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An alkaline soil that develops in regions with a dry climate, where the rainfall is sufficient only to wet the upper layer of soil. Although the soil drains freely, water does not reach the water-table. Vegetation is sparse, leaching is light, and the soil air is only slightly enriched in carbon dioxide resulting from decomposition. These conditions favour the precipitation of carbonates, especially calcium carbonate. All the transported material accumulates in a layer at the depth to which water penetrates. The process is called calcification (cal). The geologist and soil scientist Prof. Curtis Fletcher Marbut (1863–1935) introduced the term in 1928 as part of a twofold division in his system of soil classification based on pedogenesis, with the intention of using the basic soil type used in mapping as the lowest category in classification. Whether this is possible is controversial, but the Marbut classification was adopted by the US Soil Survey, eventually to be replaced by the USDA Soil Taxonomy, and the term is still widely used. Compare pedalfer.


Subjects: Ecology and Conservation.

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