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Geosciences LibreTexts

4.5: Activity 1 - Using Web Soil Survey

  • Page ID
    14449
  • Name: ______________________________

    Section: _____________________________

    Student ID#:__________________________

    Read through and complete the following activity and questions. All questions should be answered and completed labs are due at the end of the laboratory period. No late work will be accepted.

    Video link: Using the Web Soil Survey Tool https://youtu.be/fzpKPIJajdQ

    To begin this project, go to http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/.

    • Read Welcome to Web Soil Survey and Three Basic Steps.
    • Click on the green START WSS icon.
    • You will be choosing an Area of Interest (AOIs) following the instructions on the web site.
      • Your AOI can be anywhere in the United States where soil survey information is available.
      • For purposes of this assignment, your AOI should be approximately 1000-2000 acres in size.

    1. In what state(s) is your AOI located? _____________________

    SOIL MAP UNITS

    2. For the AOI you have selected, go to the Soil Map tab (located near top of page) to generate a map showing the AOI and its component soil map units. Save a PDF this map of your AOI and attach it to this report.

    Generate the soil map report for your AOI (go to the “shopping cart” and generate a pdf). Include this pdf as part of your final assignment submission with the subject line “LAST NAME WSS lab.”

    3. Choose a particular point location on each of the maps – this can be a house, school, part of a ranch, etc.

    4. Determine which soil map unit contains the selected point.

    map unit symbol:

    map unit name:

    What percentage of the AOI does this map unit occupy?

    Which soil series makes up most of this map unit?

    SOIL DATA EXPLORER

    Next, you will examine information about soil properties and land-use interpretations for your map units. Answer questions 5-12 for the chosen map unit from your AOI.

    Go to the Soil Data Explorer tab and then select the tab heading entitled Soil Properties and Qualities.

    5. Select Water Features and determine Depth to Water Table for your map unit. Do this by clicking on the View Rating button. You can use all of the default settings.

    Depth to water table = _____________ (include units)

    6. Next, select Soil Physical Properties.

    What is the Surface Texture for your map unit? _______________________

    Find the Bulk Density (One-Third Bar) for the surface layer of your map unit (you will have to use Advanced Options > Layer Options > Surface Layer to get information for the surface layer).

    Surface layer bulk density = ______________

    7. Now select Soil Chemical Properties. Find the pH (1 to 1 water) for the surface soil layer of your map unit (you will have to use Advanced Options > Layer Options > Surface Layer to get information for the surface layer).

    Surface layer pH = __________

    8. Now select Soil Qualities and Features. Find the Depth to Any Soil Restrictive Layer for your map unit (default settings are OK).

    Depth to any soil restrictive layer = ____________

    Soil depth class = ____________________

    Depth Class

    Soil Depth (cm)

    Very shallow

    0-20

    Shallow

    20-50

    Moderately deep or Moderately Shallow

    50-100

    Deep

    100-150

    Very deep

    >150

    While still under the Soil Data Explorer tab, select the tab heading entitled Suitabilities and Limitations for Use – it’s located immediately to the left of the Soil Properties and Qualities tab heading.

    9. Determine the suitability of your soil map unit for Dwellings with Basements. This can be found under the Building Site Development tab (default settings are OK).

    What is the rating? _______________

    List the reason(s) for the rating _________________

    10. Determine the suitability of your soil map unit for Local Roads and Streets. This is also found under the Building Site Development tab (default settings are OK).

    What is the rating? _______________

    List the reason(s) for the rating _________________

    11. Click on the Vegetative Productivity tab. Determine the suitability of your soil map unit for one of the categories listed (this will vary depending on geographical location).

    List the category (e.g. Yields of Irrigated Crops, Range Production, etc.)

    What is the rating? _______________ (describe as needed)

    12. Click on the Waste Management tab. Determine the suitability of your soil map unit for Disposal of Wastewater by Irrigation (default settings are OK).

    What is the rating? _______________

    List the reason(s) for the rating _________________

    GENERAL QUESTIONS

    13. In your own words, give a definition of a soil map unit. A couple of sentences should be adequate to do this, but make sure your definition mentions soil series.

    14. Explain why it is necessary to use soil series rather than higher levels of the classification system (i.e. order, suborder) as the basis for detailed soil mapping.

    15. Based on all of the information you have found in Web Soil Survey, provide a general assessment of the selected soil map units from your AOI relative to their use and management. Describe any relevant soil or site properties that result in limitations for the variety of land uses that are assessed in Web Soil Survey.

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