LOCATION NIAGARA                 NY+PA

Established Series


The Niagara series consists of very deep, somewhat poorly drained soils formed in silty glacio-lacustrine deposits. These soils are in level to slightly concave areas on lake plains and in valleys. Slope ranges from 0 to 15 percent. The mean annual air temperature is 48 degrees F. Mean annual precipitation is 37 inches.

TAXONOMIC CLASS: Fine-silty, mixed, active, mesic Aeric Endoaqualfs

TYPICAL PEDON: Niagara silt loam on a 2 percent slope in a forested area. (Colors are for moist soil unless otherwise indicated.)

A -- 0 to 5 inches; very dark grayish brown (10YR 3/2) silt loam, light brownish gray (10YR 6/2) dry; moderate medium granular structure; very friable; many fine and medium roots; moderately acid; clear smooth boundary. (3 to 12 inches thick.)

E -- 5 to 14 inches; grayish brown (10YR 5/2) silt loam; weak fine subangular blocky structure; friable; many fine and medium roots; few brown (10YR 4/3) patches of slightly plastic material in centers of peds in lower 4 inches; common fine prominent yellowish brown (10YR 5/6) soft masses of iron accumulation; moderately acid; clear irregular boundary. (0 to 10 inches thick.)

Bt1 -- 14 to 17 inches; dark grayish brown (10YR 4/2) silt loam; moderate medium blocky structure; friable; common medium roots; grayish brown (10YR 5/2) material like the E horizon forms 1/2 to 2 millimeter coats on faces of peds; common faint clay films in pores; many (50 percent) fine and medium distinct yellowish brown (10YR 5/4) soft masses of iron accumulation; slightly acid; clear wavy boundary.

Bt2 -- 17 to 31 inches; dark grayish brown (10YR 4/2) silt loam; moderate medium subangular blocky structure; friable, slightly plastic; common medium roots; common faint clay films in pores and surrounding some ped faces; many fine and medium distinct yellowish brown (10YR 5/4) soft masses of iron accumulation in interiors of peds; slightly acid in upper part, neutral in lower part; gradual wavy boundary. (Combined thickness of the Bt's horizons is 8 to 24 inches.)

C -- 31 to 72 inches; dark grayish brown (10YR 4/2) silt loam, thin horizontal strata of very fine sandy loam and silty clay loam amounting to 15 percent of the volume; moderate thick plate-like divisions parting along bedding planes; friable; few medium roots in upper 6 inches; light gray (10YR 7/2) streaks of segregated lime along bedding plains; many medium distinct yellowish brown (10YR 5/4) and dark yellowish brown (10YR 4/4) soft masses of iron acummulation; slightly alkaline, slight effervescence.

TYPE LOCATION: Tompkins County, New York; in wood lot about 660 feet east of Highway 96 opposite entrance to Trumansburg fairgrounds. USGS Trumansburg, NY topographic quadrangle; Latitude 42 degrees, 32 minutes, 9 seconds N. and Longitude 76 degrees, 38 minutes, 41 seconds W. NAD 1927.

RANGE IN CHARACTERISTICS: Thickness of solum ranges from 20 to 43 inches. Depth to bedrock is greater than 60 inches. Depth to carbonates ranges from 20 to 50 inches. Rock fragments are generally absent, but can range up to 5 percent by volume. In some pedons that are underlain with till deposits at depths greater than 40 inches, rock fragment content ranges up to 35 percent in the substratum.

The Ap or A horizon has hue of 10YR or 2.5Y, value of 3 or 4, and chroma of 2 or 3, and value of 6 or 7 dry. Texture of the fine-earth fraction is fine sandy loam, very fine sandy loam, loam, or silt loam. Consistence is friable or very friable. Reaction ranges from strongly acid to neutral. Thickness of the Ap horizon ranges from 4 to 10 inches.

The E or Eg horizon has hue of 7.5YR through 2.5Y, value of 5 or 6, and chroma of 2 through 4. Texture of the fine-earth fraction ranges from fine sandy loam to silt loam. The E horizon commonly is massive, or has weak fine subangular blocky, or thin to thick platy structure but the range includes moderate, medium subangular bliocky structure in some pedons. Consistence is friable or very friable. Reaction ranges from strongly acid to neutral.

