Land Management & Natural Hazards Unit


European Commission

Joint Research Centre

Institute for Environment and Sustainability

EU Soils Web Site

Soil Atlas of Europe

Soil Classification

While the above box lists the qualifiers of the reference soil groups, the box below explains the diagnostic horizons, properties and materials that are used for the above definitions. Some of the terminology used on this page may seem very complicated but it reflects the detail required to assign the continuum that is soil to one group or another. What is also evident is that many of these criteria can only be determined through laboratory analysis. Thus, the correct classification of a soil involves an understanding of the position of the soil in the landscape, observations of the soil profile carried out in the field and supporting laboratory measurements.

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