD statistics, namely the geometric mean particle diameter (dg) and its standard deviation (σg), which do not depend on separate limits. We expanded the development of the PSD statistics dg and σg to compare the USDA and ISSS systems, develop relationships with soil properties, include rock fragments, and simplify the USDA texture classification to facilitate the use of soil survey data in environmental research. We found that (i) for equal clay and sand fractions, the texture of a soil sample as described by the USDA system has larger dg and σg values than in ISSS; (ii) for equal clay and sand fractions, soil samples have larger values of cation-exchange capacity (CEC) in the ISSS than in the USDA system; (iii) small differences between some of the traditional 12 USDA classes are reflected in the dg and σg values for samples containing rocks, thereby presenting a rationale for simplification; and (iv) with this rationale, the 12 USDA classes were aggregated into five classes.

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Copyright © 2001. Soil Science SocietyPublished in Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.65:300–310.