Some pedons have a BE or BA horizon with colors and textures similar to the A, E, and B horizons.

The Bt horizon has hue of 5YR through 2.5Y, value of 4 or 5, and chroma of 2 through 4 with faint to prominent redoximorphic features. Texture of the fine-earth fraction is very fine sandy loam, silt loam, or silty clay loam with thin subhorizons of finer or coarser textures in many pedons. Structure is subangular or angular blocky with patchy clay skins on faces of peds. Some pedons have coarse or very coarse prismatic or thick platy structure. Consistence is friable or firm. Reaction ranges from moderately acid through slightly alkaline.

Some pedons have a BC horizon up to 12 inches thick with colors and texture similar to the B horizon. Reaction ranges from slightly acid through moderately alkaline.

The C horizon has hue of 5YR through 5Y or is neutral, and has value of 3 through 6, and chroma of 0 through 6. Texture of the fine-earth fraction is dominantly very fine sandy loam, silt loam or silty clay loam, but has stratified layers ranging from fine sand to clay. Reaction ranges from neutral to moderately alkaline. Some pedons underlain with till have a 2C horizon.

COMPETING SERIES: The Barcelona series are in the same family. Barcelona soils have bedrock between 40 and 60 inches.

The Bromer, Canal, Lauer, Lieber, Taggart, and Tiro series are in closely related families. Bromer soils have a thicker sola. Canal soils have a solum deeper than 40 inches. The Lauer and Lieber soils have the base of the argillic deeper than 40 inches. Taggart soils have the base of the argillic deeper than 40 inches. Tiro soils have a lithologic discontinuity in the subsoil within 40 inches of the soil surface.

GEOGRAPHIC SETTING: Niagara soils are nearly level to gently sloping soils of lake plains. Slopes are mainly less than 5 percent in gradient, but they are as much as 15 percent in a few places. The soils developed in stratified and mostly silty calcareous lacustrine sediments. In some pedons till may be present below 40 inches. The climate is temperate and humid. Mean annual air temperature ranges from 45 to 51 degrees F; mean annual precipitation, from 26 to 45 inches; and mean growing season, from 130 to 200 days. Elevation ranges from 95 to 1800 feet.

GEOGRAPHICALLY ASSOCIATED SOILS: The Niagara series is the somewhat poorly drained member of a drainage sequence consisting of Dunkirk, Collamer, Niagara, and Canandaigua series. The Arkport, Colonie, Hudson, and Williamson soils, and their less well drained associates, none of which have a fine-silty particle-size control section, are other soils on the same lake plains. Major soils of associated till and glacial outwash plains are the Honeoye, Ontario, Cazenovia, Lansing, Madrid, Palmyra, Alton, and Howard series and their wetter associates.

DRAINAGE AND SATURATED HYDRAULIC CONDUCTIVITY: Somewhat poorly drained. The potential for surface runoff is high or very high. Saturated hydraulic conductivity is moderately or high in the mineral solum and moderately low to high in the substratum.

USE AND VEGETATION: Most areas of this soil have been cleared and are used for growing hay, oats, corn, some vegetable crops, and pasture. Original vegetation was sugar maple, beech, white ash, hop hornbeam, elm, and other hardwoods.

DISTRIBUTION AND EXTENT: Erie-Ontario Plain and the Mohawk and Hudson Valleys of New York. MLRA's 100, 101, 139, 140, 142, and 144A. Total area is moderately extensive.


SERIES ESTABLISHED: Tompkins County, New York, 1963.

REMARKS: Diagnostic horizons and features recognized in the typical pedon are:
1) Ochric epipedon - the zone from the surface to a depth of 14 inches (Ap and E horizons).
2) Argillic horizon - the zone from 14 to 31 inches (Bt1 and Bt2 horizons).
3) Aquic moisture regime - evidenced by mottles in the horizon (E horizon) below the Ap horizon, and low chroma matrix colors and mottles in the Argillic horizon (Bt horizons).
4) Aeric subgroup - evidenced by more than 50 percent high chroma colors in the zone from 14 to 17 inches (Bt1 horizon).

References to the Cg horizon were removed due to guidance in the Field Book for Describing and Sampling Soils, Ver. 1.1.

National Cooperative Soil Survey