Public Release: 

What's in your soil?

New updates to the classic text take a modern approach to the ways to examine, analyze the minerals in soil

American Society of Agronomy

The latest in modern soil mineralogical methods is now available from the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) in their new monograph Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 5. Mineralogical Methods (2008). The new edition reflects improvements in old techniques and presents new techniques and instrumentation with more quantitative analysis, giving students and scientists established methods for measurement of soil mineralogical properties. This volume updates the classic text Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 1. Physical and Mineralogical Methods (1986).

The study of soil mineralogy is more critical than ever because of the important linkages between soil minerals and soil behavior, including the response of soils to changing land use and the fate and transport of contaminants in the environment. Soil minerals exert a primary control over nutrient cycling and influence microbial accessibility to nutrients, and therefore have important implications in global carbon and nitrogen cycling. An understanding of the mineralogical make-up of soils provides vital information that lends insight into sound land management principles.

The new monograph was co-edited by Drs. April L. Ulery and L. Richard Drees, with contributions from highly skilled and knowledgeable researchers in the field of soil mineralogy. The volume begins with a chapter on sampling soils for mineralogical analyses, followed by a detailed discussion of soil preparation techniques. The monograph then goes on to present new methodologies, including atomic force microscopy and X-ray absorption and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, and updated chapters on thermal analysis and selective dissolution methodologies. Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 5. Mineralogical Methods presents a variety of valuable, detailed methodologies with a range of applications, from soil classification to environmental remediation, to assist researchers and students in soils, geology, mineralogy, environmental engineering, and environmental sciences.

"The goal of each chapter is to equip the reader with an understanding of the basic principles and theory of the analytical method, guide the reader through the method itself, and finally assist in the interpretation and analysis of results collected, " says co-editor Dr. Ulery, Associate Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.


Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 5. Mineralogical Methods can be purchased online from for $90, Item No. B60912 at:, by phone at 608-268-4960, or by email: To view the table of contents, go to:

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive, international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. It provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.

SSSA supports its members by providing quality research-based publications, educational programs, certifications, and science policy initiatives via a Washington, DC, office. For more information, visit

SSSA is the founding sponsor of an approximately 5,000-square foot exhibition, "Dig It! The Secrets of Soil," opening July 19, 2008 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

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