Relating Soil Color to Soil Water Table Levels

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According to Soil Taxonomy, soil horizons with mottles that have a Munsell color chroma of 2 or less, with a moist Munsell value of 4 or more, are saturated for some period of the year during which the temperature of the horizon is above 5°C, if the soil is not drained. Although soil scientists have been predicting depth to the water table for many years using depth to colors with 2 chroma or less, sufficient data have not been gathered to verify this relationship. As a result, the reliability of soil interpretations has suffered. This project was conducted on a glacial till plain toposequence containing three soils representative of those common throughout northwestern Ohio. Depth to the water table was measured for two years using piezometers. During part of the year, a water table was observed within 110 cm of the soil surface for the well drained Morley soil. The moderately well drained Glynwood soil had a water table that rose to within 60 cm of the soil surface. The Blount soil, somewhat poorly drained, had a water table within 15 cm of the soil surface. The data gathered suggests that the presence of colors with 2 chroma or less, reliably predicts the depth to the water table.


Author Institution: Dept. of Agronomy, The Ohio State University



The Ohio Journal of Science. v90, n4 (September, 1990), 118-124