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Soil Color

Soil color and other properties including texture,

structure, and consistence are used to distinguish
and identify soil horizons (layers) and to group
soils according to the soil classification system
called Soil Taxonomy.
Color development and distribution of color
within a soil profile are part of weathering. As
rocks containing iron or manganese weather, the
elements oxidize. Iron forms small crystals with a
yellow or red color, organic matter decomposes
into black humus, and manganese forms black
mineral deposits
These pigments paint the soil . Color is also affected by
the environment: aerobic environments produce
sweeping vistas of uniform or subtly changing color,
and anaerobic ( lacking oxygen), wet environments
disrupt color flow with complex, often intriguing
patterns and points of accent. With depth below the
soil surface, colors usually become lighter, yellower, or

 Vistas - a mental view of a succession of remembered or anticipated events.

Soil Taxonomy
A classification of soil types according to
properties, organized in hierarchical levels.
 Soil color is produced by the minerals present and by the organic
matter content. Yellow or red soil indicates the presence of
oxidized ferric iron oxides.[
 Dark brown or black color in soil indicates that the soil has a
high organic matter content. Wet soil will appear darker than dry
soil. However, the presence of water also affects soil color by
affecting the oxidation rate. Soil that has a high water content will
have less air in the soil, specifically less oxygen.
 In well drained (and therefore oxygen rich soils) red and brown
colors caused by oxidation are more common, as opposed to in
wet (low oxygen) soils where the soil usually appears grey or
greenish due to the presence of reduced (ferrous) iron oxide.[1] The
presence of other minerals can also affect soil
color. Manganese oxide causes a black color, glauconite makes
the soil green, and calcite can make soil in arid regions appear
Soil color does not affect the behavior and use
of soil; however, it can indicate the composition of
the soil and give clues to the conditions that the soil
is subjected to.

Often described by using general terms, such as dark

brown, yellowish brown, etc., soil colors are also
described more technically by using Munsell soil color
charts, which separate color into components of hue
(relation to red, yellow and blue), value (lightness or
darkness) and chroma (paleness or strength).
Munsell Color System
 Just as paint stores have pages of color chips,
scientists use a book of color chips that follow the
Munsell System of Color Notation
( ). The Munsell System allows
for direct comparison of soils anywhere in the world.
The system has three components: hue (a specific
color), value (lightness and darkness), and chroma
(color intensity) that are arranged in books of color