Established Series


The Calamine series consists of deep, poorly drained and very poorly drained soils formed in loess or other silty deposits and in the underlying residuum weathered from calcareous shale. These upland soils have moderate permeability in the upper part of the solum and very slow permeability in the lower part. Slopes range from 0 to 12 percent. Mean annual precipitation is about 34 inches, and mean annual temperature is about 47 degrees F.

TAXONOMIC CLASS: Fine, mixed, superactive, mesic Typic Argiaquolls

TYPICAL PEDON: Calamine silt loam - on a 2 percent slope in a cultivated field at an elevation of about 1,065 feet. (Colors are for moist soil unless otherwise stated.)

Ap--0 to 8 inches; black (10YR 2/1) silt loam, dark grayish brown (10YR 4/2) dry; moderate medium subangular blocky structure parting to moderate coarse granular; friable; many fine roots; neutral; abrupt smooth boundary.

A1--8 to 16 inches; black (10YR 2/1) silt loam, dark grayish brown (10YR 4/2) dry; moderate fine subangular blocky structure; friable; many roots; slightly alkaline; clear wavy boundary.

A2--16 to 20 inches; very dark gray (10YR 3/1) silty clay loam, grayish brown (10YR 5/2) dry; moderate fine subangular blocky structure; firm; many fine roots; black (10YR 2/1) organic stains on some vertical faces of peds; slightly alkaline; gradual wavy boundary. (Combined thickness of the A horizon ranges from 10 to 20 inches.)

Btg1--20 to 27 inches; dark gray (5Y 4/1) silty clay loam; few fine distinct olive brown (2.5Y 4/4), and light olive brown (2.5Y 5/6) mottles; moderate fine subangular blocky structure; firm; few fine roots; many old root channels; black (10YR 2/1) organic stains; few distinct patchy clay films on faces of peds; slightly alkaline; gradual wavy boundary. (5 to 10 inches thick)

2Btg2--27 to 34 inches; olive gray (5Y 5/2) silty clay loam; moderate fine subangular blocky structure; firm; few old root channels; few distinct clay films on all faces of peds; slightly alkaline; abrupt wavy boundary.

2Btg3--34 to 40 inches; light olive gray (5Y 6/2) silty clay; moderate medium subangular blocky structure; firm; few distinct clay films mainly on vertical faces of peds bordering large cracks; slightly alkaline; gradual irregular boundary. (Combined thickness of the 2Btg horizons is 10 to 20 inches.)

2C--40 to 46 inches; light olive gray (5Y 6/2) silty clay; many medium prominent strong brown (7.5YR 5/6) mottles; massive, with tendency to part to weak thick plates; firm; few fragments of shale; slightly effervescent; moderately alkaline; gradual wavy boundary. (0 to 8 inches thick)

Cr--46 to 60 inches; light olive brown (2.5Y 5/6) and light olive gray (5Y 6/2) shale bedrock; massive; parts to thick plates when dug with spade; slightly effervescent; moderately alkaline.

TYPE LOCATION: Lafayette County, Wisconsin; about 2 miles southeast of Shullsburg; 1,400 feet west and 300 feet north of the southeast corner of sec. 13, T. 1 N., R. 2 E.

RANGE IN CHARACTERISTICS: Solum thickness is 25 to 50 inches. In some pedons the solum is terminated by bedrock, but in others, there is an intervening C horizon. Bedrock is below a depth of 40 inches. Thickness of silty mantle over the shale residuum is 15 to 30 inches. The solum is slightly acid to mildly alkaline and the substratum is neutral to moderately alkaline. Pedons formed partly in local alluvium derived from shale and those with a thin sandy horizon (less than 6 inches thick) just above the bedrock are within the range of the series. Calamine pedons typically do not have coarse fragments.

The A horizon has 10YR hue, value of 2 or 3, and chroma of 1 or is N 2/0. It typically is silt loam or silty clay loam, but the range includes loam. Some pedons have an AB horizon.

The Btg1 horizon has 10YR, 2.5Y, or 5Y hue; value is 4 through 6. Depending upon presence or absence of distinct or prominent mottles, chroma is 2 or less with 10YR and 2.5Y hue, and 3 or less with 5Y hue. Clay films are continuous or patchy on faces of peds. The Btg1 horizon is silt loam or silty clay loam.

