University of California

Total content of nine mineral elements in fifty selected benchmark soil profiles of California


G. R. Bradford
R. J. Arkley
P. F. Pratt
F. L. Bair

Authors Affiliations

G. R. Bradford was Specialist, Department of Soils and Plant Nutrition, Riverside; R. J. Arkley was Soil Morphologist in the Experiment Station, and Lecturer, Department of Soils and Plant Nutrition, Berkeley; P. F. Pratt was Chemist in the Experiment Station, and Professor of Soil Science, Department of Soils and Plant Nutrition, Riverside; F. L. Bair was Laboratory Technician, Department of Soils and Plant Nutrition, Riverside.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 38(14):541-556. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v38n14p541. October 1967.

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One hundred ninety-five soil horizons from 50 benchmark soil profiles in California were analyzed for total aluminum, magnesium, manganese, nickel, cobalt, copper, iron, molybdenum, and zinc by acid decomposition, resin column separation, and colorimetric methods. Half of the soil series contain low and possibly deficient levels of one or more of the following essential elements: cobalt, copper, molybdenum, manganese, and zinc. Four soil series profiles identified with alkali basins contain relatively high, and probably toxic, levels of molybdenum.

Statistical analyses of the data show that soil series can be grouped on the basis of horizon development, differences between soil profiles or parent material and stratification, or combinations of these controlling influences. In most soils, two distinct groups of elements occur that are negatively correlated between groups and highly correlated positively within groups. Elements which appear most frequently in the same groups together are cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, and often zinc. Molybdenum is generally negatively correlated with this group of elements.

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Bradford G, Arkley R, Pratt P, Bair F. 1967. Total content of nine mineral elements in fifty selected benchmark soil profiles of California. Hilgardia 38(14):541-556. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v38n14p541
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