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Soil 3600 Eva Downey

Soil Survey Report


South Tobacco Creek Watershed
Madill Sub-Watershed
Group 3

Group 3
Date Performed: October 17, 2015
Date Submitted: December 16, 2015
Soil Survey Report Eva Downey

Soil Survey Report

Preface

On October 17, the class took a trip to a farm just south of Deerwood. The farm

was located in the Madill sub-watershed of the South Tobacco creek watershed,

which is in the Thompson municipality. When at the field site there were six

different soil pits dug at different points that ran parallel to the trees lining the

field. These pits were used to examine different soil horizons, soil colour, soil

texture, tested for carbonates, and samples were taken to analyze more closely

in the lab periods. Each group examined two pits that were located on different

parts of the slope of the hill, which demonstrated how slope affects the soil

profile. After examining two different pits, the groups used inclinometers to

determine the slope between various points on different transects of the field.

Then the groups looked at soil-vegetation of four different parts of a transect (top

slope, middle slope, bottom slope and riparian area). In the lab the samples were

looked at again for colour and the presence of carbonates.

Overview of Land

The South Tobacco Creek area is has many different uses. The primary usage of

the land is agriculture. The main crops consist of cereal grain production, commercial

crops and livestock, and specialty crops in this area (Province of Manitoba, 2015). The

specific site where soil samples were taken from had landscape that varied in

characteristics. The central pit (M3 on the overhead view of the site) was located at the

top of a hill. The hill stretched outwards in all directions, with a more gradual slope on

the southeast side, and a more vertical slope on all the other sides. Along the western

side of the hill there was a riparian area with heavy vegetation. This area connects up to

a stream that runs along the northern side of the site. This area used to be covered by

glaciers, which then melted into what was known as Glacial Lake Agassiz. The lake was
Soil Survey Report Eva Downey

very vast and over time (but not all at once) covered the majority of Manitoba and part of

Ontario (Buckner, 2015). Pit M3 was found to have two horizons, a small Apk at the top

and a large Ck at the bottom. Pit M5 was found to have four horizons, an Ap, a Bt, a Bm

and a Ck.

Landscape Processes

Around 20,000 years ago, according to Dr. Anthony P. Buckner, a glacier

covered almost the entire province of Manitoba. This glacier later melted to become

what is known as Lake Agassiz. When the glacier was still in its peak, it covered the site

used for this fieldwork. As the glacier melted and the water began to flow, it took

sediment with it; the larger the piece of sediment, the faster it was dropped in the water.

This dropping of sediment carried boulders, smaller rocks and also silts and clays results

in what is known as lacustrine deposits, which came from the glacial Lake Agassiz

(Brady & Weil, 2008). As the lake dried up it left the beginnings of the soils that are

present now.

The main process currently taking place in this area is erosion. Due to the area

being open on three sides, it is easily subject to wind erosion. Wind erosion is a problem

mostly in arid and semiarid regions, and is one type of erosion currently at play in this

area but not a common one (Brady & Weil, 2008). When the top layer of soil is dryer, it

is more susceptible to wind erosion. This is due to the soil being arid and not

electrostatically held together, it is going to be able to detach and travel with the wind.

Water erosion is also a process that occurs in this area, and is also not as

common. When rainfall takes place, the raindrops splash off the ground at high

intensities causing particles of soil to dislodge and get propelled upwards with the force

of the raindrop. As it falls back down it falls down slope, causing soil to get transported to

a new place (Blij, Conrad, Long, Muller, Williams, 2009). Due to the hills in the area and

the force of gravity, a mass wasting processes known as creep is also in action. Due to
Soil Survey Report Eva Downey

gravity, material on the surface of the soil and the soil its self gets pulled downslope

creating a concave like hill (Blij et. all, 2009).

The main type of erosion taking place in this area though is tillage erosion.

Tillage erosion causes the downslope movement of soil (similar to creeping), however

humans influence it. Tillage erosion causes a decrease in the topsoil, which then

exposes the horizons below (Lobb, 2011). This was seen when examining the M3 pit

compared to the M5 pit. It was observed in the M3 pit that there was a small Apk horizon

and a large Ck horizon, whereas pit M5 was lower downslope and had a larger Ap

horizon, a Bt horizon, a Bm horizon and a Ck horizon.

Conclusion

The South Tobacco Creek area has lots of landform processes taking place

currently and a few that took place in the past. The processes of glaciation and

deglaciation lead to the deposition of sand, silt and clay in the Madill sub-watershed

area, which led to the formation of the current soils found in the area. The soil profiles in

the area are constantly being altered however due to mass wasting processes and

erosion that is taking place in the area.


Soil Survey Report Eva Downey

References

1. Blij, H.J., Conrad, C., Long, P., Muller, P., Williams, R. (2009). Physical Geography:

The Global Environment, Second Canadian Edition. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford

University Press.

2. Brady, N. and Weil, R. (2008). The Nature and Properties of Soils, Fourteenth

Edition. Columbus, Ohio: Pearson Prentice Hall

3. Lobb, D. A. (2011). Understanding and managing the causes of soil variability.

Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 66, 175-179.

4. Province of Manitoba. (2015). Manitoba crop highlights 2011 census of agriculture.

Retrieved from https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/market-prices-and-

statistics/crop-statistics/pubs/crop_highlights_census.pdf

5. Buckner, A. P. (2015). Manitoba History: Glacial Lake Agassiz. The Manitoba

Historical Society. Retrieved from

http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/mb_history/19/lakeagassiz.shtml