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

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5.3 - Entisols

This is a very diverse group of soils with one thing in common, little profile (horizon) development. Includes the soils of unstable environments, such as floodplains, sand dunes, or those found on steep slopes. Entisols are commonly found at the site of recently deposited materials (e.g., alluvium), or in parent materials resistant to weathering (e.g. sand). Entisol soils also occur in areas where a very dry or cold climate limits soil profile development. Productivity potential of Entisols varies widely, from very productive alluvial soils found on floodplains, to low fertility/productivity soils found on steep slopes or in sandy areas.

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


Click on the image to study, and click on the expanded image to read the detail.


  • Soils with little profile development
  • Many different parent materials contribute to varied soil properties of this order.
  • Often found in very dry or cool locations
  • Geographically extensive, commonly found with aridisols.
  • Widely varied productivity potential
  • Extent of world ice-free land area: 16%


Further Details

Yaggy Series

USDA details

More information

All images courtesy of USDA-NRCS

Question 8: The common property found in ALL Entisol soils is:

A. Sandy parent material
B. Steep slopes
C. Little horizon development
D. Cold and/or dry climate
E. Recently deposited parent material

Question 9: In the central Great Plains region of the USA, there is a large area of relatively stable sand dunes called the Nebraska Sandhills (see the map of the Entisol distribution above).

What is the probable reason for the formation of this large area of Entisol soils?

A. Dry climate
B. Parent material that is resistant to weathering
C. Grassland vegetation
D. Steep slopes
E. Recently deposited material



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