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Watershed Academy~Pathways for Water and Climate Resilience

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Lesson 11 of 23
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Geology & Soil Conditions in the Watershed

February 14, 2023

Did you know different types of soil have different uses and capabilities?

There are four main types:

Sand

Clay

Silt

Loam

Understanding soil is important for environmental work. It helps you understand the plants that grow at a site, how likely the area is to have soil erosion, and how well a site may support erosion control structures. Soil in New Mexico is very unique, because of a combination of it’s history as ocean floor and active volcano. Most of the soil here is clay-like or sandy, and “young”. Due to the debris of volcanic eruptions covering most of the landscape, our soil is usually “basic” or “alkaline” as opposed to acidic.

Watch from 0:00 – 2:05 

Vocabulary words to remember:

Infiltration– Permeation of a liquid such as a water into a substance. Infiltration is when water penetrates and seeps down into the soil. Infiltration is important for water to reach roots, and to slow down water runoff that may damage the land.

Hydrophobic- To repel or fail to mix with water. Water is unable to infiltrate into hydrophobic soil (this happens often after a wildfire).

Hydrology– The science concerned with the properties of water especially in relation to land.

Percolation- The movement of water in the soil itself.