Soil Textures in the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed: What Do They Tell Us?

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Jennifer Pierce


The Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW) spans 239km2 of the Owyhee Range in southwestern Idaho where a variety of intermountain environments dominate the landscape (CZO website). Within this watershed of southwestern Idaho climate, ecology, topography, soil and parent material for the developing soils varies greatly which has resulted in a very biologically and geologically diverse area. Workers are conducting research on soil carbon to better understand the factors controlling soil carbon reservoirs in RCEW. Although this work in the RCEW requires some textural analysis it does not reflect the cause in variance in soil texture within the watershed. Comparing the soil texture with the changes in elevation and parent material in the watershed is the purpose of this study, which will show changes in soil textures within the watershed. Texture analysis of soil samples (e.g. percentages of sand, silt, and clay) collected for the ongoing carbon research throughout the RCEW will be compared with changes in parent material and/or elevation to test for correlations among grain size distribution, parent material, and elevation. Soil texture is a fundamental control on other important hydrologic characteristics of soils; future studies can use this texture data as part of the larger Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) goals in the RCEW.

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