Rich Iowa Farm Soil
In Iowa, United States
Size:  (not chosen)
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Soil is Iowa’s greatest natural resource. There are many different soils in Iowa, each possessing a unique set of properties.
The USDA document at the attached link:
(used for EarthCache educational purposes only), is a ‘Highway Guide’ that describes many of the various types of soil that exists in Iowa, and shows where those various types of soil exist in the state. (Note: Images of this information are also attached to this EarthCache listing.)
These types of soil include:
‘Loess over glacial till – low rainfall’ (Moody - Trent Soils) formed in a mantle of loess in the far northwest corner of the state and is considered the driest part of Iowa.
‘Loess Ridges/Clay Paleosol’ (Seymour – Edina - Clarinda Soils) which are nearly level to moderately sloping soils formed in loess on wide upland divides and upper side slopes, and moderately sloping to steep soils formed in glacial till or a paleosol formed in glacial till on side slopes in the southern-most portion of the state
‘Tazewell Glacial Till’ (Everly - Wilmonton – Letri Soils) consisting of soils formed in a thin mantle of loess or eroded sediments and the underlying Tazewell glacial till. The landscape consists of broad, plane and convex ridges, long, convex side slopes, and concave drainage-ways. Slopes are nearly level to moderately sloping.
The color of Iowa soil, (examples: whitish, beige, tan, reddish tan, red, reddish brown, brown, black) varies depending on the region of the State in which the soil lies, which correlates directly to the unique mineral and nutrient content of the soil in that area and the method in which the soil was deposited and/or mixed over time.
The soil located at the posted coordinates is some of the richest, top-crop producing farm soil in Iowa. Feel free to pick up a handful of this rich soil and feel the richness of the minerals and nutrients that make up the soil, and let it crumble between your fingers and fall back to the ground. Some people even say this soil smells good!
To successfully complete this EarthCache, you must do these 2 things:
1.) Log your EarthCache ‘find’ experience and comments on the Geocaching.com site.
2.) E-mail me your answers to the following 3 questions:
(DO NOT POST THIS INFORMATION IN YOUR LOG! Your log will be deleted if it contains answers to any of the questions.)
Question (a.) What is the 2 digit number (on the attached ‘Soil Highway’ map), that identifies the TYPE of soil located at this location? (depicted in a light blue color on the map)(Note: it is NOT #19)
Question (b.) What is the color of the soil that you find at this location? (i.e. white, beige, tan, reddish tan, red, reddish brown, brown, black, other)
Question (c.) What two types of crops, when planted in this rich farm soil, utilize the soil's minerals and nutrients to produce at record levels?
Additional, detailed information about individual soil series can be found at:
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(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 8/18/2014 2:26:09 PM Pacific Daylight Time (9:26 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum