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The Soil Catalogue of Asturias (N Spain)

The Region of Asturias, located in the Cantabrian area in the north of Spain, contains many features of the European Atlantic regions related to climate, lithology, geomorphology, vegetation and land use. As a consequence of the variation in altitude (0- >2500 m), some of these features, such as climate, express high contrasts: an annual precipitation of 1000 mm found within valleys in lowlands, that rises to 2000 mm in mountain areas; or average annual temperatures of 15º C registered in coastal areas, dropping to less than 5º C at high altitudes. Likewise, a very complex geology implies a great spatial variation of lithology in the surface, including limestones, quartzites, sandstones, claystones, or different quaternary deposits, and also implies contrasting slopes and landforms with a mixture of karstic, glacial, coastal, alluvial and colluvial geomorphological processes.

In synthesis, such features imply a “high concentration” of soil forming factors. Therefore, we can find high soil variability, with a corresponding rich taxonomy. In our case, within an area of approximately 1.650 km2 in Eastern Asturias, and according to Soil Taxonomy, 7 Soil Orders and 65 Soil Subgroups have been identified.

In this work we present a variety of soils in the Region of Asturias. Special emphasis is given to presenting soil profiles and soil landscapes with explained images.

In this home page, five options are available:

  • "Tipos de suelos" (Soil types): it presents the Soil Orders of Soil Taxonomy that have been identified in the Region of Asturias. They are presented and explained by using images of soil profiles corresponding to 7 Soil Orders, 16 Suborders, 26 Groups, and 60 Soil Subgroups.

  • "Cartografía de los suelos de Asturias" (Soil mapping in Asturias): it includes information about the Project of Soil Mapping, at a 1:25.000 scale, that being done nowadays supported by the Government of Principado de Asturias. In this option, other soil studies available in the area are shown.

  • "Edafogalería" (Soil Gallery): it consists in two parts; the first one, “Galería de perfiles edáficos” (Soil Profile Gallery), contains a description of 20 soil profiles, representing the main soil subgroups studied in Eastern Asturias. By clicking in two links: “Horizontes de diagnóstico” (Diagnostic Horizons), and “Procesos edafogenéticos” (Pedogenetical processes), a great many images are shown and explained. The second part is called “Los suelos en el paisaje” (Soil landscapes), where 57 images of typical landscapes related to 23 soil Groups are displayed.

  • "Estudio y clasificación del suelo" (Soil Study and Classification): it comprises two parts: “El estudio de los suelos”, where general aspects related to field and laboratory tasks in soil studies are described, and “Clasificación del suelo”, that provides information about the use of main soil classification systems: U.S.D.A.’s Soil Taxonomy, and F.A.0.’s World Reference Base of Soil Resources.

  • "Evaluación de los suelos de Asturias"(Soil Assesment in Asturias): this option provides a direct access to the on-line "Guidance Map of Sustainable Land Uses", based on the concept of Agro-Ecological Zoning developed by FAO. The map is included in the Territorial Information System of the Principality of Asturias (SITPA).

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