Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Map Soils On An Extinct American Volcano

Date:
October 20, 2008
Source:
Soil Science Society of America
Summary:
A new article details an unprecedented sampling of soils taken from the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field in Union County New Mexico, detailing the dynamic conditions of the soil that was a result of lava flow. The study provides the park with practical knowledge of its soils for the future management of its natural resources.

Union County New Mexico is a landscape of striking diversity. Out of expansive rangelands rise sporadic yet majestic cinder cone volcanoes and mesas preserved by basalt, part of the Raton-Clayton Volcanic Field. Capulin volcano, formed approximately 62,000 years ago, is the youngest volcano in the field. The cone rises 396 m from the plain, reaching an altitude of 2,495 m above sea level.

The base of the volcano is 6.4 km in circumference, and the crater is 126 m deep and 442 m across. Four different flows of lava can be observed across the monument, indicative of different eruptive events. Conditions across the park are highly dynamic with respect to vegetation distribution, slope, and depth to bedrock, but the available soils data was highly generalized and lacked sufficient specificity to be of much use in park management of natural resources.

In 2006, Dr. David C. Weindorf, Assistant Professor of Soil Classification and Land Use at the LSU AgCenter in Baton Rouge, LA, visited the volcano with a group of undergraduate soil science students. As a result of the visit, the National Parks Service commissioned a more detailed study of soils in the park. The results are published in the Fall 2008 issue of Soil Survey Horizons (“High resolution soil survey of Capulin Volcano National Monument, New Mexico” by D. Weindorf, B. Rinard, Y. Zhu, S. Johnson, B. Haggard, J. McPherson, M. Dia, C. Spinks, and A. McWhirt, Soil Surv. Horiz. 49:55-62

The unprecedented access for sampling allowed for the collection of more than 140 soil samples, the description of five soil profiles (vertical cross sections of soil extending into the subsoil). At each site, global positioning system (GPS) coordinates were recorded so the exact location of the sample could be mapped. Slope and site characteristics such as vegetative cover were also noted at each point.

In the lab, soil color, texture, organic matter, pH, and other properties were carefully examined. When all datasets were complete, they were loaded into a computer program that creates interpolated maps between data collection points. In doing so, map layers were created of each data parameter. Finally, when all maps are simultaneously considered, the research team drew the boundaries of each unique soil.

An additional benefit of the study was the involvement of undergraduate students. Beatrix Haggard and Stephanie Johnson, two of the undergraduate students integrally involved in the study, stated “Research on Capulin has allowed us to apply our studies in a real-world research study and prepared us for graduate research in soil science.” Both students have now begun graduate work at LSU.

Ongoing research at the LSU AgCenter is focusing on the validation of soils data and the use of new field portable technologies such as x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) in soil survey. Accurate soils information is vital not only to agriculture, but also civil engineering, environmental science, and other disciplines.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Soil Science Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. Weindorf, B. Rinard, Y. Zhu, S. Johnson, B. Haggard, J. McPherson, M. Dia, C. Spinks, and A. McWhirt. High Resolution Soil Survey of Capulin Volcano National Monument, New Mexico. Soil Survey Horizons, (in press)

Cite This Page:

Soil Science Society of America. "Scientists Map Soils On An Extinct American Volcano." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020120056.htm>.
Soil Science Society of America. (2008, October 20). Scientists Map Soils On An Extinct American Volcano. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020120056.htm
Soil Science Society of America. "Scientists Map Soils On An Extinct American Volcano." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020120056.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins