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FIELD TEXTURES AND PHYSICAL COMPOSITION DETERMINED BY TWO METHODS OF MECHANICAL ANALYSIS

FIELD TEXTURES AND PHYSICAL COMPOSITION DETERMINED BY TWO METHODS OF MECHANICAL ANALYSIS

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42
FIELD
TEXTURES
AND
PHYSICAL COMPOSITION DETERMINED
BY
TWO
METHODS OF MECHANICAL ANALYSIS
CHAS. F. SHAW
(University of
California
R ·keley,
California
U.S.A.)
The textures
of
soils
are
u5ually
designated
y
conventional
or
colloquial names, such as sandy loam, loam, clay loam, clay,
adobe
clay,
and
.the like,
that
have been established
y
general
usage.
Definite
standards
for
these textural
grades were
established
y
\:Vhitney (7,
8)
as a
result
of
the
correlation between the textural names
and the
laboratory
analyses of several
thousand
samples sent in
y
Lhe
ficlt.l
men. \\Then the mean composition
of
each
texture
had been established, the mechanical
analyses
were
thereafter
used to check dc\·iations
and
to hold men
working
in the various
parts
of the country to relatively close
standards
of
textural
designations.
At
rhc University
of
California
the
analytical
ark
necessary for g-uidance in
the
textural
naming
of
soils
has
followed two methods.
The
first
of
these, used from
1913
to
Hl30,
followed the centrifuge
method
originally de\·eloped
by
the
Bureau
'Of
Soils (2,
3).
Ammonia
was
used as the dispersing
agent,
tht
soils
being
shaken for
12
to lR
hours,
then bv decantation from the
shaker
bottles the silts and
days
were
c;eparat~d
from the
sands.
The
clays
were
separated
from the silts
y
repeated
decanting
after
accelerated sedimentation in a centrifuge.
The
upper limit
of
" clay " as determined
y
this ammonia
centrifuge
method was fh·c microns, and " silt "
was
fifty microns, the
separations
being chccl.:cd
y
microscopic
measurements
of
tlH~
suspended materials.
The
second method, which
has
been used for selected analyses
si11cc
Hl30,
is a mmlilication
of
the
International
met 1od
(G).
The
soils arc prctrcntl'd with
hydrof,' en
pcroxidc and hydrochloric acid, shaken with sodium oxalate
as
a dispersant,
washed through
a
300
mesh sieve to
separate
the sands, and the iilt
and
clays determined
by
pipette sampling-.
The
\'icld of clavs b\·
the
modilicd-lntcrnational method
was
much
higher
th.an
y
the
3mn;onia-et·ntrifuge method, and the former could not be used in
checking
the
textural
name '
as
established by the field men.
From
time to time
thr
rcsuhs
of
analvsl: s by
the
two methods \vere compared,
but
there
did not 'cem to be
·a
con~istent
difference
in
the
,•iclds
of
the finer fractions . . In
order
to dctcrmine the differences in results, and to settle questions
regarding
the consistence with which
textural
grades
1v·ere
being usetl, sixty-four samples
of surface
soils from the Lodi and
Napa
soil
survey
areas
(unpublished), which had been suveyed
y
the same two men,
worldng
together,
were analyzed
y
both methods.
ln
order
to ,
make
the comparisons direct,
the upper
limit
of
the silt fraction was
hdd
at
O
microns anrl
of
the clay
at
5 microns in the modified-Inter-
national
ns "·ell as in
the
ammoni~ centrifugc
methods. ·
The
results
of
the
analyses
were plotted on the
triangular diagram of
Davis
and
Bennett
(1).
Ten
of the soils had been classed by the field
men
.as .sandy Joams,
14
as learns,
27
as
clay learns, and
14
as
clays. Tht ammon in-centrifuge
analyses
showed
that
all
of
the sandy loams
had
a physical composition
that
classed them properly
in
that
tc:..:turnl
grade
as established
by
the
Bureau
of
Chemistry and Soils.
 
