Geology, soil and seismic risk

Local benchmark sites of Emilia-Romagna soils

Chemical-physical analyses through local benchmark sites representative of soils described in the 1:50k soil map

Emilia-Romagna Region Soil Map at 1:50.000 scale covers the whole plain, 87% of the hills and a small part of the mountains.

Each polygon (delineation) of the soil map is identified by a numerical ID and it has a specific and unique soil component (soil type, %, distribution) N.8628 soil polygons (1957 in the plain, 6453 in the hills and 1208 in the mountains) are delineated in the map.

The description of each polygon allows to provide specific information about local soils. This is not possible using a Mapping Unit description. Within a soil polygon the number of soil types (Soil Typological Units) ranges from one to twelve (on average 3-4).

At present 425 Soil Typological Units are described at this scale (210 in the plain, 158 in the hills and 57 in the mountains). Some of these soils are widespread and cover thousands of hectares; others are rare and they are present in specific landscapes only. Each soil is described, at regional scale, by a virtual profile that is representative of soil characters.

To easy the use of the 50k soil map every soil in every polygon has been linked to an analyzed site that has been surveyed in the same polygon or in adjacent polygons. The choice of these sites (benchmark sites) accounts of the local variability.

Soil profile

For this purpose have been selected from the Soil Information System 3027 observation sites (profiles and auger holes) that have, at least up to a depth of 100 cm, these analytical data:

  • sand, silt and clay;
  • pH
  • organic carbon
  • total carbonate


Active carbonate and CEC are available sometime, whereas bulk density and Ksat values, derived mostly by pedotransfer functions, are always present.

In a typical site, from the surface to a medium depth of 145 cm, are available on average 4 samples. The depth ranges from 30 cm (skeletal soils or soils with lithic or paralithic contact within 100 cm) to 500 cm (strongly weathered soils).

Benchmark sites
Example of description of a soil delineation

Benchmark sites can be used for many applications, such as:

  • Soil Type Identification;
  • Input data for irrigation projects;
  • Input data for Water Balance Models (e.g. MACRO, PELMO);
  • Input data for fertilization models;
  • Input data for Risk Assessment Models for contaminated sites (e.g. ASTM E2081).
  • Building of derived maps as e.g. Land Capability Map or Permeability Map. 

Web mapping

Local benchmark sites can be viewed and downloaded (as table data) in the WEBGIS site Soil maps of the Emilia-Romagna  activating the Soil Map level and follow the info on the guidebook on soil website (pdf955.58 KB); they can be only viewed on the web site Soil of Emilia-Romagna on Google Earth base.

  • Soils of Emilia-Romagna
    The website provides access to every soil map at scales from 1:1Mk to 1:50k and to all derived thematic maps in Google Earth. (Note: you must have Google Earth installed on your computer, visit Google to download Google Earth for free).
  • Soil maps of Emilia-Romagna region
    The website provides access to 1:50k soil map (plain and hills), point data (heavy metal monitoring, extension service soil analyses, shallow water table measurement sites) and a selection of derived thematic maps. Historical maps, land use maps, geological maps and regional park maps are available as well. (Note: to view the website pop-up blocker has to be disabled).
  • Soil Catalog of Emilia-Romagna
    The website provides access to 1:50k soil map (plain and hills) and point data (extension service soil analyses and shallow water table measurement sites). A selection of derived thematic maps is available as well. It’s possible to draw plots, to identify a soil type using a tool and to calculate the fertilization plan of your plots.
  • Geo-Catalog
    You can query and download metadata and data in open data format (shapefiles, WMS, CSV and TXT tables).

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published on 2013/06/25 11:20:00 GMT+2 last modified 2022-09-08T17:29:24+02:00

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