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Volume 69, Issue 2 p. 463-472
Division S-5—Pedology

Mapping and Classification of Southwest Virginia Mine Soils

Kathryn C. Haering

Kathryn C. Haering

Dep. of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA, 24061-0404

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W. Lee Daniels

Corresponding Author

W. Lee Daniels

Dep. of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA, 24061-0404

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John M. Galbraith

John M. Galbraith

Dep. of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ., Blacksburg, VA, 24061-0404

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First published: 01 March 2005
Citations: 20

Abstract

Mine soils on central Appalachian coal-mined lands are currently classified by the Soil Taxonomy as Typic Udorthents, which does not distinguish these unique anthropogenic soils from other weakly developed natural soils. Our overall objectives were (i) to critically evaluate currently available USDA-NRCS mine soil series for classifying a range of mine soil pedons in southwest Virginia, and (ii) to compare two different approaches for detailed Order 1 soil mapping of these highly altered landscapes. Using established series concepts, we mapped and classified 450 ha of mine soils in an area that had been recently reclaimed, and we used these same series concepts to reclassify mine soils in an older adjacent and overlapping 250-ha mine area that had been mapped using nontaxonomic mine soil classification criteria in 1980. Established mine soil series provided adequate information on particle-size and reaction class, but did not adequately describe drainage class, rock type, or parent materials. Classification differences occurred on well-drained soils primarily at the family level and below. There are no established series that describe mine soils with impeded drainage, densic layers, and shallow or moderately deep depth classes, all of which commonly occurred in this study area, and are important criteria for separating soil series. Cambic horizons were also described, and generate classification issues at the order level. Because reaction class, drainage class, densic contacts, and soil depth directly affect soil management, we feel that it is important to recognize these features by establishing new mine soil series or phases of established series. Detailed Order 1 map scales (≤1:12000) are required to adequately resolve and delineate strongly contrasting mine soil landscapes, particularly on older (pre-1977) mined lands.