 
[
·
ii
~
.
I
a
lc
le
CL V
LOAM S
I
/
....
....
....
lb
~··
ld
II
..
-
\.
\
~.1 d
\~'
liLY
L
;
'
,\
\
4
.
"
UlJ
FIG
.-Differences
in physical composition indicated
by
two
methods
or
mechanical analysis. 1'he butt
of
the arrow indicates the composition as determined
by
the ammonia-centrifuge method, while the poinl shows the
composition
of
the same soil when analyzed
by
the modified-lnternationa.l
method.
In-Analyses
of
10
soils call d sandy loams.
lb-Analvses
of
14
soils called loams.
lc-AnalYses
of
2i
soils called clay learns.
Id-Analyses
of
14
soils called days.
le-Average
analyses of
each
of
the lour textural grades.
If-The
triangular
diagram shov.-ing the composition area textural grade. assigned
to
each
 
Of the
learns, however, only 6 were properly named learns and all
of
these
were very heavy textured,
lying
close
to
the
day
loams,
Two
of
the
11
Joams " fell within the sandy clay loam textures,
5
in the clay Joams, and 1
was
a light
day.
Of
the
27
clay learns, 14 analyzed
as
clay loam,
1
as
n
loam,
3
as sandy
clay
learns,
2
as silty clay loams,
I
as
a
silty
clay, and
li
as
light
clays.
Of the
4
clays, 13 analyzed as clays and
1
as a
silty clay.
From
these studies it became
apparent
that
from
the
standpoint of mechanical analysis
the
field
men
were inclined to
name
the
soils of intermediate
textures
in
one
grade
too coarse., light clay learns being judged as learns
and
light clays as clay learns. None of
the
so-ca1led
11
clay
learns,
however, fell
far
outside the clay loam portion of the
triangular diagram,
whereas several of the " learns " were
well
away from
the
loam section.
The
clays and sandy learns were consistently named. This " drift "
in
the
judgment
of textures
appears
to
be due
to
a tendency to
make
the determination comparative.
When
working
in
a region of dominantly heavy soils,
the
sandier soils
are
often named in a textural
grade that
is too light
or
coarse, whereas
in
a region of dominantly sandy sqBs, many soils of finer
r x~
ture arc
often designated
by
a
grade
heavier
or
finer than their composition would
warrant. The
marked
difference jn yield
of
the
fines, the silt and
clay,
due to different
methods
of analysis is shown by
the
arrows jn the
triangular diagrams
in
Fig
1,
and the average change is shown in
Fig
Je
and in Table
1
Under the more severe
treatment
of the modified-Inter-
TABLE
I
Average composiliqn
of
texlur;LJ
grades by the ammonia-centrifuge and the modified· International methods
or
anPlys s,
Sandv
loams
(10)
Loams
1
4)
Clay
loams
(27)
Clays
(H)
Cent.
1nt.
Cent.
Int.
Cent.
1nt.
Ce:nt. Int.
Sands Silts Clays
n2· i4 22·8u
H·sa
fi2·2ii 28·35 ] 9·59 -
lO<l l
5·50
4'76
4H9
33·89
21-53
34·39
36·93
28·8 1
-
HJ·:IIJ
3· 4
7·30
:14·77
38·15
27-32 : 2·27
38·72
39-12
-12· i0
0·57
11-BO
20·8(i
3HU
45·01
1
17
25·83
61
·82
-
8·69
-
7·63
16·81
national method the sandy learns lost an average of over 10
per cent.
of
the sands
(as shown by the ammonia-centrifuge method), this material
being
nearly evenly distributed between the silt and clay.
The
loams likewise show
an
average
loss over I 0 per cent. of
the
sands, but
most
of this material
was
shifted to the clay fraction, only about one-third becoming silt.
The
27
clay learns show an
average

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