This area is not part of the California State Soil but we are going to compare the pH levels for the two. You will collect your field data and return home for the testing portion.
A state soil is a soil that has special significance to a particular state. Each state in the United States has selected a state soil, twenty of which have been legislatively established. These official state soils share the same level of distinction as official state flowers and birds. Our state soil is located in the San Joaquin Valley. The San Joaquin soil became the official State Soil of California in 1997. A San Joaquin soil sample was prepared and sent to the Netherlands World Soil Museum in Wageningen, Holland. The San Joaquin soil has also been selected by the Soil Conservation Service as one of California’s Benchmark Soils. “Benchmark Soils” are a nationwide listing of soil series in the United States.
“Soil” is material capable of supporting plant life. Soil forms through a variety of soil formation processes, and includes weathered “parent material” combined with dead and living organic matter and air. Soils are vital to all life on Earth because they support the growth of plants, which supply food and oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide and nitrogen.(Wikipedia)
We are going to be testing the pH of the topsoil here. This area has been kept relatively the same since 1939 by the looks of the nearby Benchmarks. The state has been testing the soil all over California since the 1800s but clear records date back to the 1920s. The San Joaquin topsoil pH is 7.3 within the 6 inches of the surface. The pH scale indicates acidity or alkalinity. Soil Acidifies because the concentration of hydrogen ions in the soil increases and water is unable to filter through. Alkaline soils are primarily caused by a calcium carbonate-rich material weathering in an arid or dry environment. A soil with a pH number below 7 is acid, while one with a pH above 7 is alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral. Let's find out what some of our local dirt is like.
FOR YOUR EXPERIMENT YOU WILL NEED
- Distilled Water
- Baking Soda
- 3 Plastic or Glass Cups
- 3 Plastic Spoons
*This experiment is an approximation and gives an example of the pH level in the soil.
You can test a soils pH with vinegar and baking soda. Collect about 1 cup of soil from anywhere near here. Put 2 spoonfuls into separate containers. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the soil. If it fizzes, you have alkaline soil, with a pH between 8 and 9. If it doesn’t fizz after doing the vinegar test, then add distilled water to the other container and mix in 2 teaspoons of soil until it looks muddy. Add 1/2 cup baking soda. If it fizzes you have acidic soil, most likely with a pH between 5 and 6. If your soil doesn’t react at all it is neutral with a pH of 7 and you are very lucky!
***NOW FOR THE Q. & A.***
Email Me The Answers To These Questions or your log Will Be Deleted.
1) From the Experiment above, What was the pH Balance # for your soil sample?
2) Looking at the area the dirt is from, Can you tell me why you think you got the results you did?
3) List any other Geocaching Accounts that you are submitting the answers for in your group.
THERE ARE TWO BENCHMARKS NEAR THIS EARTHCACHE!
THEY ARE Benchmark: LU0051 & Benchmark: LU0052
Resources and Credits
Images & Quoted Info: http://pssac.org/soilresources/state-soil