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NSSC Soil Survey Soil Characterization Database
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Data Usage

The Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory (KSSL), on behalf of the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS), is pleased to provide pedon data from analyses for soil characterization and from research within the National Soil Survey Center (NSSC). Samples are submitted to NSSC–KSSL, where laboratory analyses are completed, suspect measurements are identified and rerun, and errors are corrected. The National Cooperative Soil Survey Soil Characterization Database contains data from projects done by the KSSL and cooperating laboratories. Many pedons have less-than-complete characterization data because only selected measurements were requested. The database includes pedons that represent the central concept of a soil series, pedons that represent the central concept of a map unit but not of a series, and pedons sampled to bracket a range of properties within a series or landscape. If you are unfamiliar with a soil, you may want to consult with a soil scientist to determine how well a given pedon represents its soil series.

Analytical procedures and methods of soil preparation are identified by method codes in the column headings of the standard data sheets and are described in “Soil Survey Investigations Report No. 42.” Although strict quality-control measures are applied in analytical procedures, the NSSC does not warrant that the data are error free. Also, in some cases the measurements are not within the applicability range of the laboratory methods. For example, dispersion of clay is incomplete in some soils by the standard method used for determining particle-size distribution. Soils producing incomplete dispersion include those that are derived from volcanic materials or that have a high content of iron oxides, gypsum, carbonates, or other cementing materials. Also note that determination of clay minerals by x-ray diffraction is relative. Measurements of very high or very low quantities by any method are not very precise. Other measurements have other limitations in some kinds of soils. Such data are retained in the database for research purposes. Some of the data for some of the pedons were obtained from cooperating laboratories within the NCSS. For detailed information about methods used in the KSSL and other laboratories (e.g., procedures and interferences), refer to "Soil Survey Investigation Report No. 42." For information on the application of laboratory data, refer to "Soil Survey Investigation Report No. 45." The assessment of the accuracy and applicability of information from the database is a user responsibility.

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Those who use and/or publish the NCSS laboratory data should cite:
National Cooperative Soil Survey
National Cooperative Soil Survey Soil Characterization Database
Accessed Sunday, December 4, 2022