Soil Color & Its Causes - Colorado FFA

Soil Color & Its Causes - Colorado FFA

Soil Color & Its Causes 1 Factors that give soil color 1. Organic matter 2. Weathered mineral material composing the soil 3. Quantity and condition of iron present

2 Dark Color in the A Horizon Usually indicates the presence of organic matter This is a characteristic of the A horizon 3 Sub-soil Color Determination

Quantity and condition of iron Red colors = usually associated with unhydrated iron oxides and indicate a well drained soil Yellow colors = largely due to hydrated iron oxides and generally indicate a somewhat more moist condition than red colors 4

Basic Color Classifications Light Medium Dark 5 Color Determination in the field

ALWAYS USE MOIST SOIL Munsells color charts Absolute black = 0 Absolute white = 10

Light soils hue value = 7 or more Medium soils hue value = 5 6 Dark soils hue value = 4 or less 6 Munsell Color Charts Hue = dominant spectral or rainbow color Red, Yellow, Blue, Green Value = relative blackness or whiteness Reflected light

Chroma = purity of color Number increases and the color is more brilliant as grayness decreases 7 Change in soil color Indicates a difference in the soils mineral origin (parent material) Or change in soil development

8 Mottles Spots of different colors in the soil Generally indicate that the soil has periods of inadequate aeration each year Usually rust colored Bluish, grayish, & greenish subsoils (gleying) with or w/o mottles = indicate longer periods each year of waterlogged

conditions & inadequate aeration. 9

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