Friday, December 25, 2009

The Dirt on Bridgewater

This post is not about dirt, actually, but about soils -- that thin, complex layer of organic and inorganic material that separates us from oblivion. Soil covers most of the earth's land surface in depths from a few centimeters to a few meters, a thin film on the planet that makes terrestrial life possible. Soil differs quite a bit from place to place; not only have a dozen or so major categories been described in general terms, but thousands of very specific soil series have been described in detail. Most of the series have common place names, and are easily searchable on the Natural Resource Conservation Service web site. (Try your own first or last name to see if a soil has been named for you!) Incidentally, NRCS is a part of the United States Department of Agriculture; for decades it was known as the Soil Conservation Service, but its mission has broadened.

The Bridgewater series is found in places far different from our own Bridgewater in Massachusetts. It is located in arid locations at relatively high elevation in the tri-state area of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.  

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