The 2Btg2 and 2Btg3 horizons are silty clay loam (greater than 35 percent clay), silty clay, or clay. The finer textured part ranges from 1/3 to 2/3 of the total B horizon thickness.

The 2C horizon has 10YR, 2.5Y, or 5Y hue; value of 4 through 6; and chroma of 3 or less. Mottle colors are similar to those of the B horizon. It is silty clay or clay.

The Cr horizon has 2.5Y, 5Y, or 5GY hue; value of 4 through 6; and chroma of 1 through 6. In some pedons the shale is coherent enough to be designated an R horizon.

COMPETING SERIES: These are the Conser, Kokomo, Konert, Lippincott, Millsdale, Pewamo, and Rowe soils in the same family and the Ashkum, Bono, Hoytville, Lorain, Montgomery, Peotone, and Ragsdale soils. Conser, Kokomo, Konert, Lippincott, Pewamo, and Rowe soils do not have sola terminated by bedrock; in addition, they contain less clay and more sand in the lower B and C horizons. Millsdale soils have a lithic contact at depths less than 40 inches. Ashkum, Bono, Montgomery, and Peotone soils do not have argillic horizons. In addition, Ashkum and Peotone soils have 2C horizons formed in glacial drift. Hoytville and Lorain soils do not have mollic epipedons. Ragsdale soils are fine-silty.

GEOGRAPHIC SETTING: Calamine soils typically are on broad nearly level areas, in slightly depressed areas and swales, on foot slopes, where seepage occurs, and in nearly level basins of old flood plains. Slopes are typically 0 to 3 percent, but on foot slopes, where seepage occurs, slopes range to 12 percent. They formed in 15 to 30 inches of loess, or other silty deposits, and in the underlying residuum weathered from calcareous shale of Ordovician age. Mean annual temperature is about 45 to 53 degrees F, and mean annual precipitation ranges between 25 and 35 inches.

GEOGRAPHICALLY ASSOCIATED SOILS: These are the Ashdale, Derinda, Dodgeville, Keltner, Schapville, and Shullsburg soils. The Ashdale and Dodgeville soils, which are nearby, are better drained and underlain by dolomite. Derinda and Keltner soils are better drained, have browner or less gray colors in the B horizons, and are underlain by residuum weathered from shale. In addition, Derinda soils have E horizons. The moderately well drained Schapville soils and the somewhat poorly drained Shullsburg soils are in a drainage sequence with the Calamine soils and are the most common associates.

DRAINAGE AND PERMEABILITY: Poorly drained and very poorly drained. Surface runoff is slow to very slow or ponded. Permeability is moderate in the upper part of the solum and very slow in the lower part.

USE AND VEGETATION: Much of the soil remains in grassland. Some of the soil has been drained and is used for cropland, but adequate drainage is difficult to maintain and only fair crop yields are obtained. Native vegetation is marsh grasses, sedges, and water-tolerant plants. See Additional Data section for native vegetative cover in Iowa.

DISTRIBUTION AND EXTENT: Southwestern Wisconsin, northwestern Illinois, and northeastern Iowa. The series is of small extent.


SERIES ESTABLISHED: Lafayette County, Wisconsin, 1964.

REMARKS: Diagnostic horizons and features recognized in this pedon are: mollic epipedon - zone from the surface of the soil to a depth of 20 inches (Ap, A1, and A2 horizons); argillic horizon - zone from 20 to 40 inches (Btg1, Btg2, and Btg3 horizons); aquic moisture regime; mesic temperature regime.

ADDITIONAL DATA: In Iowa, the native vegetative cover is a herbaceous wetland community commonly inhabited with Prairie Cordgrasses, Bluejoint Grasses, Fox Sedges, Oval Sedges, Inland Rushes, New England Asters, Foxglove Penstemons, Cool Mountain Mints, Prairie Sundrops, Winged Loosestrifes, and Saw-Tooth Sunflowers. Source: Iowa State Office, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Des Moines, IA.

National Cooperative Soil Survey