Soils of the North and South

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Geographical Regions

di:876:8y:di, di:876:8z:

Soils of the North and South. Soil Samples in Jars.

The representative colors of soils of the Southern region are mentioned in Federal soldiers' diaries during the 1861–1865 conflict.

Left: the rich loam of the alluvial deposits of the central Green Mountains. This is a representative sample of Northern soil—brown in color.

Right: a sample of soil from a Central Tennessee roadbed (Cannon County, 1998). This soil contains a substantial amount of iron oxide, a geological mix characteristic of the American South. This a rich, terra-cotta red soil pigmentation is prevalent in a wide swath from Virginia to Oklahoma and from Florida to Texas. (The soils of “Border States”, those not allied with the Confederacy in the American Civil war, also share this characteristic reddish hue.)

Former Museum catalog number 56.

The major chemical components of soil are: sand (chemically silicon dioxide {SiO2} or quartz); clay (often used by chemists to denote hydrated silicate of alumina (Al2O3•2SiO2•2H2O); chalk (CaCo3); and humus, decaying vegetable and animal matter (peat is probably the least nasty smelling of this category).

These two types of distinct soil colors are caused by oxidization, one of the major categories of study in which the Museum is immersed. The bonding of oxygen to other molecules is not only one of the most characteristic functions of all living organisms, but it is the chief means of the decay and even of the entropy of the same.

To those who have traveled widely in the United States they are as representative of the two regions of the country as the Blue and Grey of Civil War uniforms.