equatorial scrub desert - volcanic soils
Bartholome I., Galápagos Is.
- Soils Geography -

GEOG 4401 & 5401

University of Colorado, Boulder
Fall 2007

tropical mangrove - flooded soils
Can Gio Biosphere Reserve, Vietnam

Announcements - Course-Related Campus and Community Goings-On
  • Spring 2008 - Winter Field Ecology at the Mtn Research Station -

  • 5 weekends exploring physical and biological cold-season processes that shape landscapes and ‘growing season’ dynamics in the Rockies.  See course website & flyer for more information.

  • Press Release from the Mountain Research Institute (MRI) in Switzerland 
  • International Mountain Day
    11 December 2007
    Facing Change: Climate Change in Mountain Areas
       UN International Mountain Day 2007 presents an opportunity to increase awareness that global climate change is a reality now, that mountains are particularly affected, and that this has important implications for humankind beyond mountain areas.  "Facing Change" means: it is time to act!
        Together with the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), and the Swiss Interacademic Commission for Alpine Studies (ICAS), the MRI has compiled and distributed a documentation for the Swiss press and has lobbied for mountain research with the member agencies of the European Science Foundation (ESF). We have also addressed the international press with a list of the most pressing research topics.
        For more info: http://mri.scnatweb.ch/content/category/7/65/83/  to find background information and useful links for the International Mountain Day.

  • FYI (11/26/07) - The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected CU-Boulder as the site for one of three critical zone observatories (CZO). The critical zone is the region between the top of the forest canopy and the base of unweathered rock: our living environment--and its response to climate and land use changes.  more...

Previous announcements -
  • 8 Nov 07 - Colorado Natural Areas 30-year Reunion and FriendRaiser -- flyer
    • Broomfield, Colorado on November 8th.  6:30-9:00 pm at the Broomfield Recreation Center, Lakeshore Room.  Sponsored by the Friends of Colorado Natural Areas under the Foundation for Colorado State Parks. 
    • The Natural Areas Program or CNAP is a state program under State Parks that protects Colorado's Natural Treasures. The system of 78 Designated Natural Areas represents the best of the best of Colorado.  These areas are the most significant, unique and intact areas with the rarest plants, communities, animals or most unique or significant geology or paleontology. 

$ Course Objectives -
Course Format - Lecture & discussion, hands-on exercises, group presentations, & individual projects

2 CU Catalog Course Description -

GEOG 4401 & 5401  (3.0).  SOILS GEOGRAPHY
Discusses chemical and physical properties of soils, soil development, distributions, and management relevant to understanding plant-soil relationships in natural and human-altered landscapes.  Upper division:  GEOG 4401.  Graduate level: GEOG 5401.

À Where & When -
$ Instructor: Dr. Timothy Kittel, INSTAAR

& Required text -
About the Instructor

Dr. Timothy Kittel is a research ecologist at INSTAAR (Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research) at CU.  He is a biogeographer and climatologist, specializing in changes in ecosystem - atmosphere interactions under global climate change, and the incorporation of climate change in conservation planning.  In pursuing his geographical interests, Tim has travelled and worked throughout much of the world, including South America, Africa, Asia, Australasia, and Europe.

In addition to teaching Soils Geography this term at CU, Tim also teaches Winter Field Ecology at the Mountain Research Station during Spring Semester.  Each summer, he leads a field ecology course in Brazil for Columbia University tailored to both non-science and science majors.  Last Fall, Tim and his wife taught on Semester At Sea for the Institute for Shipboard Education, traveling and teaching through East, Southeast, and South Asia, North Africa, and the Mediterranean.

Tim is an avid telemark skier and, when that’s not possible, settles for mountain and road biking.


Instructor's Goal
“A personal goal for me, as an instructor, [is] to foster familiarity with the nature of science.  There are many facets to understanding the world of science.  One is experiencing the process of accumulation and evaluation of scientific understanding – how do new ideas arise and how are they tested?  Another is developing the ability for independent thought, to be able to generate innovative ideas and [to] critically assess the results of others.  And finally, gaining what is often called a ‘sense of place,’ which is to say in this context, to start on the road to develop an intuitive, personal sense of how natural systems work.” 

              – TK (Center for Environmental Research & Conservation Notes, Fall 2000, Columbia University, NY)

2 Grading  -
Course Component
40%  2 Midterm Exams 20%@  As group & individual presentations
24% 6 of 9 Quizzes 4%@ Lowest quiz from each of the 3 parts of the class will be dropped
21% Project - Presentation & Written summary = Final Exam See Project Grading Criteria for breakdown
15% In-Class Participation - Discussion & Activities  = 5% for each of the 3 parts of the class.
See 'Participation Evaluation Criteria' (pdf, 15k)

? Quizzes:  How to prepare for quizzes -

? Midterm Exams:  Workshops - Group Presentation Format

?Projects- go to: Projects Page

2 Resources for Exercises

FCQ's, your student course evaluations, are available on-line.

