Established Series


The Carteret series consists of very poorly drained sandy soils in the tidal marshes along the Atlantic Coast between the coastline and the mainland. They are saturated continuously with water and flooded twice daily by tides. Near the type location, mean annual temperature is 63 degrees F., and mean annual precipitation is 53 inches. Slopes are 0 to 2 percent.

TAXONOMIC CLASS: Mixed, thermic Typic Psammaquents

TYPICAL PEDON: Carteret loamy sand--coastal tidal marsh.
(Colors are for moist soil unless otherwise stated.)

A--0 to 4 inches; dark grayish brown (2.5Y 4/2) loamy sand; weak medium granular structure; very friable; many fine roots; few to common gravel-size fragments of shells; moderately alkaline; clear smooth boundary. (3 to 9 inches thick)

Ag--4 to 10 inches; dark gray (N 4/0) loamy sand; weak medium granular structure; very friable; many fine roots; common sand and gravel-size fragments of shells; moderately alkaline; gradual smooth boundary. (0 to 11 inches thick)

C1g--10 to 34 inches; gray (N 5/0) loamy sand; single grained; very friable; common fine roots in upper part; common sand-size fragments of shells; neutral; gradual smooth boundary. (16 to 36 inches thick)

C2g--34 to 80 inches; greenish gray (5GY 5/1) sand; single grained; loose; common sand and gravel-size fragments of shells; moderately alkaline.

TYPE LOCATION: Carteret County, North Carolina; from junction of Atlantic Beach Morehead City road at Atlantic Beach 3,500 feet east on SR 1201, 250 feet north of road in tidal marsh.

RANGE IN CHARACTERISTICS: Reaction ranges from moderately acid to moderately alkaline throughout the profile. Few to many fragments of shells are present throughout the profile.

The A horizon has hue of 10YR to 5Y, value of 3 to 6, and chroma of 1 to 3. It is loamy sand or sand.

The Ag horizon, where present, has hue of 10YR to 5GY, value of 3 to 6, and chroma of 0 to 2. It is loamy sand or sand.

The Cg horizon has hue of 10YR to 5BG or is neutral, value of 4 to 6, and chroma of 0 to 2. It is loamy sand or sand. In some pedons thin intermittent layers of clay loam, silty clay loam, or layers of shell are present.

COMPETING SERIES: These include the Dello and Lang series in the same family and the Duckston and Osier series in closely related family. Dello and Lang soils are at a higher elevation, in a dry climate with 10 to 20 inches of rainfall. Duckston and Osier soils have siliceous mineralogy and are not flooded daily by tides.

GEOGRAPHIC SETTING: Carteret soils are on nearly level tidal marshes bordering the outer banks along the Atlantic Coast, on islands in sounds between the outer banks and the mainland, and along some streams extending inland from the sounds. Elevation is about 1 foot below to 3 feet above mean sea level. These soils may be flooded by daily high tides or, in some areas, monthly by lunar high tides. The water table is at or near the surface most of the time. The soils formed in sandy marine or fluvial sediments and, in some places, contain an overburden of wind blown sands. The mean annual air temperature ranges from 58 to 70 degrees F., mean annual precipitation ranges from 45 to 60 inches. Near the type location, the freeze-free season is 260 days.

GEOGRAPHICALLY ASSOCIATED SOILS: In addition to the competing Duckston and Osier series, these are the Bohicket, Capers, Corolla, Fripp and Newhan series. Bohicket and Capers soils have more than 35 percent clay in the control section. Corolla soils are moderately well drained and somewhat poorly drained and have an upper C horizon in chroma of 3 or more. Fripp and Newhan have deep ground water tables and are not saturated with water at any period during the year.

DRAINAGE AND PERMEABILITY: Very poorly drained. Permeability is rapid or very rapid. Carteret soils are continuously saturated.

USE AND VEGETATION: Carteret soils are mostly used as a natural habitat for fish and shellfish production; a few areas are used for grazing and some areas have been diked and filled for use as water front homesites. Dominant vegetation is giant cordgrass and marshhay with needle rush in areas bordering higher adjacent soils.

DISTRIBUTION AND EXTENT: The outer banks sound area of North Carolina and Virginia. The series is of moderate extent.


SERIES ESTABLISHED: Carteret County, North Carolina; 1975. The name is from Carteret County.


Diagnostic horizons and features recognized in this pedon are:

Ochric epipedon - the zone from the surface to a depth of 10 inches. (A and Ag horizons)

MLRA: 153A, 153B


SOI-5  Soil Name   Slope  Airtemp FrFr/Seas Precip  Elevation
NC0104 CARTERET    0-  2   58- 70  200-270  45- 60     0-   3

SOI-5 FloodL FloodH Watertable Kind Months Bedrock Hardness NC0104 FREQ 0-1.0 APPARENT JAN-DEC 60-60

SOI-5 Depth Texture 3-Inch No-10 Clay% -CEC- NC0104 0-80 LS LFS 0- 3 90-100 5-12 2- 20 NC0104 0-80 S FS 0- 3 90-100 2- 8 3- 20

SOI-5 Depth -pH- O.M. Salin Permeab Shnk-Swll NC0104 0-80 5.6- 8.4 .5-8. 16-80 6.0- 20 LOW NC0104 0-80 5.6- 8.4 .5-8. 16-80 6.0- 20 LOW

ADDITIONAL DATA: North Carolina State University, Department of Soil Science laboratory. Data from type location.

National Cooperative Soil Survey