Explore the links below to see megapit soil descriptions, or browse soil pit and core images.
Soil pit sampling and analysis methods
During site construction, NEON collects soil from each horizon at a single, temporary soil pit at terrestrial field sites, called the megapit. Megapit soil samples characterize the soil conditions at the time of site construction. The pit is located in the locally dominant soil type, near the instrumented NEON tower, and is selected to be representative of the soil sensor locations. Soil profiles were described based on one face of a soil pit at all sites except BONA, HEAL, TOOL and BARR, where the description was based on a soil core due to the presence of permafrost. NEON works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory to perform a suite of chemical and physical analyses on each soil sample. Click here to see the NRCS pedon descriptions and images for each megapit.
A wide range of information about these soils is available in NEON data products, including:
- Texture and bulk density: Soil physical properties (Megapit) (DP1.00096.001)
- Soil pH, total carbon (C), nitrogen (N), sulfur (S) and other elements (Al, Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, P, Si, Sr, Ti, and Zr): Soil chemical properties (Megapit) (DP1.00097.001)
- Root biomass distribution: Root sampling (Megapit) (DP1.00066.001)
In addition, air-dried soil from each horizon is archived and available for request in the Megapit Soil Archive.
Photo file name formats
Photo files names are generated following this convention: [Domain]_[Site code]_Profile_[Top depth]-[Bottom depth] OR [Domain]_[Site code]_[Top depth]-[Bottom depth], where
- [Domain] NEON Domain (e.g., D01 represents NEON Domain 1: Northeast)
- [Site code] NEON 4-letter site code (e.g., BART represents Bartlett Experimental Forest)
- [Top depth] Approximate depth below soil surface in centimeters of the top of the photo (e.g., 030 indicated the top of the photo is approximately 30 cm below the soil surface). XXX indicates the depth is not accurately known.
- [Bottom depth] Approximate depth below soil surface in centimeters of the bottom of the photo (e.g., 066 indicated the bottom of the photo is approximately 66 cm below the soil surface). XXX indicates the depth is not accurately known.
Photos with file names containing “_Profile_” show the entire soil profile or a large portion of it, while photo without “_Profile_” in the file name show a smaller portion of the soil profile.
All megapit soil pedon descriptions, except OSBS, were generously created by USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service staff, with particular thanks to Larry West, Jon Hempel, and numerous field staff. We thank Willie Harris (University of Florida) for the description at OSBS.