Solonetz (SZ)

The soils of this great group usually have an Ah, Ahe, or Ap horizon overlying the solonetzic B horizon; any Ae horizon is thin and usually discontinuous. The boundary between the A and B horizons is abrupt and usually occurs within 20 cm of the surface. The solonetzic B horizon (Bn or Bnt) is hard and commonly massive, breaking to angular blocky structure. It has a low hydraulic conductivity. Dark stainings occur commonly on ped surfaces in the B horizon, which usually has a neutral to strongly alkaline reaction and may contain carbonates. The C horizon is saline and usually calcareous.

Soils of the Solonetzic great group occur throughout the area of Solonetzic soils. The great group is usually associated with parent materials of high salinity on relatively arid sites.

These soils have a solonetzic B horizon (Bn or Bnt) and lack a continuous Ae horizon at least 2 cm thick. The Solonetz great group is divided into seven subgroups.

Brown Solonetz (B.SZ)

Common horizon sequence: Ah, Bn or Bnt, Csk

Soils of this subgroup have a solonetzic B horizon as defined for the Solonetzic order and the properties specified for the Solonetz great group. They are associated with grass and forb vegetation and a subarid to semiarid climate. Areas of these soils often have patchy microrelief caused by differential erosion. The B horizon is exposed in some eroded pits. Plant growth in the eroded pits is usually very sparse.

Brown Solonetzs have either an Ah, Ahe, or Ap horizon with color values higher than 4.5 dry and chromas usually higher than 1.5 dry, or an exposed solonetzic B horizon. They have neither a strongly alkaline (pH of 8.5 or more) A horizon nor faint to distinct mottles that indicate gleying within the upper 50 cm.

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Dark Brown Solonetz (DB.SZ)

Common horizon sequence: Ah, Bn or Bnt, Csk

Soils of this subgroup have a solonetzic B horizon as defined for the Solonetzic order and the properties specified for the Solonetz great group. They are associated with mesophytic grasses and forbs in a semiarid climate. Areas of Dark Brown Solonetzs often have patchy microrelief caused by differential erosion of the A horizon. However, bare eroded pits are not as common as in areas of Brown Solonetzs.

Dark Brown Solonetzs have either an Ah, Ahe, or Ap horizon with color values lower than 3.5 moist and 3.5-4.5 dry, or an exposed solonetzic B horizon. Chromas of the surface horizon are usually higher than 1.5 dry. The soils have neither strongly alkaline (pH of 8.5 or more) A horizons nor faint to distinct mottles that indicate gleying within the upper 50 cm.

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Black Solonetz (BL.SZ)

Common horizon sequence: Ah, Bnt, Csk

Soils of this subgroup have a solonetzic B horizon as defined for the Solonetzic order and the properties specified for the Solonetz great group. They are associated mainly with the growth of mesophytic grasses and forbs in a subhumid climate. However, they occur also in areas of discontinuous shrub and tree cover with a ground cover of forbs and grasses. The microrelief associated with differential erosion of the A horizon in areas of Brown and Dark Brown Solonetzs occurs rarely in areas of Black Solonetzs.

Black Solonetzs have an Ah, Ahe, or Ap horizon with color values lower than 3.5 moist and dry, and chromas usually less than 2 moist and dry. They have neither a strongly alkaline (pH of 8.5 or more) A horizon nor faint to distinct mottles that indicate gleying within the upper 50 cm.

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Alkaline Solonetz (A.SZ)

Common horizon sequence: Ah, Bn, Csk

Soils of this subgroup have a solonetzic B horizon as defined for the Solonetzic order and the properties specified for the Solonetz great group. They are associated with highly saline materials and with mesophytic grasses and forbs that include alkali-tolerant species. The alkaline A horizon may be of any color including brown, black, and gray. Alkaline Solonetzs occupy a minor area and commonly occur in groundwater discharge sites.

Alkaline Solonetzs have a strongly alkaline A horizon (pH of 8.5 or more) and a solonetzic B horizon. They may have faint to distinct mottles that indicate gleying within the upper 50 cm.

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Gleyed Brown Solonetz (GLB.SZ)

Common horizon sequence: Ah, Bngj, Cskgj

Soils of this subgroup have a solonetzic B horizon as defined for the Solonetzic order and the properties specified for the Solonetz great group. They differ from Brown Solonetzs by having faint to distinct mottles that indicate gleying within 50 cm of the mineral surface.

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Gleyed Dark Brown Solonetz (GLDB.SZ)

Common horizon sequence: Ah, Bngj, Cskgj

Soils of this subgroup have a solonetzic B horizon as defined for the Solonetzic order and the properties specified for the Solonetz great group. They differ from Dark Brown Solonetzs by having faint to distinct mottles that indicate gleying within 50 cm of the mineral surface.

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Gleyed Black Solonetz (GLBL.SZ)

Common horizon sequence: Ah, Bntgj, Cskgj

Soils of this subgroup have a solonetzic B horizon as defined for the Solonetzic order and the properties specified for the Solonetz great group. They differ from Black Solonetzs by having faint to distinct mottles that indicate gleying within 50 cm of the mineral surface.

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Note: Diagnostic horizons are underlined.