In both the FAO and USA soil taxonomy, a vertisol is a soil in which there is a high content of expansive clay known as montmorillonite that forms deep cracks in drier seasons or years. Alternate shrinking and swelling causes "self-mulching", where the soil material consistently mixes itself, causing vertisols to have an extremely deep A horizon and no B horizon. (A soil with no B horizon is called an "A/C soil"). This heaving of the underlying material to the surface often creates microrelief known as "gilgai".

Vertisols typically form from highly basic rocks such as basalt in climates that are seasonally humid or subject to erratic droughts and floods. Depending on the parent material and the climate, they can range from grey or red to the more familiar deep black (known as "black earths" in Australia).

Vertisols are found between 50° N and 45° S of the equator. Major areas where vertisols are dominant are eastern Australia (especially inland Queensland and New South Wales), the Deccan Plateau of India, southern Sudan, Ethiopia and adjacent Chad (the "Gezira"), and the lower Parana River in South America. Other areas where vertisols are dominant include southern Texas and adjacent Mexico, northeast Nigeria, Thrace, and parts of eastern China.

In their natural state, vertisols are covered with grassland or grassy woodland. The heavy texture and unstable behaviour prevents forest from growingFact|date=August 2008"

The shrinking and swelling of vertisols can damage buildings and roads, leading to extensive subsidence. Vertisols are generally used for grazing of cattle or sheep. It is not unknown for livestock to be injured through falling into cracks in dry periods. However, the shrink-swell activity allows rapid recovery from compaction.

When irrigation is available, crops such as cotton, wheat, sorghum and rice can be grown. Vertisols are especially suitable for rice because they are almost impermeable when saturated. Rainfed farming is very difficult because vertisols can be worked only under a very narrow range of moisture conditions: they are very hard when dry and very sticky when wet. However, in Australia, vertisols are highly regarded, because they are among the few soils that are not acutely deficient in available phosphorus. Some, known as "crusty vertisols", have a thin, hard crust when dry that can persist for 2 to 3 years before they have crumbled enough to permit seeding.

In the USA soil taxonomy, vertisols are subdivided into:
* Aquerts: Vertisols which are subdued aquic conditions for some time in most years and show redoximorphic features are grouped as Aquerts. Because of the high clay content the permeability is slowed down and aquic conditions are likely to occur. In general, when precipitation exceeds evapotranspiration ponding may occur. Under wet soil moisture conditions iron and manganese is mobilized and reduced. The manganese may be partly responsible for the dark color of the soil profile.

* Cryerts ("not classified as vertisols in the FAO classification"): They have a cryic soil temperature regime. Cryerts are most extensive in the grassland and forest-grassland transitions zones of the Canadian Prairies and at similar latitudes in the Soviet Union.

* Xererts: They have a thermic, mesic, or frigid soil temperature regime. They show cracks that are open at least 60 consecutive days during the summer, but are closed at least 60 consecutive days during winter. Xererts are most extensive in the eastern Mediterranean and parts of California.

* Torrerts: They have cracks that are closed for less than 60 consecutive days when the soil temperature at 50 cm is above 8°C. These soils are not extensive in the U.S., and occur mostly in west Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and South Dakota, but are the most extensive suborder of Vertisols in Australia.

* Usterts: They have cracks that are open for at least 90 cumulative days per year. Globally, this suborder is the most extensive of the Vertisols order, encompassing the Vertisols of the tropics and monsoonal climates in Australia, India, and Africa. In the U.S. the Usterts are common in Texas, Montana, Hawaii, and California.

* Uderts: They have cracks that are open less than 90 cumulative days per year and less than 60 consecutive days during the summer. In some areas, cracks open only in drought years. Uderts are of small extent globally, being most abundant in Uruguay and eastern Argentina, but also found in parts of Queensland and the "Black Belt" of Mississippi and Alabama.


* cite web | url = | title =Vertisols| publisher =University of Idaho
accessdate =2006-05-14

ee also

*Pedology (soil study)
*Soil classification

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • vertisol — ● vertisol nom masculin Sol fertile, mais difficile à travailler, des climats chauds à fortes alternances saisonnières, dont une saison sèche très accentuée (régions méditerranéennes, tropicales sèches et même danubienne). ● vertisol (synonymes)… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Vertisol —   [v ; Kunstwort aus lateinisch vertere »umwenden« und solum »Boden«] der, s, Bodenkunde: dunkelgrauer, im feuchten Zustand fast schwarzer, tonmineralreicher Bodentyp mit AC Profil auf Gesteinen mit hohem Kalk oder Calciumsilikatanteil. Der… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Vertisol — En pédologie ou science du sol, le vertisol est un sol riche en argile du type 2/1 c est à dire contenant une couche d oxyde d aluminium enserrée par deux couches de tétraèdres de silice. Il s agit de smectite qui comprend en particulier le type… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Vertisol — Perfil de Vertisol. En las clasificaciones de suelos de FAO y del Soil Taxonomy, un vertisol es aquel suelo en donde hay un alto contenido de arcilla expansiva conocida como montmorillonita que forma profundas grietas en las estaciones secas, o… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Vertisol — Bodenregionen mit Vertisolen. Vertisol mit den durch Peloturbation verursachten typischen Schrumpfrissen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • vertisol — /verr teuh sawl , sol /, n. a clay rich soil in which deep cracks form during the dry season. Cf. black land. [1955 60; VERTI(CAL) + SOL] * * * ▪ FAO soil group  one of the 30 soil groups in the classification system of the Food and Agriculture… …   Universalium

  • vertisol — noun A clay soil, containing a high content of montmorillonite, that forms deep cracks in drier conditions …   Wiktionary

  • Vertisol — Ver|ti|sol [v...] der; s Kunstw. zu lat. vertere (vgl. ↑vertieren) u. solum »Boden«> Boden mit hohem Anteil an quellfähigen Tonmineralen in trop. u. subtrop. Gebieten …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • vertisol — /verr teuh sawl , sol /, n. a clay rich soil in which deep cracks form during the dry season. Cf. black land. [1955 60; VERTI(CAL) + SOL] …   Useful english dictionary

  • Hostal Vertisol — (Пресес,Испания) Категория отеля: Адрес: Carretera de Santa Coloma, 17, 17178 Пресес, Испания …   Каталог отелей

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