A soil core monolith is an undisturbed soil profile sample collected using a hydraulic probe fitted with a core tube. The core can be permanently preserved, mounted, and displayed as a visual aid for teaching about soil properties and types.
Collecting cores at CERA
In November 2002, nine soil cores (3 inches in diameter, 4 feet long) were collected in seven soil types at CERA, representing Nodaway, Fayette, Downs, Tama, Gara, Ackmore, and Lindley soils. Two cores of Fayette were collected, one in Wilson prairie (a 35-year-old reconstruction), and the other in the adjacent oak/hickory forest. Two cores of Tama were collected to compare soil development in Deaner Prairie (a 17-year-old reconstruction) with cultivated land adjacent to CERA to the west. UTM coordinates and photos are on record for each site. Enlarge graphic, with rollover images of the core sample sites.
Volunteer and Research Opportunities
- Write formal soil descriptions for each core (8 are left to describe).
- Compare soil properties between the two Tama (prairie-influenced) cores and the two Fayette (forest-influenced) cores.
- Mount the cores in PVC half-pipes for displaying.
- Build a wood frame to display the mounts.
- Design an outreach program using the cores as visual aids for discussing soil properties and soil development.
We thank Mark LaVan, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service soil scientist from Washington County, Iowa, for collecting the cores.