Established Series


The Guffin series consists of moderately deep, poorly drained and very poorly drained soils formed in very slowly permeable clayey lacustrine sediments. They are nearly level soils on bedrock controlled landforms. Guffin soils typically have very dark gray clay A horizons, mottled dark grayish brown and grayish brown clay B horizons overlying massive level bedded limestone.

TAXONOMIC CLASS: Very-fine, mixed, active, nonacid, mesic Mollic Endoaquepts

TYPICAL PEDON: Guffin clay - hayfield. (Colors are for moist soil unless otherwise noted.)

Ap--0 to 18 centimeters; very dark gray (10YR 3/1), dark grayish brown (10YR 4/2) dry clay; strong fine and medium granular structure in upper part, strong fine blocky in lower part; friable; common fine roots; few very fine black concretions; medium acid; abrupt smooth boundary. (10 to 20 centimeters thick.)

B21--18 to 32 centimeters; dark grayish brown (10YR 4/2) cla clay; many (25 percent) fine distince brown (7.5YR 4/4) mottles; moderate very fine subangular blocky structure; firm, sticky and very plastic; few fine roots; faces of peds are gray (10YR 5/1); neutral; clear wavy boundary. (12 to 32 centimeters thick.)

B22--32 to 48 centimeters; dark grayish brown (10YR 4/2) clay; common fine faint brown (10YR 4/3) mottles; moderate fine subangular blocky structure; firm; sticky and very plastic; few fine roots; faces of peds are dark gray (10YR 4/1); neutral; clear wavy boundary. (7 to 32 centimeters thick.)

B3--48 to 56 centimeters; grayish brown (2.5Y 5/2), dark grayish brown (2.5Y 4/2) and brown (10YR 4/3) clay in horizontal streaks; common fine distinct yellowish brown (10YR 5/6) mottles; moderate thin platy structure; firm, sticky and very plastic; few fine roots; faces of peds are dark gray (10YR 4/1); about 2 percent soft grayish brown (2.5Y 5/2) lime concretions; mildly alkaline; abrupt smooth boundary. (0 to 15 centimeters thick.)

IIR--56 centimeters; massive level bedded limestone.

TYPE LOCATION: Jefferson County, New York, town of Lyme, 17 meters south of Moffet Road, 1.3 kilometers south of intersection of Moffet Road and New Route 12E.

RANGE IN CHARACTERISTICS: Thickness of the solum ranges from 45 to 100 centimeters. Depth to bedrock ranges from 50 to 100 centimeters. Coarse fragments are commonly lacking in the A and B horizons but range up to 5 percent in some pedons. Reaction is medium acid to neutral in the A horizon; slightly acid or neutral in the B2 horizon and neutral to moderately alkaline in the B3 horizon and C. The B3 and C horizon contains free carbonates.

The A horizon has hue of 10YR or 2.5Y, value of 2 or 3, and chroma of 1 or 2. Texture is silty clay loam, silty clay, or clay. It has moderate or strong, very fine to medium granular or blocky structure. Consistence is friable or firm.

The B2 horizon has hue of 10YR through 5Y, value of 3 through 5 and chroma of 1 or 2 and it is mottled. Texture is clay with thin silty clay subhorizons with average clay content of 60 percent or more. It has moderate or strong, very fine to coarse, angular or subangular blocky structure or primary structure is prismatic. Consistence is friable or firm, sticky or very sticky and plastic or very plastic.

B3 or C horizons are similar in color and texture to the B2 horizon but differ by having free carbonates. The C horizon is massive or has coarse prismatic structure. Thin IIC horizons ranging in texture from clay loam to silty clay loam or thier gravelly analogues, are permitted. The IIC horizons are normally thin layers of nonconforming clayey glacial till.

COMPETING SERIES: There are no other known soils in the same family. Similar soils in related families are the Chaumont, Covington, Kingsbury, Livingston, Vergennes and Wilpoint series. Chaumont soils have argillic horizons and have a subhorizon in the B with more than 40 percent high chroma mottles. Covington, Kingsbury, Livingston, and Vergennes soils are more than 100 centimeters deep to bedrock and have illitic mineralogy. Wilpoint soils lack aquic moisture regimes, have argillic horizons and are dominated by high chroma colors throughout.

GEOGRAPHIC SETTING: Guffin soils are nearly level with slopes ranging from 0 to 3 percent. The Guffin soils are in concave areas where relatively thin clayey marine sediments overlie hard bedrock. The bedrock is primarily limestone with some areas underlain by granite, sandstone or shale. Mean annual air temperature ranges from 46 to 50 degrees F; mean annual precipitation ranges from 75 to 112 centimeters, and mean annual growing season from 120 to 160 days.

GEOGRAPHICALLY ASSOCIATED SOILS: These are the somewhat poorly drained Chaumont and moderately well drained Wilpoint which are in a drainage sesquence with Guffin and the competing Covington, Kingsbury, Livingston and Vergennes. Also associated are the Benson, Newstead and Rhinebeck. Benson and Newstead are shallow and moderately deep soils occuring on adjacent bedrock controlled till landscapes. Rhinebeck soils are deep soils developed in lacustrine materials that contain slightly smaller amounts of clay.

DRAINAGE AND PERMEABILITY: Poorly drained and very poorly drained. Runoff is slow. Permeability is slow or very slow. A seasonal high water table is at or near the surface from December to May.

USE AND VEGETATION: Cleared areas are used to grow hay and pasture or are idle, mainly growing sedges and water-tolerant grasses and shrubs. Native vegetation is white cedar, red maple, black ash, and swamp elm.

DISTRIBUTION AND EXTENT: St. Lawrence Valley of New York and possibly the Champlain lowlands of New York. The series is believed to be moderately extensive.


SERIES ESTABLISHED: Jefferson County, New York, 1983.

REMARKS: The series was first proposed in October 1973 as a Lithic Ochraqualf (a family not provided for in Soil Taxonomy). Due to this and questions about the expression of the argillic horizon, the name was not reserved. The series was sampled in 1976 (Sample S76NY45-1, NSSL numbers 76PO474-76PO477). These samples support the current placement. Testing since the original proposal indicate that most areas are 50 to 100 centimeters deep to bedrock with shallow soils being an unnamed inclusion. Micromorphological studies at the National Soil Survey Laboratory and Cornell University indicate that the soil lacks evidence of clay skins. The films on the faces of peds in the B2 and B3 horizons are apparently the result of gleying and not translocation of clay.

National Cooperative Soil Survey