2 Course Schedule -

Part I: Structure, Creation, & Global Geography of Soils
Part II: Physics, Chemistry, & Landscape Geography of Soils
Part III: Biology of Soils, Soils & Global Change

subject to modification - schedule last updated 10 Dec

Week Month Date Topic#
Quiz/Exam schedule
& Project deadlines
(Q= Quiz, L=Lecture, D=Discussion, Ex=Exercise)
Slides (PPt's used in class; some based on ppt's by E. Sulzman)
Guest Lecture (GL) PPt's
'Chapters: Sections' in Brady & Weil 
§0=chapter's intro)
for review see also online texts

Part I: Structure, Creation, & 
Global Geography of Soils

Readings are in prep for the date listed.
Links to pdf's for Ch's 1-8 & 19 are below.  App A -- App B --  Glossary -- Color Plate set 1set 2
28   Global Role of Soils / Global Issues L&D / Ex: And so what about soils? S1 Ch 1: §0-7, 19-20
30   2 Soil Structure: Components
Pedogenesis: Parent Material Weathering
L&D / Ex: Soil make-up & weathering S2 Ch 1: §8-9, 12-18
Ch 2: §0-1
  4   3
Quiz 1
(see guidance)
Pedogenesis: Five Factors
Soil Structure: Profile Horizons & Processes
Q / L&D S3 Ch 2: §2-7
Ch 1: §10-11, Ch 2: §8-10
  6   4 Project: Proposal due Pedogenesis: Soil Classification L&D S4 Ch 3: §0-4, 17
11   5   Geography: Global factors L&D S5 Ch 3: §5-16
13   6
Quiz 2 
<Soil Orders study guide - Part I & Part II> <See also Resources>
<ch 4 not on quiz 2>
Soil Structure: Color & Texture Q / L&D / Ex: Determining Soil Color & Texture (Soil Characterization handout: pdf, 2.5M) S6 Ch 4: §0-3 
18   7 Soil Structure:Aggregates & Density L&D / Group Assignments for Midterm Exam S7 Ch 4 readings revised: Ch 4: §4-5,7-10 + Table 19.1 (p.846)
20   8
Quiz 3
<ch 5 not on quiz 3>
Physics: Water Energetics Q / L&D S8 Ch 5
25   Workshop I: World Tour of Soils Group in-class work on presentations & meetings with Instructor. (see description of assignment) -
Midterm Exam 1
(see format)
Workshop I: World Tour of Soils Group presentations of World Soils by Continent: Distribution, origin, & characteristics
Group ppt's

Part II: Physics, Chemistry, & Landscape Geography of Soils

  2  9 Physics: Soil Hydrology L&D S9 Ch 6: §0-3, 5-6, (10)
  4 10
Quiz 4
<on ch5 & ch6:§0-3>
Physics: Modeling Soil Moisture
Geography: Landscapes & Processes
Physics: Soil Erosion
Q / L&D Ch 19: §0-1; Box 3.3 (p118)
Ch 17: §0-1, 3-5, 11, (15)
  9 11 Geography: Soils & Geomorphology  Guest: Robert Anderson
video files for ppt: frostcreep, hill, side tors, crest tors
GL11(.ppt) -
11 12
Quiz 5
<on ch 6(§5-6) + last Th readings + lectures>
Physics: Soil Aeration & Temperature Q / L&D / Ex: Soil Temperature Profiles (results) S12 Ch 7
16 13
Note Schedule & Readings Change for 16-25 Oct
Chemistry: Redox
L&D S13 (including soil T data from 11 Oct exercise) Ch 7
18 14 Chemistry: Colloids Guest:  Susan Beatty Clay Types Study Guide Ch 8: §0-6
23 No Class - Project research
(note: no Tues office hours)
25 15
Project: Outline w/ Journal Cites Due
Chemistry: Exchange capacity L&D S15 Ch 8: §7-15
30 16
Quiz 6
(on lectures; Ch 7[redox&temp], 8, 9,& 10)
Clay Types Study Guide
Chemistry: Acidity
Geography: Soils of Humid Regions

Chemistry:  Alkalinity, Salinity, Sodicity
Geography: Soils of Dry Regions

Q / L&D / Workshop II assignment Ch 9: §0-7, 11

Ch 10: §0-7, 12

1 Workshop II: Soil Physical & Chemical Processes across Landscapes Group in-class work on presentations & meetings with Instructor (see description of assignment)   -
Midterm Exam 2
Workshop II: Soil Physical & Chemical Processes across Landscapes Group presentationsof an integrated view of landscapes in different environments wrt/ soil physics and chemical processes -

