No two soils are ever the same and they can change over time. Analyzing a soil sample allows scientists to observe the changes in color, texture, composition, and soil decomposers over time and between different ecosystems. Observing a change in color, texture, composition and decomposers (including macroinvertebrates) indicates to scientists that there may be a change in soil nutrients, pH, moisture level and/or temperature. These changes may signify a larger change in the characteristics of the ecosystem containing the soil sample.
|Use the soil corer to collect the soil sample.
Hold and position the soil corer as shown in the picture to the right. DO NOT USE YOUR FOOT TO PUSH THE CORER INTO THE GROUND!! Instead, while pushing down on the corer, slowly rotate it back and forth until it is about half way into the ground.
To remove the soil corer from the ground, simply pull up on the corer while reversing the back and forth action. Remove your soil sample from the corer and spread the soil contents onto the blue lid of your field box.
In your field box, on the index card marked "Soil Sample", use the tape to attach a pea-sized amount of your soil sample to the card. With the pencil, write your group number under "Soil Sample" on the index card.
Return the corer to its original location so other groups may use it.
Use the soil color chart in your field box to identify which soil color most closely matches the color of your soil sample. Place a small amount of your soil sample next to the color square on the color chart to be sure of your identification. Record the name of the soil color in the "Soil Color Name" blank below.
Once you have identified your soil color by name, enter the soil color number in the "Soil Color Number" blank below. Soil color numbers are written first Hue, then Value, then Chroma. See example below:
Soil Name: Pink
Soil Number: 5YR 8/4 (Hue: 5YR - Value: 8 - Chroma: 4)