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Fitzpatrick et al., 2015


Creating deep soil core monoliths: Beyond the solum

Fitzpatrick, S. D., P. A. Schroeder, and D. M. Endale (2015)
Southeastern Geology 51(2): 85-96  


Soil monoliths serve as useful teaching aids in the study of the Earth’s critical zone where rock, soil, water, air, and organisms interact. Typical mono lith preparation has so far been confined to the 1- to 2-m depth of the solum. Critical ecosystem services pro-vided by soils also occur in materials from the deeper soil profile. Soil monolith prepa-ration needs to take th is new paradigm into account. Soil cores from such depths can be obtained during site investigations for stud-ies of various engineering and environmental problems. The complexity of soil structure makes the preservation and presentation of cores into monoliths difficult. The wide range of exhibition mo des ranging from per-manent to mobile displays creates further challenges. We present two methods for monolith preparation su ited to soil type and demonstration mode. For permanent hori-zontal displays, a simple process using floor wax is described. For mob ile and vertical dis-plays, a solution of acetone and polyvinyli-dene chloride (PVDC) at a 5:1 mass ratio can be used to create good structurally sound deep soil core monoliths. In this study soil cores were obtained during installation of monitoring wells at two sites 2.5 km apart in the Piedmont of Georgia in the southeastern United States. To reduce health and safety risk, a well-ventilated location and use of protective gear, while handling and using chemicals, is essential to the process. The fin-ished products are in display at the Geology Department, University of Georgia, Athens, GA in the USA.


Fitzpatrick, S. D., P. A. Schroeder, and D. M. Endale (2015): Creating deep soil core monoliths: Beyond the solum. Southeastern Geology 51(2): 85-96.

This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.