Part III: Biology of Soils, 
Soils & Global Change

  8 17   Biology: Soil Biota & their Ecology /The Soil Food Web
Biogeochemistry: Soil Organic Matter
Workshop presentation (con't) / L&D / Ex: Litter in decomposition w/ decomposers S17 (updated 11/9) Ch 11
Ch 12: §0-8(to p526 top),§11
13 18
 Quiz 7
(on ch 11 & 12)
Soil Biota Primer
Biology: Soil Microbe-Plant Interactions
Biogeochemistry: Nitrogen & Sulfur
Q / L&D S18 Ch 13: §0-14, 16-19, 23
15 19   Biology: Fungi and the Alpine Spring Nutrient Release **PLEASE NOTE:  We'll be meeting in Ramaley N191 (not in HUMN) for our visit to the microbiology lab w/ Allen Meyer ** please arrive on time.  Guest: Allen Meyer GL19
20 Thanksgiving Week
22 Thanksgiving Week
27 20   Biogeochemistry: Phosphorus & Potassium  L&D / Ex: Human Footprint - assignment (see info) S20 Ch 14: §0-8, 10-15, 17
29 21
Quiz 8
(on ch 13 & 14, lectures, & guest lecture) - Microbial Population Dynamics (end 11/27 lecture) not on quiz
Global Change: Disruption of the Global C Cycle
Global Change: Biosphere Responses to Climate Change
Q / L&D / Ex: Human Footprint - discussion (please bring your laptop) - see info S21 & animation file Ch 12: §9
  4 22
Project: Draft Presentations Due
Soils & Engineering: "Engineering Geology of Expansive Soils & Bedrock: A Case Study from the Colorado Front Range Urban Corridor" Guest: Jerry Higgins (Colorado School of Mines) Ch 8: §14
  6 23   Global Change: Disruption of the Global N Cycle Guest: Alan Townsend
Course Evaluations are on-line --see notice
GL23 (background review - Ch 13: §2, 14-15)
11 24
 Quiz 9
on: Climate Change lecture, last 2 guest lectures, Ecological Footprint exercise (see info), associated readings (in Ch 8 & 12) 
Global Change: Desertification, Deforestation, & Sustainability of Soils L&D / Q Ch 20
Project: 5401 Written Summaries (or PPt's) Due
Workshop III - Projects: Soil Science Frontiers -
1) Grad Student Presentations
5401: Individual Research Presentations -
Final Exam - 
Project: 4401 Written Summaries (or Full Poster Files) Due
Time: 10.30a-1:00p
Location: ATLAS 200
Workshop III - Projects: Soil Science Frontiers -
2) Poster Session
4401: Individual Project Posters
Full Class:  Poster Judging

University Course Policies –

In and Out of Classroom Behavior

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment.  Students who fail to adhere to behavioral standards may be subject to discipline.  Faculty have the professional responsibility to treat students with understanding, dignity and respect, to guide classroom discussion and to set reasonable limits on the manner in which students express opinions.  See policies at <http://www.colorado.edu/policies/classbehavior.html> and at <http://www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/judicialaffairs/code.html#student_code>.

In addition, the University of Colorado Policy on Sexual Harassment applies to all students, staff and faculty.  Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual attention.  It can involve intimidation, threats, coercion, or promises or create an environment that is hostile or offensive.  Harassment may occur between members of the same or opposite gender and between any combination of members in the campus community: students, faculty, staff, and administrators.  Any person who believes s/he has been sexually harassed should contact the Office of Sexual Harassment (OSH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Judicial Affairs at 303-492-5550.  Information about the OSH and the campus resources available to assist individuals who believe they have been sexually harassed can be obtained at: <http://www.colorado.edu/sexualharassment/>.

Academic Integrity (Honor Code)

All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution.  Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior.  All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (honor@colorado.edu; 303-725-2273).  Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion).  Additional information on the Honor Code can be found at <http://www.colorado.edu/policies/honor.html> and at <http://www.colorado.edu/academics/honorcode/>.

Students should note that their work may be evaluated through TurnItIn.com, a plagiarism service provided to all faculty at CU-Boulder; and that this service retains a copy of the submitted work for future comparisons.

Accommodation for Religious Obligations

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to reasonably and fairly deal with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance.  In this class, please notify the instructor of anticipated conflicts before the start of the course or as early as possible so that there is adequate time to make necessary arrangements.  See policy details at <http://www.colorado.edu/policies/fac_relig.html>.

Website © 2007 T. Kittel.  Landscape photos © 2007 G. Kittel

Please email website problems to:   kittel@colorado.edu
this page URL: http://culter.colorado.edu/~kittel/SoilsGeog.html
Page updated: 16 Ap 08