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Soil Genesis and Development, Lesson 5 - Soil Classification and Geography

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5.11 - Andisols

Soils form in volcanic ash and cinders near or downwind from volcanic activity. Generally lacking in development, they are not extensively weathered, forming in deposits from geologically recent events. Usually of high natural fertility, they tend to accumulate organic matter readily and are of a ‘light’ nature (low bulk density) that is easily tilled. These soils generally have a high productivity potential.

Soil Order Key Characteristics U.S. Order Distribution Map Profile Examples


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  • Form in regions of recent volcanism
  • Volcanic parent materials
  • Generally high in natural fertility
  • ‘Light’ soils that are easily cultivated.
  • Potentially very productive soils
  • Limited geographic distribution
  • Extent of world ice-free land area: 1%


Further Details



Andisol Series

Idaho state soil

USDA details

More information

All images courtesy of USDA-NRCS

Question 19:  Andisol soils are formed as a result of what type of geologic activity?

A. Volcanism
B. Tsunami
C. Earthquake
D. Glacier
E. Erosion



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